Redress options ‘beyond money’

An expert economist for the Crown has encouraged the Waitangi Tribunal to look more at non-financial redress for Maori, in its bid to determine the Mangatu remedies claim.

Six claimant groups have applied to the Waitangi Tribunal for the return of Mangatu Crown forest-licensed land, and compensation for historical breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi made by the Crown to Maori.

The breach claims relate to events such as the siege of Waerenga a Hika in 1865, atrocities to Maori at Ngatapa in 1868, and rulings made by the Native Land Court during that era.

The grievances by Maori include loss of life and land, and generations of prejudice against Maori by the Crown as a result.

The claimaint groups are Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Nga Ariki Kaiputahi, Ngariki Kaiputahi (separate to the prior group), Te Whanau a Kai, Rangiwhakataetaea/Wi Haronga/Ngati Matepu, and Mangatu Incorporation.

Economist Dr John Yeabsley was the Crown’s witness on the final day of the tribunal hearing for the Mangatu remedies claim yesterday in Gisborne.

Dr Yeabsley presented his expert opinion and analysis on what three other economists — each representing a separate claimant group — had recommended to the tribunal as appropriate compensation for breaches by the Crown.

The evidence that received a lot of scrutiny from Dr Yeabsley was that of economist Dr Richard Meade, a witness for Te Aitanga a Mahaki.

Dr Meade estimated the monetary value of the overall compensation for the Mangatu claim would be $170 million, plus the return of the Crown forest-licensed land.

He took into account Crown breaches against Te Aitanga a Mahaki, which included the invasion at Waerenga a Hika that led to loss of life, the imprisonment of Maori on the Chatham Islands without trial, the ceding of over one million acres of land and the destruction of tribal structures, rendering whanau landless and impoverished.

Dr Yeabsley did not agree with this compensation package and questioned the methodology Dr Meade used towards reaching his estimate.

“Credible and practical options have not been given due consideration.”

Instead, Dr Yeabsley opted for a focus on non-monetary redress, saying there were a “range of terms beyond money” that should be explored.

“It’s about making a sincere effort to achieve restoration, looking forward,” he said.

“What might an appropriate remedy include?

“Valued non-ecomonic assets that would especially suit the iwi, that can be provided. This might include land or landscape features of outstanding significance. For example, rivers or mountains.

“Support for the iwi to do collective things such as create new institutions or enter into partnerships with Crown bodies or agencies.

“Assistance for young to follow their aspirations, including non-economic support like coaching or other efforts like consulting, to overcome barriers.”

“A positive model of redress must recognise non-monetary issues are salient, and economic and non-economic of life intertwine.

“The best way to improve people’s lives is to support their plans and supplement existing available public support.”

In Dr Meade’s evidence in August, he said, that as an economist, his brief as directed by Te Aitanga a Mahaki, was to quantify numbers in regards to loss of life and land, and grievances.

It would be up to the Tribunal to recommend non-monetary compensation.

During cross-examination yesterday, Dr Yeabsley admitted he had only analysed and read Dr Mead’s second brief of evidence, and not the first brief.

He also admitted to not reading a previous tribunal report, which focused on the nature of the inquiry and provided a background of information relating to the historical context of the case.

As he had not analysed the full complement of Dr Meade’s evidence, Tim Castle of the tribunal asked Dr Yeabsley what he could provide in assistance for the task at hand, which was to help the tribunal in regard to whether land was to be returned . . . if financial redress should be considered, if so how much, and an appropriate method for distribution.

“The nature of your evidence reflects the nature of your task,” said Mr Castle.

“You were asked to review three documents (of the three other economists) filed in this inquiry from an economic perspective.

“Did you at any time think you needed to see his (Dr Meade’s) first brief?

“What is it that you’re providing? A selective commentary on what Dr Meade has said is not very helpful, is it?

Dr Yeabsley said a short time frame to go over the evidence was the reason he was unable to read the first brief.

“There were a number of things I should have looked at. I apologise if that has been misleading.”

An expert economist for the Crown has encouraged the Waitangi Tribunal to look more at non-financial redress for Maori, in its bid to determine the Mangatu remedies claim.

Six claimant groups have applied to the Waitangi Tribunal for the return of Mangatu Crown forest-licensed land, and compensation for historical breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi made by the Crown to Maori.

The breach claims relate to events such as the siege of Waerenga a Hika in 1865, atrocities to Maori at Ngatapa in 1868, and rulings made by the Native Land Court during that era.

The grievances by Maori include loss of life and land, and generations of prejudice against Maori by the Crown as a result.

The claimaint groups are Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Nga Ariki Kaiputahi, Ngariki Kaiputahi (separate to the prior group), Te Whanau a Kai, Rangiwhakataetaea/Wi Haronga/Ngati Matepu, and Mangatu Incorporation.

Economist Dr John Yeabsley was the Crown’s witness on the final day of the tribunal hearing for the Mangatu remedies claim yesterday in Gisborne.

Dr Yeabsley presented his expert opinion and analysis on what three other economists — each representing a separate claimant group — had recommended to the tribunal as appropriate compensation for breaches by the Crown.

The evidence that received a lot of scrutiny from Dr Yeabsley was that of economist Dr Richard Meade, a witness for Te Aitanga a Mahaki.

Dr Meade estimated the monetary value of the overall compensation for the Mangatu claim would be $170 million, plus the return of the Crown forest-licensed land.

He took into account Crown breaches against Te Aitanga a Mahaki, which included the invasion at Waerenga a Hika that led to loss of life, the imprisonment of Maori on the Chatham Islands without trial, the ceding of over one million acres of land and the destruction of tribal structures, rendering whanau landless and impoverished.

Dr Yeabsley did not agree with this compensation package and questioned the methodology Dr Meade used towards reaching his estimate.

“Credible and practical options have not been given due consideration.”

Instead, Dr Yeabsley opted for a focus on non-monetary redress, saying there were a “range of terms beyond money” that should be explored.

“It’s about making a sincere effort to achieve restoration, looking forward,” he said.

“What might an appropriate remedy include?

“Valued non-ecomonic assets that would especially suit the iwi, that can be provided. This might include land or landscape features of outstanding significance. For example, rivers or mountains.

“Support for the iwi to do collective things such as create new institutions or enter into partnerships with Crown bodies or agencies.

“Assistance for young to follow their aspirations, including non-economic support like coaching or other efforts like consulting, to overcome barriers.”

“A positive model of redress must recognise non-monetary issues are salient, and economic and non-economic of life intertwine.

“The best way to improve people’s lives is to support their plans and supplement existing available public support.”

In Dr Meade’s evidence in August, he said, that as an economist, his brief as directed by Te Aitanga a Mahaki, was to quantify numbers in regards to loss of life and land, and grievances.

It would be up to the Tribunal to recommend non-monetary compensation.

During cross-examination yesterday, Dr Yeabsley admitted he had only analysed and read Dr Mead’s second brief of evidence, and not the first brief.

He also admitted to not reading a previous tribunal report, which focused on the nature of the inquiry and provided a background of information relating to the historical context of the case.

As he had not analysed the full complement of Dr Meade’s evidence, Tim Castle of the tribunal asked Dr Yeabsley what he could provide in assistance for the task at hand, which was to help the tribunal in regard to whether land was to be returned . . . if financial redress should be considered, if so how much, and an appropriate method for distribution.

“The nature of your evidence reflects the nature of your task,” said Mr Castle.

“You were asked to review three documents (of the three other economists) filed in this inquiry from an economic perspective.

“Did you at any time think you needed to see his (Dr Meade’s) first brief?

“What is it that you’re providing? A selective commentary on what Dr Meade has said is not very helpful, is it?

Dr Yeabsley said a short time frame to go over the evidence was the reason he was unable to read the first brief.

“There were a number of things I should have looked at. I apologise if that has been misleading.”

Forest consultant warns against land split

Factors that could have possibly led to the Tolaga Bay slash disaster were raised during this week’s Waitangi Tribunal hearing for the Mangatu remedies claim.

Six claimant groups have applied for the return of the Mangatu Crown Forest-licensed land and compensation for Treaty of Waitangi breaches made by the Crown.

The tribunal is to decide on whether the land should be returned to Maori — if so, who it should be returned to, if there is financial redress, how much, and how the land and compensation should be distributed.

If the tribunal decides to return the land to Maori, there is a possibility that it may go to more than one of the claimant groups.

This could lead to the land being divided up.

Expert forestry consultant Dr Andrew McEwen was a witness for the Crown, and said it would be better in terms of forestry management to keep the forest whole. Or, have practical boundaries drawn up, if it was necessary to split.

But he cautioned about the risks of splitting the land and referred to the forestry slash disaster in Tolaga Bay this year, as an example.

Good forestry management was vital and having multiple owners could jeopardise smooth management in regards to harvesting and replanting, he said.

One risk could be that one owner might decide to harvest their block at the same time as other owners.

Depending on the land, and weather conditions, harvesting the Mangatu forest all at once could lead to a similar situation as the Tolaga Bay catchment, he said.

He looked at forestry regulation regarding harvesting and replanting regimes.

“There will be demands to manage forests on a catchment basis, not on an individual property basis,” Dr McEwen said.

“It’s already happening in Whangaparaoa in Coromandel. The regional council will specify that you can’t harvest an area of more than maybe 10 percent of the catchment at any one period.

“My understanding is that there were three or possibly more forestry owners in that Uawa catchment. Trees were planted around the same time. The owners all wanted to harvest at the same time.

“Gisborne District Council gave the resource consents, I’m not sure why, possibly the market.

“Almost the whole catchment was harvested. I have seen aerial photos that show that.

“The storm comes at the same time and you have a recipe for damage.

“The message from a practical forestry point of view is that the bigger the area a forest manager has, the easier it is, the more flexible it is. They have to manage that sort of situation.”

Tim Castle of the tribunal asked Dr McEwen if he thought there was likely to be a regulatory demand for both planting and harvesting by catchment, in regards to the Uawa incident.

“It’s hard to know what the District Council will do,” said Dr McEwen.

“Mangatu has all been harvested. It had one manager of the whole forest. It was successfully restocked and there obviously wasn’t a bad storm event during those vulnerable periods.

“But the catchment was not harvested all at the same time. We can see that it was spread out over about 20 years.

“I can’t say what the District Council will do. There is a lot of looking at crystal balls, in forestry.

“What we do know is that forests help stabilise the land, so that’s a good reason for having forests in the first place.

“But if you have private owners, they want to get their money back at some point. They put a lot of investment into those trees. So how do you actually deal with that issue?”

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