Issue No 04/88 6 April 1988
E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga hau e wha
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou.
This issue carries a new title, Te Putatara. Credit cannot publicly be given to the person who named it, for a public service job could be placed in jeopardy. I hasten to assure the Department of Maori Affairs that the person who named it does not work there. Te Putatara, the clarion that called the people to the ramparts and stockade, the call to be vigilant.
Te Putatara is not the voice of the new alliance of Maori Authorities. Although I am involved as a member of the steering committee of the Maori alliance this newsletter remains a private publication, in which the views and editorial policy are mine alone.
At a number of forums in recent months I have heard speaker after speaker call for information concerning Maoridom to be shared with Maoridom, and for Government and the Department of Maori Affairs to consult before deciding on policy which is going to affect us and our mokopuna for years to come. Still the Department conducts its public affairs in total secrecy. In this issue I discuss the question of secrecy.
The column on Devolution has been a popular one. Devolution remains for many Tribal & Regional Authorities a matter of great interest. I am now convinced that devolution is dead, and I explain why.
Finally I am sure I speak for all readers in sending greetings to the people of Tai Rawhiti. In your time of need we are thinking of you as you battle the after-effects of Cyclone Bola. Kia kaha.
Kia ora tatou
We may as well face up to reality. Devolution is dead.
Devolution the concept flowed from Hui Taumata 1984. At that conference there was a clear cry for control of our own destiny, control of the resources specifically destined for Maori people, and the freedom to apply our own solutions to our own problems. Devolution was one of the processes by which Maori self-determination, mana Maori motuhake, could be achieved.
Government accepted at that time the proposition that Maori needs had not been met by the institutions of the white majority, and that Maoridom itself would be better off using those wasted resources to try to solve its own problems. Devolution was the key to turning negative funding into positive outcomes.
To the bureaucrat devolution meant no more than decentralisation, the process by which the bureaucrat would send out the resources but retain control. Bureaucrats and their institutions rarely relinquish power of their own accord.
The Tribal & Regional Authorities interpreted devolution as the transferral of both resources and responsibility, money and control. The Maori people had called for self-determination and independence.
The devolution committee chaired by Bob Mahuta took the second view and began to develop a process by which Maori administrative structures would be strengthened and prepared for new responsibilities, to be followed by the gradual devolution of functions and power from many Government departments including Maori Affairs.
They were dissolved. As soon as the elections were over devolution had become politically unpalatable.
We need to go back a little to understand why.
Te Kohanga Reo was already well on it's way to being devolved long before devolution became a catch cry. Matua Whangai also became a devolved programme utilising the resources of the Departments of Maori Affairs, Justice and Social Welfare. Neither of these programmes attracted any political flak.
MANA Enterprises and Maori ACCESS were unfortunate in that they were still in the implementation stage when the "Maori Loans Affair" was raging in 1986/87. They were designed to help create employment. They became easy targets for political point-scoring as Race Relations and Unemployment are always hot political issues. The Parliamentary Opposition needed easy targets to attack the Government because they were, and still are, absolutely devoid of constructive policy of their own to offer the electorate. They chose to attack the Government through Maoridom.
The Government for its part was, and still is, quite happy to divert the Opposition into attacks on Maori programmes. Maori issues are low on the agenda of both the Labour and National Parties for governments are elected by the non-Maori vote.
Politically they don't need us (but a major scandal in Maori Affairs could put them out of power). While Winston Peters attacked the Labour Government, by delivering minor and ineffectual attacks on Maoridom, the Government was free to carry on with everything else unopposed.
Another factor became apparent in the wake of te "Loans Affair". The National Party research unit in Parliament focused an enormous amount of its energy on collecting "evidence" for attacks on Maori programmes. They did not prove anything, but the constant barrage of accusations eventually took its toll. So much so that the MANA and ACCESS Teams spent most of their time and effort answering questions in the House instead of getting on with developing the programmes.
As a result of an ineffectual opposition, a racist research unit, and a government only too willing to cynically divert as much flak as possible onto Maoridom, MANA Enterprises and Maori ACCESS were belittled in the media and in Parliament.
The Tribal & Regional Authorities which manage these programmes have been branded as being mismanaged. The National Party have succeeded in convincing the electorate (including many Maori people) that Maoris are crooks and cannot be trusted with public funds.
The Department of Maori Affairs was all too willing to adopt the attitude that Tribal & Regional Authorities were not able to competently manage the programmes. MANA Enterprises and Maori ACCESS were devolved before the department could do anything about it, but senior management has always intended to regain control, for the devolution of MANA and ACCESS is seen by them to diminish their power. Bureaucrats never willingly let go of power. They will always claim that they need to centrally control everything in order to fulfill their obligations to Parliament.
How can a department which cannot produce its own annual accounts accurately and on time presume to judge Tribal & Regional Authorities?
It is a fact that most Tribal & Regional Authorities are conducting their business in an efficient and effective manner. We all acknowledge that the administrative and management systems need to be strengthened. However they are achieving the aims of MANA and ACCESS against all odds, for they are understaffed and generally under-resourced.
It is a fact that very little, if any, of the funding dispersed to Tribal & Regional Authorities for MANA and ACCESS has been misappropriated or misused in any other way. The results produced by both programmes have been outstanding.
Life insurance companies, superannuation funds, and savings banks lost untold millions of ordinary peoples money last year. Government departments have for decades negligently squandered public monies - that is the reason they are being restructured. Pakeha organisations managing government programmes rip-off the government as a matter of course - they are never attacked by pakeha political parties, or ordered to be investigated by pakeha politicians.
Maoridom's biggest crime is being brown.
No-one is prepared to stand up in public and admit to being racist, or just fed up with Maoris. After the Mahuta committee was dissolved there followed a period of "phoney devolution" where a committee of officials was set up to study and report on devolution. These officials knew nothing about mana Maori motuhake but that didnt really matter. Politicians and bureaucrats often set up officials committees when they dont intend to do anything.
The National Party have taken their campaign one step further. At a conference in New Plymouth early this year they announced that race relations would be one of three major planks in their campaign for power. That means that they are going to have a good old Maori-bash to frighten the white electorate into voting for them.
The Labour Party needs the same white voters. They need them even more, now that Cabinet is falling about in public.
Ideals and principles are a fine thing. This Labour Government started out with many bold initiatives, with some of the boldest being in Maori policy. Now that they are fighting for survival the idealistic policies will drop off the bottom. Maori policy has always been on the bottom.
Devolution is dead.
In this column in the last issue I made a hard-hitting reference to Don Hunn, Chairman of the State Services Commission, and to his father. I assure Mr Hunn that the reference was not personal. However, being the son of a former Secretary for Maori Affairs does not qualify Mr Hunn to formulate Maori Affairs policy. Nor does attendance at Training College with Tamati and Tilly Reedy.
SECRECY, SECURITY, LEAKS
A few weeks ago the Minister of Maori Affairs announced that the police would be investigating leaks from his department.
Subsequently an investigation was conducted and, true to form, the area to which the department directed the investigation was the MANA and ACCESS Teams. There seems to a fair bit of paranoia in the department about these teams, and their supposed lack of loyalty.
The paranoia goes back to the "Loans Affair".
On 19 December 1986 senior management issued a written instruction that the MANA Enterprises facsimile machine was to be shut down. This followed the leaking of the loan negotiations on or about 17 December. Admittedly the MANA facsimile had been used to conduct much of the loan negotiations, and the leak could have emanated from staff at either MANA or ACCESS (it didn't).
However, neither the fax machine nor the person who really did leak the information were the culprits in the "loans affair".
The culprits were those officers who were conducting negotiations beyond their authority and beyond their competence.
The order to shut down the fax machine showed even then a marked tendency to blame others, and a refusal to accept personal responsibility where it should be accepted.
On 11 February 1987, after the restoration, a further written instruction was issued:
"Finally, again referring to my statement of 24 December, I sound a warning on the matter of security and loyalty. I will have no hesitation in exercising the authority of the Secretary for disciplinary action should the occasion arise. The "loan affair" has revealed the necessity for this warning."
Once again this is a clear indication that no blame would be accepted on high. It is a continuation of the tendency to blame subordinates. Furthermore loyalty cannot be demanded. It must be earned.
Subsequently the Department of Maori Affairs has leaked like a sieve.
From my examination of the phenomena the leaks have come from all over the Department, in Wellington and the regions. I have held to my policy of not using material leaked directly to me in this newsletter. I don't need to use it. Every where I go information is passed to me by third parties.
The real key to security in any organisation is sound leadership, and good staff relations. An organisation in which management blames its subordinates for it's own sins has neither.
Furthermore, since August 1987 when new staff and systems were brought in to tidy up corporate affairs, leadership and staff relations have deteriorated to new lows. No-one below the 7th floor knows what is going on or is trusted to know what is going on. Management by decree and memorandum has become the style in the revamped Head Office. Secrecy is the solution for security.
I thought this Deputy Secretary (Corporate Affairs), Wilson Bailey, was a hot-shot sent by the SSC to install modern new systems to bring our department up to date. Instead I find a feudal system with the barons sitting on high in the 7th floor totally out of touch with anything down below, issuing orders and commands to be obeyed without question (even when you know that they are nonsense). What I find on the 7th floor is a continuation of the old power games but with a few new players.
The appointments and promotions system seems to have been thrown out the window, with good and faithful employees being cast aside at a whim. I sympathise with the very many good people in the Department of Maori Affairs who have no alternative but to leak documents to expose the stupidity and callousness of the new corporate management.
But the fiasco carries on with all information restricted to the 7th floor, and none of the other staff having enough knowledge to implement the policy they don't know about because it's too sensitive!
Even the simple act of disagreeing with senior management now brings down the accusation of disloyalty. The fiasco has gone far enough.
I believe that the Department of Maori Affairs needs to be strengthened. I believe that our very best people should be recruited to the Department. I have no desire to ridicule the Department but when it performs badly it reflects on all Maori people, not just those at the top of the Department. It reflects on the long-suffering staff, and on all of us who are represented in the eyes of the pakeha by the Department. All Maori people have a right to expect the Department to smarten-up its act. We have a right to demand excellence.
The key to security is sound leadership, and good staff relations. Stop accusing and investigating the staff who would dearly love to be loyal, if it were possible. Look at yourselves.
MANA ENTERPRISES AND MAORI ACCESS
By now most Authorities will have received a letter from Bert Mackie explaining why the firm of Deloitte Haskins and Sells have been brought in to manage MANA Enterprises. Given that Bert has personally endorsed this action I am prepared to wait for the decisions of the April meeting of the MANA Committee before I pass judgment.
I will be particularly interested in the objective to "ensure that funding is allocated in a way that will provide the optimum possible benefits to Maoridom, within the Governments objectives for the scheme." All Tribal & Regional Authorities should keep a close eye on this one.
I hear on the kumara vine that there is a distinct possibility that Deloitte Haskins and Sells could be brought in to Maori ACCESS. First you kill the project teams, then you claim that they cant handle the job, then you bring in the outsiders.
The kumara vine (and the Dungeon Bar) have been active this month. I hear a rumour that the chairmanship of the national Maori ACCESS committee could be changed.
Wira Gardiner, Ripeka Evans, Tata Parata, Ross Himona, Eru Manuera, Brian Dickson, Gerry Fouhy, next....Deloitte Haskins & Sells (Helen Anderson/Alan Haronga). Next?
Ria Earp. Next?
TE HUI WHAKAWAA TAUMATA
The hui reconvened on 17 March at Ngaruawahia to select a steering committee to set up the alliance of Maori Authorities.
Eighteen authorities attended and appointed the committee:
Bert McLean, Nominated by Tamaki Maori Development Authority
Brian Jones, Tainui Maori Trust Board and Ngati Maniapoto Marae Pact Trust
Fran Bevan, Hauraki Maori Trust Board Steering Committee
Denis Lihou, NZ Maori Wardens Association
Alec Wilson, Te Arawa Maori Trust Board
Tahi Tait, Tuhoe-Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board
Tamihana Paki, Te Runanga O Ngati Whatua
Ross Himona, Te Runanganui O Ngati Kahungunu and Kurahaupo Waka Association
Funding for the steering committee was discussed and a motion by Te Whanau O Waipareira, seconded by the Maori Womens Welfare League, levying all participating authorities $1000 was adopted.
The steering committee held it's first meeting at Rotorua on 29 March. The minutes of that meeting are to be sent to all Authorities.
REPORTS TO THE MINISTER
One of the requirements that must be fulfilled by MANA and ACCESS Authorities is regular reporting on finances and outcomes. When MANA Enterprises and Maori ACCESS were being implemented it took some time before Tribal & Regional Authorities got into the routine of monthly reporting.
Rightly or wrongly the success or failure of your Authority is judged in Wellington by the frequency and quality of your reports. However the Minister does need regular information to enable him to advocate for you in Cabinet. He also needs to know that each of you is properly accounting for public funds, and applying them to the purpose they were intended for. It is accountability.
I am concerned that information being sent to the Department by Tribal & Regional Authorities is disappearing before it gets to the Minister. Since late last year there have been many instances of reports and returns going missing. Quite often the Minister has demanded information which has already been sent to the Department, but which is not available to him.
There can only be two possible explanations. Either the Tribal & Regional delivery system is being deliberately sabotaged by someone who is withholding information sent to the Department, or the Department is so inefficient that paper just goes missing of it's own accord.
The only way to make sure that the Minister gets all the information he needs to act for you is to send all your reports direct to him.
BROKEN DOOR AT THE DEPARTMENT
The last issue reported the story of the kaumatua who caused some damage to the 7th floor when he couldn't get his money from them.
Apparently he claims he is owed $15,000 as a result of goods lost at the 1986 Expo in Hawaii.
I hear that a number of exhibitors have claimed the Department owes them and at least one is taking legal proceedings. The Department is claiming no responsibility.
The story gets interesting. It seems that the kaumatua left the Department with a cheque for $2000 in his pocket. He was commissioned to do a carving and paid in advance. My informant tells me that he will have to learn to carve first.
PROFILE : GRAHAM WEIR
Now that Maori ACCESS is in new hands I have often been asked who Graham Weir is. Graham has been a civilian in the Ministry of Defence, and came to Maori Affairs from the State Services Commission late last year. My sources tell me that he was "overlooked" at the SSC when the latest round of promotions took place.
His appointment is Assistant to the Deputy Secretary Housing & Employment, with particular responsibility for Maori ACCESS and Vocational Training.
Graham understands Maoridom and our tribal structures because of his "upbringing in Southland where the Scot clan system is very similar".
Since taking up his appointment Graham has grappled with the complexities of Maori ACCESS in valiant fashion, but since mid-February he seems to have been fighting a losing battle.
I reckon the State Services Commission has sent a boy to do a woman's job this time.
HAVE YOU BEEN SECURITY CLEARED FOR RUMOURS?
A persistent story is circulating the motu. I first heard it a few months ago from two different sources but havent had time to check it out . Perhaps someone in Tamaki Makaurau will be able to do the research.
It says that a senior (non-Maori) official of the Department of Maori Affairs Head Office was exposed as a security services plant on the Auckland University campus about twenty years ago.
My limited checking has narrowed it down to the 1968/69 period.
If anyone has any information on that incident I would be interested to know.
KOHA: This issue has been paid for by the Ngati Whatua O Orakei Maori Trust Board and individual contributors. Kia Ora no tatou katoa.