(Image, “Allan’s beach at dusk, Dunedin, New Zealand”, stolen from Nicola RomanÃ²)
The Foreshore and Seabed deal is not over yet, at least not as far as Hone Harawira is concerned. He has come out swinging (audio) against the government, saying the consultation process which resulted in the agreement was “bullshit”, that Key has shown poor faith and “pandered to rednecks” with a Foreshore and Seabed repeal proposal which is all take and no give:
[The government] took the two things which would make PÄkehÄ happy and refused to give the one thing which would make MÄori happy.
The two things are guaranteed public access and inalienability; the one thing is MÄori title. Furthermore, he’s reaffirmed a commitment to ongoing struggle for a more equitable resolution:
We may have to wait for another Labour government, we may have to wait for a formal coalition between the mÄori party and the Greens together, we may have to wait for hell to freeze over and ACT to give it to us, I don’t know.
This is good, and in my view it’s the position the party ought to be taking. But paradoxically, he supports the party’s decision to accept the agreement, saying it’s “a step in the right direction”. This can only make sense if whatever legislation which replaces the FSA is non-enduring; essentially, another step along that road laid down by the Good Intentions Paving Company, rather than the full-and-final settlement which will carve the proposal in legislative stone.
But I think if they follow this path, it will be all over. I don’t think they have a hope of being able to play this as an ongoing struggle, having consented to it. As Bright Red said at The Standard yesterday, both major parties will see this issue as settled and will suffer terribly if they bring it back to the table. The only reason the FSA was even up for debate is that even National could see the manifest injustice of legislation being rammed through against the vehement opposition of the group most subject to it; while many among National derided the FSA as being too generous, nevertheless the process of its passage was repugnant to them.
Hone Harawira and many others no doubt think that this process was similarly repugnant, but that view has little legitimacy since the Iwi Leadership Group and the mÄori party have willingly agreed to it. This is how liberal society works; this is tino rangatiratanga in action: you make your decisions and you live with their consequences. The only hope now, it seems, is that the eventual bill drawn up from the Agreement in Principle signed yesterday will provide some pretext for the party and the ILG to withdraw its support. This will come at an enormous cost in terms of goodwill, but I have no doubt that despite his protestations to the contrary, Hone Harawira is getting to work on setting the stage for such action already.