Despite Fairfax papers the Dominion Post and the Waikato Times cheerfully running their “iwi tax” racist propaganda line, eel fishermen working (or not working, presently) in Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora now claim in The Press it’s nothing to do with race:
“It’s not a Maori-Pakeha issue, but a bullying corporation treating some small people badly.”
That’s Clem Smith, the same person to whom the `iwi tax’ line was attributed a few days ago. What appears to have happened is that their `iwi tax’ line didn’t get as much traction as they expected – even the normally-rabid comments section on the original article was fairly split between the rednecks and the propertarians – and a NgÄi Tahu former Treaty negotiator came out in their defence, making their anti-MÄori position somewhat untenable.
Still, it’s good that they’ve backed down. I still believe the levy is a legitimate means of raising revenue to clean up the waterway, but I also agree with Rik Tau’s argument in principle that NgÄi Tahu ought to act within the spirit of the agreement rather than exploiting it strictly to the letter. The fundamental problem in MÄori-PÄkehÄ relations isn’t a lack of agreements, it’s a lack of goodwill in their implementation. Including the first one – the Treaty.