Now we know why Miri got sniffy
by John Ansell
You may remember my Marae Investigates appearance with Peter Meihana on the subject of Maori privilege.
I remember it mainly for the tart parting shot of TVNZ anchorperson Miriama Kamo.
I’d just pointed out — with the help of a wide scroll festooned with privileges – that for at least 20 years we’ve been paying the equivalent of a South Canterbury Finance bailout every year to Maori – $1.5 billion — simply for being Maori.
And yet the supposedly neutral Kamo had the cheek to snort, “Maori privilege is a ridiculous proposition!”
Now, thanks to Winston Peters and the Sunday Star-Times, we find that Kamo’s partner is far and away the biggest earner in the business of negotiating the surrender of New Zealand assets to Maori.
Since National came to power in late 2008, Michael Dreaver’s company The Policy Shop has earned $1.5 million from negotiating away your money to more than 20 iwi in the Auckland and Hauraki area.
Except that The Policy Shop is not just Michael Dreaver’s company.
Michael Dreaver and Miriama Kamo: riding First Class on the Treaty Gravy Train.
According to the Companies Office, The Policy Shop Limited has one other director. You guessed her…
So Miriama Kamo is making a tidy sum helping Chris Finlayson dispense Maori privilege.
(This includes the Treaty claimants’ privilege of not having to pay back one cent of their generous legal aid grants when they win the millions negotiated with her firm.)
She herself probably owes her job to Maori privilege, given her uneven facial feature, which I suspect would disqualify any non-Maori broadcaster from the role of television newsreader.
So for Kamo to deny the existence of Maori privilege after all that is breathtaking.
(Given her partner’s profession, I won’t write what I’m really thinking.)
Dreaver and Kamo, it seems, are go-betweens, not just for Appeaser-General Chris Finlayson, but also for Sir Douglas Graham.
Graham was the National justice minister who surrendered $170 million worth of your assets to Ngai Tahu.
(Even though that tribe in 1840 had no more than 2,000 members scattered in pockets around the edge of the South Island, they still pocketed all the greenstone in the middle.)
Not content with ripping off the shareholders of New Zealand Inc., Graham, seen here in the dock, was also convicted of misleading shareholders in Lombard Finance, at a cost to the country of another $111 million.
Graham has himself earned $186, 901 doing Treaty deals for his successor — a minister who measures his success by how much of his country he can surrender in how little time.
Finlayson told the Star-Times the negotiators’ results spoke for themselves.
In Tamaki Makaurau, for example, there had been no settlements at all when Dreaver was appointed in 2008 and there were now seven agreements in principle and a signed deed of settlement with 12 groups around Auckland’s volcanic cones.
He described the 14 negotiators as “one of the top teams assembled in Government”.
In that chamber of Chamberlains that passes for our Parliament, he may well be right.