You may have seen this recent Dom Post article about Treaty claimants getting $79 million in legal aid over the past six years.
The article reveals the standard perks — or rorts, depending on your point of view:
- As well as legal costs, Treaty lawyers can claim on travel, meals, accommodation, and the expense of attending a hui to discuss a claim.
- More than $800,000 has also been claimed in travel costs during the past 2 years.
Nothing too unusual there.
But then we get into some good, old-fashioned Maori privilege (the kind the likes of Peter Meihana would have you believe doesn’t exist):
- Unlike civil or criminal cases, Treaty claimants can obtain legal aid regardless of their financial circumstances.
But if you think that stinks, it’s nothing to what the article doesn’t tell you…
(This comes from a friend who used to dole out New Zealand’s legal aid. Here’s what he just told me…
There are only three classes of applicant that don’t have to pay back legal aid:
- Domestic violence victims.
- Accused criminals.
- Treaty claimants.
You heard it here first, folks. Free lawyers for battered women (fair enough, but why not all violence victims?), crims, and griever Maori.
And it gets worse.
- While Treaty claims represent a fraction of the total number of legal aid cases, they are often among the most expensive.
Not only the most expensive. Also — by far — the most successful.
What other class of legal aid applicant is so regularly clogging up our legal system demanding millions of dollars from taxpayers — and winning?
(Courtesy of a kangaroo court specifically set up to shepherd their claims past a “see no evil” appeaser government, with no regard for historical truth.)
In other words…
…no class of applicant is more able than Griever Maori to afford to pay back their legal aid.
And yet, unlike you and me — even when they win settlements in the hundreds of millions of dollars — they don’t have to pay back a cent.
And unlike criminals, they don’t even have to prove that they’re hard up to get their free legal aid.
Legal aid, remember, is your and my hard-earned cash, handed over to iwi so they can hire lawyers to bring often-bogus cases against you and me, that the Waitangi Tribunal finds any excuse to approve, then gets Chris Finlayson and co. to rubber stamp.)
More points from the article:
- Of the 75 most expensive cases of 2008-09, 41 per cent were for Treaty claims.
- The Waitangi Tribunal is currently handling or preparing 780 separate claims, which are resolved through regional hearings.
- In a statement, Justice Minister Judith Collins said she was comfortable with the amount of money being spent on legal aid for Treaty claims.
Disappointing, Judith. I used to think you’d make a strong prime minister.