Ngarewa-Packer tells government to stop 'double standard' apologies

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

The government immediately apologised to the Muslim community yesterday following the release of the report by the Royal Commission into the mosque attacks in Christchurch.

The report had found that both law and government departments failed to protect the Muslim community.

But Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer says the government response to legislated attacks on Māori, such as the invasion of Parihaka, requires the same swift action. 

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman reflected on the mosque attack in the House yesterday and recalled her memories of March 15, 2019.
"I want to acknowledge that it was Māori who raised the voices of our Muslim community ... hate crime, mass murder, prejudice has existed in this country before because it was Māori who had experienced it. and they warned that losing the lessons of prejudice will only mean that our country remains in a state where marginalisation and no one would be safe."

Ngarewa-Packer says there's a long way for the government to go in their apologies to Māori.

Settling for .001 cent

"Terrorism and the tyranny of the majority can do it to us. I sit there and think 'Gosh we had to settle for .001 cent for every hectare stolen for a settlement legislation to be able to even receive a part apology all at the terms of the Crown." 

Fellow Māori Party MP Rawiri Waititi responded to the Royal Commission Report into the Christchurch massacre saying "Our security services were so engrossed in watching Māori activists they overlooked white supremacists."

Thy say the invasion of Parihaka in 1881, the Tūhoe raids in 2007, both historical and recent histories, are harrowing but Māori still have to wait for years for an apology. In the case of Parihaka, they waited nearly 138 years

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little says the apologies to Māori are a result of the Waitangi Tribunal process and are carefully considered apologies negotiated with each iwi.

Ngarewa-Packer says it's a hard pill to swallow. "I can't help but see the irony in how there's such a disconnect in the white people in Aotearoa and the terrorism that we experience from white Pākehā in Aotearoa."

The royal commission report released had 44 recommendations and the government agreed to all of them in principle. However, for Māori going through the tribunal process, iwi tare required to go through a hearings process. The tribunal will make recommendations and the Crown will decide to take them on.

"Sometimes those recommendations are taken on, sometimes they're not taken on," Little says.

"if we could get half our tribunal recommendations taken on and supported by the government then half the issues we contend with as Māori would be out of the way,"  Ngarewa-Packer says.

In her maiden speech the co-leader of the Māori Party called out some of the people whose photos hang on Parliament's walls, saying, "I'm the descendent of holocaust, a genocide sponsored by this House and members of Parliament whose portraits still hang on the walls."

Little says, "where people are responsible for terrorising communities, in this case Māori, they should be called out."

And there is a lot of work ahead for the treaty negotiation sminister  to call out historical injustices.