leadership at Te Ataiwa ki Whakarongotai
12 September 2010
Elected Pakeha liberals around the Council table are partly to blame for the culture of corruption that has set in amongst a section of the leadership at Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai , says K (GURU) Gurunathan Candidate for Paraparaumu Ward
Thursday’s and Friday’s Dompost reports on the corruption of taxpayer money meant for Maori health services at Te Ati Awa ki Whakarongotai is a clear warning to the KCDC to demand greater accountability for the ratepayer money given for iwi projects, says K (Guru) Gurunathan, who has erected the first Maaori language election hoarding calling for support.
KCDC should immediately stop sending resource consents to Whakarongotai for iwi approval given this clear indication of corruption especially if the people involved in approving the consents are the same people investigated by Capital & Coast District Health Board.
The Pricewaterhouse-Coopers report, into missing health funds, released by C&CDHB is not a forensic audit so the report leaves a lot of unanswered questions. It’s a cop-out by the health agency which had earlier told concerned local iwi it will pursue the individuals involved for the return of the money.
KCDC’s dealings with local iwi are also not transparent or accountable enough. Part of the reason for this lack of transparency and accountability is the fact that elected Pakeha liberals around the council table are too timid or too PC to ask the hard questions. I believe this attitude has abetted the growth of a culture of corruption within some sectors of the iwi leadership.
Rank and file Maori themselves are kept ignorant about what’s happening.
About 13 years ago the KCDC grant $20,000 to Whakarongotai to upgrade the toilets at the marae. The work was never done and council did not demand accountability for the missing money despite the local media reporting on it. Indications are this is just the tip of the iceberg. Today the leadership of Whakarongotai has been investigated for $600,000 which the DHB claimed had gone missing.
The Treaty of Waitangi will continue to shape the relationship between local authorities and iwi. The tension between governance and tinorangatira will be tested even more. Unless there is transparency and accountability this relationship will not be a healthy one for local communities and the process of nation building.
This not just a Kapiti matter but an issue relevant to all local authorities and the processes their have developed to meet their Treaty obligations and the consultation requirements under the Local Government Act 2002.
Te Waari Carkeek, chair of KCDC’s iwi partnership committee, Te Whakaminenga o Kapiti, in his August 13 statement urging Maori to vote said it was vital to have s strong and effective three-way partnership between tangata whenua, the KCDC and Greater Wellington Regional Council. Mr Carkeek has missed a fourth partnership – one between tangata whenua and the wider community. That needs transparency and accountability – critical for bi-cultural nation building.
K Gurunathan’s background in Maori issues: As a Victoria University student in the mid-1970s he was a member of the Maori activist group Nga Tama Toa. He was its only non-Maori member. He was involved with Maori land struggles at Raglan and Bastion Point and took part in the Maori Land March.
Last year in November he took his Citizenship Oath to the Queen in Maori – the only new migrant to do so in Te Reo in Kapiti and possibly New Zealand.