And so can his Maori mates!
That’s how I understand the attitude of CHB Mayor Peter Butler.
But decide for yourself. Here are Butler’s exact words, as delivered in an email to his councillors last Friday:
“What I want to know is how many of Ngahiwi Tomoana’s mates are employed because of these four properties and when did you last see one of his mates swimming in the Waipawa or Tuki Tuki Rivers, let alone fishing in them!!! If “The Dam” goes ahead he and his mates should be banned from any employment pertaining to it!!”
The “four properties” are four farming operations described earlier in Butler’s email, where he’s describing a ‘show and tell’ trip around the proposed CHB dam footprint he hosted to persuade HB Today’s reporter of the wisdom of the project.
In short, because Ngahiwi Tomoana, the elected chairman of Ngati Kahungunu, the largest iwi in Hawke’s Bay, has the conviction — audacity, as Butler sees it — to challenge the Regional Council’s proposed plans for the Tukituki catchment, bully Butler wants him and his mates blacklisted in retaliation.
There’s a pattern here. Butler attempted, unsuccessfully, to have me kicked off the stakeholders group established to advise HBRC on its Tukituki plans, when he decided I was too critical of the plans being presented. He tried to do it before I arrived at one of our stakeholder meetings … a real classy guy. Among his complaints, he said I didn’t represent anyone. A miscalculation!
NKKI has responded to Butler’s comments with admirable restraint. Here’s their media release:
“Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi is very disappointed at the negative comments of the Central Hawkes Bay Mayor Peter Butler regarding Iwi involvement with the Tukituki River and the Dam proposal.
He has said “If ‘The Dam’ goes ahead Ngahiwi Tomoana and his mates should be banned from any employment pertaining to it!”
For the last ten years we have supported wānanga for youth on water safety, guardianship, and whakapapa on the Tukituki river supported by the Police, Ngā Whenua Rahui (DoC), Water Safety NZ, Ministry of Primary Industries, Youth Quest Trust and Waka Moemoea Trust to name a few. This year the wānanga was attended by 102 youth, 30 mentors and 20 supporting experts.
All those that attended the Tukituki Board of Inquiry at Matahiwi marae were fed whitebait, flounders, eels and fish caught from the very waters that Kahungunu whānau are seeking to protect.
Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi invested over $16 million in 2013 purchasing Tautane Station located in Central Hawkes Bay/Tararua and have secured Taratahi Agricultural Training to provide training on site. We have a lifetime commitment to this region and that has never changed.
Can we trust this community leader to be the steward of $80 million of government money, $80 million of tax payers’ money and $80 million of investment money dispersing the benefits equitably?
Peter Butler has only singled out Māori and not mentioned or referred to Fish & Game, Forest & Bird or the Environmental Defence Society which strongly suggests his statements are race based, which is a disappointing statement from a leader.”
I will seek to have the Regional Council explicitly and publicly disassociate itself with Butler’s remarks and to immediately arrange a governance level meeting, as chairman Tomoana has requested, between HBRC Councillors and NKII … hopefully to avert a further meltdown in HBRC-Maori relations.
P.S. And how is Butler handling this situation? Not by apologising for his appalling comments. Rather by trying to identify the “slimeball” who disclosed his remarks … looking for someone else to bully.