Last night's full and final deadline to lodge Waitangi claims saw over two-thousand new claims come flooding in. Not that this is a "full and final" deadline -- there's still time for electronic applications to come in: the deadline for these is Friday.
So that's well over two-thousand new claims to get on the gravy train that the Waitangi Tribunal needs to sort through. At their current rate of settlement, that should take them ... about five-hundred years.
So much for seeing the end of the gravy train.
In any case, neither fullness nor finality have been features of previous settlements, as evidenced even in last night's avalanche which saw yet another claim come in from Ngai Tahu (who have already in their history agreed to four "full and final" settlements from the taxpayer for things those taxpayers didn't do)*, claiming this time that the government's Emissions Tax Scam will rob their forestry assets of "tens of millions of dollars" -- which of course it will, just as it will rob nearly everybody in New Zealand.
Perhaps we should all make a Waitangi claim? And then another ... and another. Or should we just pay homage to Sir Douglas Douglas Graham, lord of the taxpayers' pocket, who when handing over a large wodge of taxpayers' money to the moochers from Ngai Tahu told taxpayers "The sooner we realise there are laws for one & laws for another, the better."
As a standard for both fullness and finality, and for how the law treats those tangata whenua on the mooch, we should remember National's Douglas bloody Graham and the legacy of separatism and paternalism he left behind; and we should certainly remember this sort of serial reneging when we think something as trivial as a deadline will put a stop to the gravy train. Our memories might be jogged by another serial recipient of "full and final" settlements, Tainui, who were on the mooch again just a fortnight ago-- coming away from their recent negotiations with the guardians of our wallets with their begging bowl full of cash and management rights to the Waikato River.
"Full and final." Yeah right.
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* On this point, see Alan Everton's three-part Free Radical article 'Ngai Tahu's Tangled Web,' here, here and here. The Waitangi Tribunal's report on Ngai Tahu's 1997 settlement, said Everton at the time, "is a 1.254 page doorstop of rare abstruseness and mind-numbing repetitiveness which is strewn with assertions in search of a supporting fact." Thus was the pattern set for all the Tribunal reports that have followed.