Those of us who remember Tukuroirangi Morgan's time in parliament, and at Aotearoa Television, remember with some enthusiasm for the entertainment it gave us all what a glutton he was for a perk. His sense of entitlement was so tangible it was something we mere mortals can only wonder at. (Q: Why did the chick cross the road? A: The chicken's mana entitled it to cross the road whenever and wherever it wanted.)
Those of you too young to remember it all need only a ribald sense of humour and the ability to Google Tuku+Morgan+underpants to catch up. And you should, because everyone but Tuku had a blast.
These trough-snout proclivities of the Tuku are so clearly innate with him that it's very easy to believe recent stories that he and the rest of the Tainui top table which he chairs are paying themselves an awful lot for doing very little—a revelation for which the woman who revealed it has just been sacked by the very head honcho of the trough, by the Tainui “king” himself. (A sacking that looks as petulant as it is irregular.)
This, ladies and gentlemen, is what a Browntable looks like—a table of top troughers who don’t give a fig either for the people who pay their way, or the people in whose name they they claim to speak.
It’s to scum like this, and to the rest of their similarly-placed Browntable brethren around the country, that the National Party now wants to make a gift of nearly two-thirds of the coastline—not to individual Maori, or to individual non-Maori, either of whom might be able to prove some sort of common-law property right in what is presently un-owned, but who will now have no forum win which to make a case; not even as some under-the-table kind of privatisation, which will pass these parcels of foreshore and seabed into individualised titles that could end up in the hands of those who value them the most.
No, the National Party just wants to put it all straight into the trough and (after a few short pas des deux in Chris Finalyson’s office) to give it straight to tribal “leaders” like Tuku and his ilk, so these self-serving scum can keep themselves in pork and clover until such time as they come back to the taxpayer saying “More!”
This is what has many people feeling very aggrieved about National’s compromise arrangement on the Foreshore & Seabed Act: because it will simply add more coastline to the already overfull Browntable trough, without delivering even a schnapper’s worth of justice for anyone.
Hone Harawira, for example, seems to think the whole coastline should simply be handed over as is where is to the Browntable, simply because they are who they are. (The Browntable’s mana entitles it to whatever and wherever it wants. So there.)
And the ACT Party & the Muriel Newman-led Coastal Coalition have been running an even more bizarre line. Instead of opposing crown ownership and arguing for real property rights—i.e., upholding the common law right for people’s day in court to argue for their rights in these areas to be recognised, which was precisely what the original Court of Appeal decision allowed—or arguing for a simple privatisation of coastline by the granting of individualised, transferable titles—they’re arguing instead that two-thirds of the country’s coastline should remain nationalised in perpetuity.
But since many of them also believe that “before Maori arrived in New Zealand settlements had already been established … by Chinese miners, and by the Celts,” it’s clear that logic plays no part in their campaigning.