“Ngai Tahu turmoil & Dirty Tricks”13/03/200910/02/2015Richard Parata

 

The following reports is in the "NZ Herald" . And a similar report in the "ODT" today see below

Comments: Potiki appears to be talking about three issues

a. "– conspiracy about against open speech" et al This seems to refers to advice given to Tront reps last Friday by the CEO Anake Goodall – see below. What the CEO was doing was repairing the damage done by various leaks by Tront Reps. Good advice in my book. Of course Potiki has never condoned the leaks- you would have expected he would as a the ex CEO. Or perhaps he and others are responsible for the leaks? Potoki thinks he and others are being gagged and bullied- a bully being bullied- I like it.

b. "Dirty tactics"  refers, in my view, to an email/letter with personal details of those involved in the current campaign to gain power. 10 names? That will include Tront Reps plus others including Potiki. The history of these individuals, does not make good reading particularly as they have or are responsible in some capacity in governance roles within Ngai Tahu. Potiki might be worried that his background might be exposed.

c. Potiki's, rather confussed messages in both papers, is likely, in my view, be a pre-emptive strike by him and his followers/conspiriters about what might be revealed in the next few days 

Watch The media in the next few days.

Update: Sat 14 March – see my latest post 

Oh yes – overnight I have heard there were no "hacked emails" Information was contained in paper copies of emails           

 

Ngai Tahu Faction Accused of Dirty Tricks- ODT

Conspiracy against open speech is causing difficulties inside one of the country's wealthiest iwi, a prominent Ngai Tahu member says.

Otakou Runanga chairman and former Ngai Tahu chief executive Tahu Potiki said he is no longer prepared to be intimidated by "dirty tactics", following allegations of private emails being hacked, and an anonymous letter delivered to the Otago Daily Times.

Iwi members who have spoken out against recent decisions, including the sacking of Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation chairman Wally Stone and the proposed $52 million cultural centre, have been attacked for airing their opinions, Mr Potiki said.

"There seems to be a conspiracy against open speech."

In other developments, Mr Potiki said he was aware of private emails circulating that appear to have been hacked and released to other recipients without their consent.

"This is not how people envisaged Ngai Tahu democracy should unfold."

This week, an anonymous typewritten letter was delivered to the Otago Daily Times concerning iwi members – viewed as being against Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu kaiwhakahaere (chairman) Mark Solomon.

The letter alleges "there has been and continues to be a carefully managed and orchestrated effort to pull down the walls of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu (Tront)", and names 10 iwi members, including Mr Potiki.

It appeared anyone who questioned the direction of Tront became the subject of a smear campaign, he said.

"It has become like a socialist government."

Tension between the commercial and political bodies of Ngai Tahu, which has an asset base of more than $600 million, spilled over last month following the surprise dumping of Mr Stone.

In a statement Mr Solomon refused to comment on the "current tribal issues Ngai Tahu is experiencing".

"I have taken this stance because the path forward for Ngai Tahu is to return to our values as a tribe and I am confident that we will resolve these matters through open and honest discussions on the marae.

"Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu is obligated to act in the best interests of Ngai Tahu Whanui, and it is for this reason that I have called a meeting of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu for us to address these matters as a responsible board."

Last month, Kaikoura runanga kaumatua requested Mr Solomon resign as their representative, calling for another person to stand in the June elections.

Mr Solomon has refused to comment on the future of his position, saying "the place to debate tribal politics is the marae".

A special closed door meeting between Tront representatives was held was held in Christchurch today, with an open hui scheduled for March 20.

A request by the ODT to attend the open hui was turned down by Ngai Tahu.

NZ Herald
Ngai Tahu turmoil turns nasty
4:00AM Friday Mar 13, 2009
By Yvonne Tahana

Internal revolt within Ngai Tahu is continuing, with seven tribal leaders banding together to push for change from within their governing body, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu (Tront).

Some of them say that because they've spoken out, a "nasty" campaign has started, which includes an anonymous letter being sent to media naming 10 iwi members and alleging, among other things, that some associate with rapists and murderers.

The typewritten note was sent to the Otago Daily Times this week. The author identifies the 10 as anti-Tront iwi members.

Otakou Runanga chairman Tahu Potiki said the letter amounted to "threatening, bully-boy tactics".

He also alleged that his emails to other iwi leaders had been hacked.

For three weeks, the tribe has been in turmoil, a situation started by revelations it would be spending $52 million over four years on a cultural centre. Last month, Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation chairman Wally Stone, who advised against that spending in the current market, was dismissed.

Mr Potiki said asking for "transparency" had seen all sorts of "hell" break loose.

"This is because we want to have a debate about how much a building costs, how much senior management get paid and why they got rid of Wally Stone. In [a Ngai Tahu] election year, these are reasonable questions to ask, yet these nutbars think they can shut down all discussion because they want to hold on to power.

"And they think they're going to intimidate us with this sort of crap."

Chairmen from seven of 18 papatipu runanga – the constituents that make up Tront – yesterday publicly called for radical change in the way Te Runanga interacts with their members. They represent Hokonui, Otakou, Arowhenua, Awarua, Wairewa, Kaikoura and Ngati Waewae.

The Herald requested an interview with Tront chairman Mark Solomon. But a spokeswoman said he was unavailable. In a written statement, he said he would not be involved in any further media debate.

Awarua runanga chairwoman Hana Morgan said too many important decisions were being made in committee, without any accountability to members, eroding papatipu rights.

"We've tried going through our representative," she said. "They [Tront] ignore us. We've said, 'Come to the marae, listen to what we're saying'. They don't do that. It's like we're becoming invisible."

Advice to TRoNT Representatives on Confidentiality Issues

The Kaiwhakahaere is aware that there are a number of Papatipu Rūnanga who are holding meetings this weekend and that many of you will face questions on the matters which have been in the media over the last two weeks and on other issues of significance to Ngāi Tahu Whānui.

It is important that the Representatives and the rūnanga members are able to discuss as openly as possible the matters of importance to them. However, it is also important to be mindful of the Representatives' legal obligations as trustees and Representatives not to disclose information which will ultimately be harmful to Ngāi Tahu Whānui and / or innocent third parties.

The Kaiwhakahaere has asked the Office to prepare an overview of the issues you should be aware of with respect to your responsibilities as Representatives and trustees with regard to confidential information. More importantly, to provide some guidance as to how you might respond to some of the questions that will be raised, but not to be in breach of these duties.

This advice is set out below.

Confidentiality

Te Rūnanga Representatives must remain aware of their fundamental duties to act in the best interest of Ngāi Tahu Whānui as a whole and of their responsibilities as kaitiaki and trustees of the interests and assets of the tribe.

It is accepted that within an iwi context our people are interested in almost all matters which may come before Te RÅ«nanga. The policy of Te RÅ«nanga is to be open and transparent about as many things as we can be. Information should not be withheld just because it may cause some minor reputational harm to Te RÅ«nanga or the Te RÅ«nanga Group.

However, there are matters which should, and indeed must, be discussed in confidence. Even for those matters, it is the policy of Te RÅ«nanga to release the outcomes of all decisions made "in committee" unless there is a good reason for them to remain confidential.

Where information is to remain confidential it is because the information contains matters which may create legal and or commercial risks to the Te RÅ«nanga Group if made public. The release of such information can have negative impact on individuals. It may also place at risk our commercial operations. It is important to note that for the most part information which is confidential to the Te RÅ«nanga Group is appropriately managed.

The issues of confidentiality within the Te RÅ«nanga Group are shared by many other organisations, be they iwi organisations, local government or companies. However, if there is a constant risk that confidential matters may be politicised or publicised then eventually there will be a reluctance for people to enter into commercial or other arrangements with any entity within the Te RÅ«nanga Group including NTHC. It is also possible that the inappropriate disclosure of confidential information will result in actual financial losses which may in turn give rise to legal proceedings against Te RÅ«nanga, NTHC and / or the individuals who disclosed the information.

What things can Representatives discuss with RÅ«nanga?

It is okay to talk about all matters which are not confidential. In respect of most of the confidential matters which have now been disclosed to the media it is okay to talk in general terms about most of the issues that have been raised and the background to those issues provided this is done responsibly and carefully.

This is because in circumstances where the issues are already in the public arena the "cloak of confidentiality" has been lifted to a certain extent. However, Representatives should still take care not to –

  • identify what the whakaaro was of other Representatives (without their permission);
  • refer to matters not already in the public arena; and
  • make adverse statements about employees within the Te RÅ«nanga Group or NTHC Board members.

Representatives should also try to give an objective view of the issues raised so that the whānui get a sense of the range of things which Te Rūnanga may have considered before making a decision.

House of Tahu

It is clear that much of the detail of the preliminary decision of Te RÅ«nanga with respect to the House of Tahu has been leaked to the media. Therefore, it is appropriate for RÅ«nanga Representatives to respond to the media reports and to provide some context for the decision which was taken.

For instance it could be noted that Te RÅ«nanga –

  • has made no final decision on the House of Tahu;
  • has simply agreed in principle to proceed with a project to build the House of Tahu, which comprises a commercial office building and a cultural centre;
  • has asked for some information from NTHC and NTP so that the design and business case can be finalised;
  • has asked for information from NTHC on financial implications (given the economic climate); and
  • will not be making a final decision until this information has been received.

If after receiving this information Te RÅ«nanga does agree to proceed with the House of Tahu project –

  • the project would probably proceed in stages;
  • the initial outlay to keep the project progressing is modest; and
  • the actual construction of the buildings will not start until Te RÅ«nanga can afford to pay for it and the financial outlook has shown considerable improvement.

The media has not reported on the context or the benefits to Te Rūnanga and to Ngāi Tahu Whānui of the House of Tahu project. As these are not matters which are confidential Representatives are free to discuss those issues.

Salaries

Information claiming to relate to the salaries of the Kaiwhakahaere and Deputy Kaiwhakahaere has appeared in the media. Mark has since made his base salary of $155,000 p.a. public. RÅ«nanga Representatives may wish to comment on the way in which these figures are set and the usual reporting of salaries within the Te RÅ«nanga Group.

It could be noted that the figures quoted in the media did not relate to the salaries of the Kaiwhakahaere and Deputy Kaiwhakahaere at all. The actual figures are reported on a quarterly basis to Te RÅ«nanga and so each of the Representatives has access to those figures. Te RÅ«nanga publishes the salary bands and numbers of persons receiving those salaries in the Annual Report.

The remuneration for the Kaiwhakahaere, Deputy Kaiwhakahaere and CEO of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu is set by the Contracts Review Committee. This committee is Chaired by an independent employment consultant and has four Te Rūnanga Representatives on the Committee. The Te Rūnanga Audit and Risk Committee Chairperson also reviews the terms and remuneration of contractors engaged by the Office and provides summary reports to Te Rūnanga.

Appointment of interim Chair NTHC

There were a number of media articles which speculated on the reason that Wally Stone was replaced as the Chair of NTHC and removed from the Board. There has also been a statement by the Kaiwhakahaere as to the reasons for the decision. As these matters are in the public arena Representatives may discuss these and related matters.

These media articles included claims that the decision of Te RÅ«nanga was based on –

  • personality politics between Mark Solomon and Wally Stone;
  • issues over the House of Tahu;
  • internal tensions between Te RÅ«nanga and NTHC; and
  • the need to keep the management of the businesses of Te RÅ«nanga separated from the governance.

In addition, the Kaiwhakahaere released a statement to all Papatipu RÅ«nanga, Representatives and Alternates on the decision. The core part of that statement is set out below –

Over the past 12 months Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu has been conducting a governance review to ensure accountability from all its entities and tighter integration between them. The review has highlighted on-going concerns with the level of responsiveness of Holdings, particularly in regard to key initiatives/projects initiated by Te Rūnanga. At a meeting on 22 February, Te Rūnanga appointed Linda Constable as interim chair of the Holdings board. It was the expressed view of Te Runanga that the time had arrived for a new set of skills to take the Holdings board forward with greater levels of accountability. Linda Constable will complete the governance review work and begin the implementation phase.

The media was also made privy to, and published excerpts from, an internal and confidential document written some four months ago by a Senior Manager. The document contained some thoughts on aspects of the relationship between NTHC and Te Rūnanga. While it is now in the public arena the release of the contents of the memorandum has caused considerable distress to employees within the Te Rūnanga Group and to their families. As the e-mail from the Kaiwhakahaere dated 25th February stated "the release of that document into the public arena can not be condoned at any level" and therefore the details of the document should not be discussed with the Whānui to avoid any further distress to those individuals.

However, you may wish to discuss with your whānau when you first became aware of the document and the circumstances in which that occurred.

Governance Review

Te Rūnanga is in the process of ensuring that all of the entities within the Group take up the challenges and the responsibilities as they are set out in the Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Act 1996 and our Charter. Many aspects of the review are now completed and it is appropriate to discuss these matters with the Whānui.

For approximately 18 months Te Rūnanga has carefully worked through a process of reviewing some of our internal governance arrangements to address some internal governance issues. In the main, these related to Te Rūnanga taking up its responsibilities as trustee of the Ngāi Tahu Charitable Trust. While some matters were related to the role of NTHC, Te Rūnanga has also be working to improve its own processes with a goal of providing clarity of direction and focus for all of the entities.

In that time Te RÅ«nanga has –

  • established Group wide policies for appointments to Boards that ensure the process is open and transparent;
  • established monitoring protocols to aid accountability and reporting processes;
  • established an investment advisory sub-committee to provide external advice to Te RÅ«nanga on intergenerational investment strategies;
  • placed two Representatives from Te RÅ«nanga o Ngāi Tahu on the Board of NTHC, primarily to improve information flows and the relationship between Te RÅ«nanga and the NTHC Board;
  • instituted a new approach to planning in which it is Te RÅ«nanga, not our subsidiaries or the Office, who sets the agenda for the year; and
  • appointed Linda Constable as interim Chair of NTHC to complete this aspect of a governance review.

The final stages of the governance review process are underway. When completed Te RÅ«nanga expects that the roles of NTHC, the Office and Te RÅ«nanga itself will once again be aligned with the Charter.

Nāhaku noa, nā

Anake Goodall

Chief Executive Officer