Tuesday, 10 March 2009

TE RUNANGA O NGAI TAHU APPEALS TO IWI

THIS HAS BEEN FORWARD TO US - WE THINK THAT IN THE INTERESTS OF GOOD DEBATE IT IS RIGHT AND PROPER THAT WE TABLE THIS. iT HAS BEEN SENT TO ALL RUNANGA

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 Rūnanga. The policy of Te Rūnanga 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 Rūnanga or the Te Rūnanga Group.

However, there are matters which should, and indeed must, be discussed in confidence. Even for those matters, it is the policy of Te Rūnanga 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 Rūnanga 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 Rūnanga Group is appropriately managed.

The issues of confidentiality within the Te Rūnanga 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 Rūnanga 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 Rūnanga, NTHC and / or the individuals who disclosed the information.

What things can Representatives discuss with Rūnanga?

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 Rūnanga 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 Rūnanga with respect to the House of Tahu has been leaked to the media. Therefore, it is appropriate for Rūnanga 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 Rūnanga -

  • 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 Rūnanga 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 Rūnanga 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. Rūnanga Representatives may wish to comment on the way in which these figures are set and the usual reporting of salaries within the Te Rūnanga 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 Rūnanga and so each of the Representatives has access to those figures. Te Rūnanga 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 Rūnanga was based on -

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

In addition, the Kaiwhakahaere released a statement to all Papatipu Rūnanga, 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 Rūnanga 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 Rūnanga on intergenerational investment strategies;
  • placed two Representatives from Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu on the Board of NTHC, primarily to improve information flows and the relationship between Te Rūnanga and the NTHC Board;
  • instituted a new approach to planning in which it is Te Rūnanga, 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 Rūnanga expects that the roles of NTHC, the Office and Te Rūnanga itself will once again be aligned with the Charter.

Nāhaku noa, nā

Anake Goodall

Chief Executive Officer

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

BB You just beat me to it.I was about to publish the same A good helpful document
Richard Parata

Evelyn Cook said...

Firstly, shouldn't it be the Kaiwhakahaere who is offering the various representatives advice and support on their interactions with their rūnanga not the Chief Executive Officer?

Secondly, when is there going to be closer scrutiny as to who has leaked the exact happenings at the Te Rūnanga meeting where Wally Stone was dismissed to the media, Mr Parata and Rana Edgarten? Surely someone has told them who was present during the voting. That would seem to eliminate some of those being accused and turn the light elsewhere.

It is good to know that the Kaiwhakahaere has finally admitted to his base payment. Of course, that isn't all he receives but at $155,000, he still receives more than the combined amount of the Murihiku rūnanga and only $55,000 less than all the rūnanga south of the Waitaki.

I am sure the whanau are pleased that we remunerate people adequately however when they are choosing whether to put on the heater or buy cheese instead of Marmite they might question whether such a large sum is appropriate.

Finally, if the governance review is as critical of the Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu table and the Kaiwhakahaere as the previous review is reputed to have been, will it ever see the light of day, let alone be acted upon?

There has been enough internal navel gazing already to have resolved many of the issues had there been good will from ALL. I look forward to the 'leadership' showing the way.

Anonymous said...

What the?

a pakeha threatening iwi members with legal action for discusiing iwi business at their runanga. How bad do things have to get?

Anonymous said...

good job Evelyn has not been left in charge of the tribal funds. she is an obvious candidate for the financial literacy program.

so Evelyn wants to know why the CEO communicates to Reps and not the Kaiwhakahaere on these matters - maybe it is because of the specialist nature of the advice.

Also Evelyn wants to know who leaked the TRUTH about the vote. was it more convenient to think that 7 people voted to keep Wally rather than the lonely two voices in the wilderness who actually did vote against the motion. the motivation for those who leaked the LIES is harder to understand than those who think the whanau deserve to know the truth.

as for Evelyn's mathmatical abilities - it is no secret that each of the runanga receives a modest amount over and above the salary of the Kaiwhakahaere on an annual basis. is it enough for the runanga? of course not. but it is not true to say that they get less than a quarter of Mark's salary.

if the point was that Mark is paid more than the other Reps, then damn right he is. They turn up 2 days a month for their base fee and Mark turns up 5 or 6 days a week for his. on that basis he is obviously underpaid.

if Evelyn took the time to look at the list of who is paid what in the annual report she would notice that there is a fair few of folks receiving a hell of a lot more. not likely that many (if any) are Ngai Tahu. why single out Mark?

we know what Mark gets paid and for what. unlike some who have been on the TR/HC gravy train of secret contracts and payouts over the past few years. if this was all added up it would buy a lot more marmite and cheese sammies than Mark's salary.

at the end of the day $155k seems low enough when you consider the crap he has to put up with.

Marty Mars said...

I don't know Evelyn but she raised some fair points in a reasonable way. The last anonymous gets the great pleasure in dis'ing Evelyn while hiding behind 'no name'.

Her questions remain, why has the directive come from the Office and not the kaiwhakahaere? Personally doesn't bother me - they just ask lawyers anyway.

Who leaked what to whom? If we find this out there might be some flying pigs winging past the window.

Is the amount that the leaders of the Iwi are paid the appropriate amount? buggered if i know but it does seem reasonable.

Anonymous in reply asks why pick on Mark - there are possibly many non-Ngai Tahu earning more within the organisation... that's a very sad point - isn't it? Why the hell are they there taking money that could go to a Ngai Tahu families? And sorry i don't buy into "they are the best qualified" - that is just a lie.

As Kaiwhakahaere, of course Mark is going to be looked at - that's good. Personally I find some of the vitriol directed at him to be over the top but we are passionate people, so it all works out.

Like 90% of Ngai Tahu i won't be able to get to the marae this weekend so i will hear bugger all about the discussion - but thankfully we have Richards site and BB to keep us all up to date.

Evelyn Cook said...

So I missed out the word representatives. I should have said Murihiku rūnanga representatives and all the rūnanga representatives south of the Waitaki. Mea culpa.

Of course, I am reasonably certain that anonymous knew what I was saying. I may have made an error of omission in terms of a word but I think my math was accurate.

I still feel the disparity between the remuneration of the Kaiwhakahaere and the Deputy relative to the other 16 representatives needs to be addressed no matter who occupies the positions.

Anonymous, I am glad that you took the time to respond. It is unfortunate that you don't feel brave enough to sign your name, however, I expect that you know me and therefore will know that I am very aware of the variety of ill-informed and sometimes downright ubtruthful comments that come the way of the representatives at the table of Te Rūnanga.

If you are able to point to errors of fact in my post, please do so. Matters of opinion, of course, are mine to have just as you are entitled to your opinions, of me, of the Kaiwhakahare or anything or anyone else.

That is one of the privileges of our democracy both within the iwi and within the nation.dommert

Anonymous said...

Personally I am relieved that the Ngai Tahu whanui now no longer have to spend time polishing our halos!

It has been such a burden pretending that unlike the whole of the rest of humanity we are not prone to the same frailties within our ranks - leaders included.

Now that it is out in the open that we are just the same as everyone else in terms of not only having members who exhibit:

a) the highest ideals of service above self, honesty, integrity, altruism, respect for others, clarity of thought, exemplary work ethic, etc. etc.

but also
b) disloyalty, greed, self-interest, dishonesty, illogic, deviousness, hypocrisy, mis-respresentation of the facts to show ourselves in the best light, (plus the occasional criminal??) etc. etc.,

c) A mix of both

perhaps we can get on with sorting out this current situation with a bit of the transparency and honesty that all sides have been calling for!

Of course, as with the rest of humankind, each according to their own lights will cast themselves as either a) or b) despite any evidence to the contrary ....