Saturday 28 February 2009


This story in the Herald about Ngai Tahu here is absolutely appalling - for three reasons.

The first reason is that Ngai Tahu chief Mark Solomon pulls in about $200 thousand dollars a year - his deputy Donald Crouch gets a fair wack as well- combined about $390 thousand between them. While all around them New Zealanders are standing up and showing leadership and financial prudence in the face of an economic tsunami, they voted them selves another slice of the Ngai Tahu financial pie. Pure greed.

The second reason is that they are basing their financial future and security on more settlements from the crown.

They have had 10 years to lay the foundation for a secure future for Ngai Tahu. It appears our tribe led by Mark Solomon is still in grievance mode. This, more than his involvement in the ousting of Wally Stone, or his temerity at giving himself a pay increase when the people he serves are asked to tighten their belts, is the reason he should go.

The third reason is Mark is also presiding over an organisation that can find less that 1% savings while government departments are being asked to prune at least 10% percent from their budgets.

If Ngai Tahu beneficiaries want a sound future for their mokopuna then the woolly thinking, lack of financial acumen and the selfish actions of those led by Mark will not deliver it.

What Ngai Tahu does need is a leader who has vision and forsight, who leads by example.

We remember when over ten years ago the tribe was dumbfounded and disgusted when the media revealed the amount that Sir Tipene was paid. He was angry but the tribe was angrier and it is time once more for beneficiaries to show their displeasure and ask for the resignation of Mark Solomon and those who do his bidding.

Ngai Tahu bosses take pay rises amid cost-cutting

By Yvonne Tahana

Leaders of one of the country's richest iwi have taken a huge pay increase while asking the tribe to cut costs.

Mark Solomon, kaiwhakahaere (chairman) of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, his deputy Donald Couch and their assistant are in line to receive $386,885 between them this financial year, 35 per cent more than last year.

The Weekend Herald understands the runanga - the South Island tribe's governing body - asked its office in December to assess how much money it could save this financial year. The office reported it could cut $262,000 from its $24 million budget.

Robin Wybrow, a Ngai Tahu leader from Wairewa runanga, is angry he has had to find out about the increase through the media. He said it was "appalling" that the smaller runanga who made up Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu were never consulted.

"I'm staggered. It's hard to justify at any time but it's harder to justify in the present financial environment. Many Ngai Tahu are going to be facing job losses, not pay increases. It shows a lack of sensitivity to iwi members who are going to be suffering."

While other large iwi such as Tainui state in their annual reports how much their leaders receive, Ngai Tahu, which is worth $600 million, does not. Pay structure - and who is getting what proportion of the total sum - is also not mentioned.

Another Ngai Tahu leader said the pay increase was sickening. "Are they embarrassed to have their salaries public? Of course they are - it's obscene."

Last night, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu would not comment.

The spending review does not take into account the tribe's $52 million investment in its cultural centre, The House of Tahu.

Ousted Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation chairman Wally Stone believes the centre is an investment that is not in the tribe's best interests, given the economic outlook.

The tribe's executive leadership is banking on "significant" sums from further Treaty settlements to guarantee a strong financial future for Ngai Tahu.


Lucy said...

As I said before. Dont worry if they go broke I am sure they can go back for another "full and final settlement" on the taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

Cheers "Lucy" good to see a progressive attitude to Maori issues...I am a registered descendent and this disgusts me, he should be physically biffed out of office - we had our grievances addressed, we made a good start of getting that money to work for the people and this idiot gets his hands on the controls...he must to go.

Lucy said...

When I see Maori become more progressive then Ill alter my attitude accordingly

Unknown said...

I agree biff the prick he is only interested in lining his own pocket. anyway any normal person would walk with all the bad publicity this guy Solomon thinks he is king. I see his invite to meet with Ngai Tahu Whanau on the marae is a meeting in the corporate board room at Te Waipounamu House if thats his Marae then what does that tell ya about him