Sunday, 7 February 2010


We remember fondly one of Gerry Brownlee's great lines about National Party operative Bryan Sinclair , whom at the time was supposed to be in charge of every major PR play by the National Party under the leadership of Don Brash.

Gerry, effectively ended all speculation by the media that Sinclair was still a "key man" involved in party strategy when he declared he was " someone who puts out chairs at press conferences"

It was clear by that cutting comment that Sinclair was no longer a party influencer.

We think that we are witnessing the same falling from favour of Ngai Tahu functionary( actually she is General Manager of Strategy and Influence) Sacha McMeeking who was recently appointed by National to the infrastructure Technical Advisory Group by Nick Smith on the 28th of January this year.

Its terms of Reference are:

Infrastructure Technical Advisory Group

The RM Phase II Infrastructure Technical Advisory Group (TAG) is appointed to provide independent advice to the Minister for the Environment on proposals for the reform of the Infrastructure provisions in the RMA and related legislation.

The Scope of the TAG's investigation of infrastructure work will include:

  • A review of the role of designations in facilitating infrastructure development and an examination of options for reviewing and streamlining the designation mechanism.
  • An investigation of alternatives to designations for planning for and managing the effects of activities on network infrastructure.
  • Streamlining and integrating processes including for acquisition and compensation, under the Public Works Act 1981 and other legislation.

Ms McMeekings biography for that job reads:

Sacha McMeeking is of Ngāi Tahu descent and in 2009 was appointed General Manager Strategy and Influence with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

Sacha McMeeking was a law lecturer at University of Canterbury from 2005 to 2007 and her career to date has included legal academia, social work, kaupapa Māori programme design and strategic and political advice. Sacha McMeeking will bring a strong Māori perspective to the group.

All that is very interesting as apparently Ms McMeeking was the author of the Iwi Forum
" alternative model "for for the Foreshore and Seabed Act. as well.

The government was apparently angered at the leaking of the " Alternative model" which pays lips service to property rights. Interestingly, that last week that led her to being described as a "relatively junior operative" .

However Fran O' Sullivan certainly didn't think Ms McMeeking
was a relatively junior operative. She wrote :

"This document, written by Maori strategist and Ngai Tahu staff member Sacha McMeeking, was quickly played down once the Government started asking questions.

But McMeeking is no "relatively junior operative", as the Government has suggested. Her suggestion that the new act should be silent on the issue of ownership and that decision-making and autonomy of iwi and hapu be increased has not been disavowed by the leadership group. Neither has her suggestion that the concept of mana is enduring and inalienable, that coastal iwi/hapu have the right to continue to express that mana and that may encompass development and other rights."

She also suggests iwi/hapu should have veto rights over economic development including coastal occupation and resource extraction - "the Crown will panic at the thought of a nationwide veto but if it was applied to identifiable sites they might cope".

Whoever leaked the document has done all Kiwis a favour by bringing these shadowy dealings into the open."

All this against a backdrop of a Fantastic speech at Waitangi, by John Key where the Property Rights issue was given prominence

"In our homes and communities New Zealanders of all ethnicities live and work side-by-side in pursuit of a shared set of aspirations. No matter our cultural heritage, by and large New Zealanders value hard work and education, we seek better living standards and increased opportunities for our children, and we want this to be an inclusive nation where we respect each other and where each of us has the opportunity to get ahead.

Implicit in that set of values is an acknowledgment of the legal and cultural traditions we have in common. We share a respect for the rule of law, for property rights and for a basic sense of fairness in which Jack is as good as his neighbour.

The descriptor, relatively junior operative, applied to McMeeking , like that applied to the hapless Bryan Sinclair, is an indicator that her star maybe waning.

We watch developments on this front with interest.


Anonymous said...

Shame you feel the need to keep up the attack on one of our own. I am not suggesting that individuals can't be criticised - but this constant negative attention is much more than that. It is nothing short of a concerted attack designed to undermine an individual based on some half truths and innuendo.

Did Sacha write the paper? Probably, but I beleive it was an internal discussion paper based on the previous meeting of the ILG and thus she was no more than the recorder. Was it the view of the ILG? Well no because they are still working to reach a shared view. Was she paid? Blinking well hope so considering the abuse she is encountering from certain quarters (and in my view there is no amount of money to compensate for this).

As a tribe we keep saying we should employ our own and that education is the way forward. Keep this up and no one let alone our own people will ever want to work for us.

Representatives and the Kaiwhakahaere are in it for the political side and within reason they are "fair game" - but, apart from "fair" comments on specific issues staff should not be abused in this fashion.

Anonymous said...

I think you are overstating Sacha's standing, influence and ability. And, it's not all her fault if she's been put into a position, with responsibilities that are beyond her station. Who is responsible for that?... ... ... exactly!!!