This report details $22-million worth of funding to 170 clean-up projects and also contains the Report Card that gave the catchment a C+ rating, as reported in Waikato River clean-up awaitedl
Page 5 of the report says iwi received $9,860,000 out of a total of $22,435,000 for the first four years. Waikato-Tainui received $7,644,000, Te Arawa $676,000, Raukawa $733,000, Tuwharetoa $290,000, and Maniapoto $517,000. (1)
To be fair, the purpose of every payment to each tribe is described. A total of $1.25-million of these payments went to "plans" either fisheries or management.
This river of cash to corporate iwi is on top of $212.8-million “redress” payment to the tribes by way of the Waikato River “raupatu” settlements that started with the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu (Waikato River) Settlement in 2010. (2)
That claim included allegations that the Crown allowed pollution of the river while the tribe had no control over it. The settlement has been wrapped inside high-sounding utterances about cleaning up the river, so many may think its money well spent.
The Waikato-Tainui Raupatu (Waikato River) Settlement included:
• a $20-million Sir Robert Mahuta Endowment for Waikato Endowed Colleges Trust settled on the Waikato Raupatu River Trust,Te Arawa received $10-million plus $1-million a year for co-management for 19 years, Raukawa received $31-million plus $1-million a year for 20 years, and Maniapoto received $10-million plus $1-million a year for 20 years. Tuwharetoa received a pledge from the Crown to pay costs.
• a $50-million Rivers Initiative Fund also settled on Waikato Raupatu River Trust “to restore and protect the relationship” of Waikato-Tainui with the Waikato River,
• $1-million a year for 30 years’ co-management funding to Waikato Raupatu River Trust.
• $2.8m ex gratia payment to Waikato Raupatu River Trust for costs.
The 44 percent taniwha tax figure above describes the tribal share of Waikato River Authority funding of $210-million over 30 years, which is separate from the $212.8-million river settlement to five tribes. The tax rate would be much higher if redress payments were included.
The Waikato River Five Year Report shows that $120,086 from the Waikato River Authority went to to Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa for cultural history and capacity building. This is a South Island tribe and the purpose of the funding has no demonstrable effect on cleaning the river.
Around 20 percent of funding, or $4,566,448, went to Waikato councils. This is as it should be because councils, along with farmers, and businesses, will end up doing the work and making the changes to clean up the river. The projects and plans are listed.
At 442km, the Waikato River is New Zealand’s longest river and represents about a fifth of all water from the main North Island rivers. It encompasses a catchment of 11-thousand square kilometres.
Along the course of the Waikato River it encounters geothermal fields and power stations. There are eight hydro-electric power stations creating a series of dams and reservoirs along what were formerly steep and turbulent sections of the river.
There are complex habitats associated with wetlands and lakes along the lower river floodplain, with some having international significance.
There is a big difference between the clear water with a blue tinge that roars down the Huka Falls near Taupo and the sluggish green water that slides past Hamilton. The scale of the task to lift the river’s rating from a C+ should not be underestimated.
If the taniwha tax rate of 44 percent means $92.4-million of river funding to 2040 would go to local tribes and not improving the river, the Waikato River clean-up will be slow, expensive, and inefficient.
1. Waikato River Five Year Report 2015. http://versite.co.nz/~2016/18579/ p5
2. Waikato-Tainui River Claim Deed of Settlement Summary http://nz01.terabyte.co.nz/ots/DocumentLibrary%5CDeedofSettlementsummaryWaikatoRiver.pdf