Friday, March 19, 2010

Tuku and the gravy train

We are indebted to ACT MP David Garrett for providing us with a rare insight into the real nature of the Treaty gravy train.

A question put by Garrett in Parliament yesterday extracted the fascinating information that the Crown paid Tainui powerbroker Tukoroirangi Morgan $171,000 for 16 months’ work as a “facilitator”, a role which apparently involves “helping move other iwi through the [Treaty] settlement process”.

Nice work if you can get it. I don’t know exactly what the job demands but it doesn’t sound too onerous.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Morgan also banked $141,000 in director’s fees and a $100,000 “success fee” for completing Tainui’s Waikato River settlement.

Not bad for a former bumbling TV3 journalist – one who often had difficulty stringing a coherent sentence together – and failed MP, one of the self-aggrandising, opportunist Mauri Pacific Party (founded by his brother-in-law Tau Henare, now a National MP) that broke away from New Zealand First.

The voters wisely ditched Mauri Pacific at the first opportunity, but you have to hand it to Tuku – he’s nothing if not a survivor. He has very successfully, and very lucratively, re-invented himself as some sort of elder statesman of Maoridom.

He is close to the heart of power in the wealthy Tainui tribe and clearly wields influence in government circles. But whenever I see him holding forth on TV in the manner of a dignified and respected kaumatua, looking very imposing with his silver hair and expensive camel-hair overcoat, I still see the grasping freeloader who famously spent $4000 of Aotearoa Television funds on personal clothing – including $85 on a pair of underpants. And I’m sorry, but it offends me that that my taxes are finding their way into his pocket (silk-lined, no doubt).

Morgan briefly and tellingly let his carefully cultivated statesmanlike image slip yesterday when the Herald asked him about Garrett’s suggestion in Parliament that he was double-dipping. “I’m not going to enter into this kind of crap,” he reportedly said. “I don’t give a shit about what David Garrett is saying.”

Way to go, Tuku. That’s the spirit.

1 comment:

Richard McGrath said...

Spot on, Karl. I made some similar comments on the NotPC blog this morning before I read your post from last week.