Lower payout adds to tension
The amount of money Tainui dishes out to its people is declining, the head of the tribe’s parliament claims as the Maori king steps up a campaign to get rid of her.
Tania Martin, chairwoman of tribal parliament Te Kauhanganui, has been under fire since she released a report in November which alleged spending by the tribe’s executive board, Te Arataura, was out of control.
But in a another report released this week she claims that despite an income of $13.35 million, the organisation could only afford $3.58 million in distributions this year. Last year it was $4.4m. The money is used to fund a range of tribe activities including scholarships, grants and marae expenses.
“Overall the figures show the total for governance costs at more than $2m,” Mrs Martin said in the report.
“So we are in fact spending millions of dollars on governance alone with 80 per cent [of the $2m] on executive costs only.”
The remaining money is taken up with the tribe’s operating expenses.
“The reality is it’s costing Te Kauhanganui more and more to distribute less and less. Te Kauhanganui needs to ask why.”
She said Te Kauhanganui needed to focus on how it could reduce operational costs in order to increase the rate of distribution back to the people.
Mrs Martin was unavailable for comment. A close family friend said that she was recuperating after an operation.
Tainui’s communication staff today said they did not have time to respond to Times’ questions on both the latest report and the king’s alleged campaign to get rid of Mrs Martin.
King Tuheitia has been trying to oust Mrs Martin since she tabled a report at a meeting of Te Kauhanganui in November.
During that meeting the report’s recommendations – which included conducting a review into the executive board’s expenditure and performance – were endorsed.
The king tried to sack Mrs Martin last month but the decision was overturned when it was realised the move was unconstitutional.
Te Kauhanganui will meet on Saturday to discuss a resolution to have Mrs Martin stood down as chairwoman.
Over the last week King Tuheitia has met with Tainui marae leaders to get them to vote in favour of Mrs Martin’s removal.
Okeroa Shaw, who attended one of the meetings, said they were first asked to swear their allegiance to the Kingitanga movement.
“He [King Tuheitia] said the reason why he asked us to all attend was because he wanted our support to get rid of Tania Martin.
“He said he wanted her out and that he needed our support to get her out. He also talked about (former chief executive) Hemi Rau and said that he told Te Arataura to get rid of him.
“He said he wanted Hemi Rau out because he [the king] had to go on his hands and knees and beg when he needed money. He said he was like a little kid going to beg for pocket money.”
Mrs Shaw, who represents Te Kotahitanga Marae on Te Kauhanganui, said she told the king that she would not support the move to have Mrs Martin removed.
[Tuku Morgan hasn’t released a rebuttal to the figures yet, so we can probably assume they are correct.]