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Chris Finlayson

Before his political career unfolded, Mr Finlayson spent years fighting for super-rich South Island tribe Ngai Tahu against the Government, pursuing its treaty claims through a series of high-profile court battles.

"I used to love going to the office in the morning when we were suing the Crown", Finlayson said in a speech in 2009. "Ngai Tahu mastered the art of aggressive litigation. . . It was 'take no prisoners' and it resulted in a good settlement" (for Ngai Tahu).....
Read Bruce Moon's full blog HERE


Who is Christopher Finlayson?
Christopher Whinlayson holds two key portfolios in John Key’s government - Minister of Treaty Settlements and Attorney General. He was appointed Associate Minister of Maori Affairs in 2011. He appointed himself a Queen’s Counsel in December 2012.

Whinlayson is the National Government’s point man for TOW deals. To forestall any public opposition during negotiations, Whinlayson and his team work in secret with the claimants, releasing news of the deal as an afterthought. He has been successful in concluding an unprecedented number of TOW deals in this way.

This process eliminates the need for annoying public consultation, and is possible because TOW deals are solely between the Crown and the claimants, bypassing the legal system.

His years in private practice representing Maori organizations in TOW cases against the Crown have served him well. Now, as he negotiates on the other side of the fence for the National-Maori Party coalition (oops, sorry, ‘the Crown’), his skills in manipulating and reinventing the TOW ensure that negotiations always proceed without a hitch.

Born in 1956, Whinlayson is the new generation of gay politician - ever the erudite lawyer, peppering his speeches with French and Latin picked up at university, opening art exhibits in French, attending the opera, …

Notorious for his outbursts when cornered, Whinlayson has been described as having “one of the most vitriolic approaches of any of the MPs”. This temperament is illustrated well in his screaming attack in Parliament on Trevor Mallard MP as “psychotic” when challenged over dishonesty in failing to declare interest in a trust as required under parliamentary procedure.

Ignored by voters the three times he stood for Parliament in his home electorate, he later surfed into Parliament as a list MP.

His position as a list MP means that he is accountable only to his leader, and not to the electorate. Negotiations can therefore be held in secret, ensuring that deals are free from public scrutiny, until it’s too late for objections.
- James Dalton


Call for Finlayson to be replaced
That’s why Chris Finlayson’s plan to relinquish our public ownership rights to the foreshore and seabed – in favour of a regime of increasing Maori-only ownership and control – is seen by many as grossly offensive. And the fact that John Key, Chris Finlayson and the rest of the National party don’t understand how offensive this is, is an indictment on their understanding of what it means to be New Zealander.

Well, thanks to the Coastal Coalition’s information campaign, Chris Finlayson’s plan to sneak the Bill through before the public wakes up to what’s really going on has been derailed and it is becoming increasingly likely that his Bill will not survive in its current form.

In political debate, ad hominem attacks have always been regarded as the domain of the ‘left’, as they play the man not the ball in an attempt to discredit and marginalise their opponents. That’s why many people have been taken aback by the vitriolic attacks of the Attorney General. Any non-Maori who dares to oppose his replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act is subjected to vicious personal attacks – presumably in an attempt to silence them and to prevent others from speaking out. Among those he has insulted for raising concerns about his Bill include Michael Barnett, the Chief Executive of the Chambers of Commerce; Dr Grant Morris, law-lecturer at Victoria University; David Round, lecturer in law at Canterbury University; Dr Hugh Barr, Coastal Coalition spokesman and outdoor recreation advocate – and now, more recently myself and the more than ten thousand supporters of the Coastal Coalition.1

In an astonishing outburst that illustrates how poor his judgement is the Attorney General has spent presumably countless hours trawling through the many hundreds of articles on the New Zealand Centre for Political Research website (see archives page) to find mud to throw at the Coastal Coalition. The best he could do was highlight an article I wrote in 2006 in response to a feature in the Economist Magazine that looked at the early history of world discovery – including New Zealand. The article has absolutely nothing at all to do with the foreshore and seabed.

He then called opponents to his Marine and Coastal Area Bill “clowns” and “paranoids”, claiming that our views are “profoundly sickening” and that he was considering giving up his summer holiday because “I’m not going to be beaten by these clowns”. For a Minister of the Crown to attempt to intimidate and silence opponents to his Bill, at a time when a submission process that invites comment from members of the public is underway, is extraordinary and totally unacceptable. This latest attack on the tens of thousands of good New Zealanders who support the objective of the Coastal Coalition – to retain the foreshore and seabed in Crown ownership – shows he has lost all semblance of the objectivity that a Minister in charge of a Bill must display. As a member of the House of Representatives, he should welcome public participation in the democratic process; he should not insult those who challenge his opinions as by doing so, he is undermining the integrity of the process......
Read Dr Muriel Newman's full NZCPR newsletter (5/12/10) HERE