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Maungatautari - message from MEIT

Posted 9 years, 4 months ago    0 comments

This has come from the MEIT today - 

Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust needs your support right now!

You may be aware that a small group of disaffected landowners with a direct involvement in the Maungatautari project - have called a public meeting in Cambridge this Tuesday night.

Their intention is to try and derail all of the work that has gone on in recent times to provide the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust (MEIT) with a best practice representation/governance structure that will enable the original vision to be achieved.

The organisers of the meeting are entitled to their views but we don’t think it will achieve anything positive for MEIT to attend.
Whether you attend the meeting or not is your call, but to provide some balance we have attached some FAQs and other material that helps put the whole issue in perspective.

What will help tremendously is to have an indication of your support for MEIT – either by “liking” our Facebook pagehttp://www.facebook.com/SavingMaungatautari or providing positive support for MEIT by posting your support for MEIT onhttp://www.facebook.com/savemaungatautari and encouraging your family and friends to do the same.
There are some exciting developments coming up that we look forward to sharing with you in the near future.

Kind regards
Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust


The facts behind the current debate over governance for Maungatautari Ecological Island

Q. How has the governance structure changed?

A. A two-tier structure has been developed to clearly separate representation from governance and bring greater future accountability for everyone associated with MEIT.

Under the current structure the Guardians retain the same representation as previously, with a three-way split - five landowners, five Iwi and five other (community) trustees.

Q. What level of support does the new two-tier governance structure have?

A. Of all the landowners less than 20 per cent are opposed to the new structure. All of the key funders (Waipa District Council, DoC, Environment Waikato) support it, as do the major corporate sponsors.

Q. Why did some Trustees get removed or resign?

Because the original Trust deed required 100% support for any constitutional changes (unlike the 75% generally considered the norm,) three Trustees were able to block any changes at all. This became unworkable.

(There is a parallel here in recent changes to jury trials. It used to be that ALL members of a jury had to agree before someone could be found guilty. Now only 10 or 11 jury members have to agree to convict. This change removed the ability of a single juror to dictate to a majority and potentially bring about a miscarriage of justice).

Q. Doesn’t MEIT have contracts and easements that guarantee their position?

A. Sadly, in all the enthusiasm to get the project off the ground, important legal and contractual issues were put into the too hard basket. MEIT would thank the land owners for bringing this issue to the table.

Q. What about the things that the Save Maungatautari campaign is alleging: i.e. it is a Maori land grab; that public access will be removed once the Treaty settlement is signed; that access to water will be affected etc, etc.

A. Those claims are untrue. There has been a known Waitangi Treaty settlement claim on Maungatautari well before the birth of MEIT and this was acknowledged in the original trust deed. Trust support was reconfirmed as recently as 2008 with a unanimous resolution.

It’s also worth noting that no private property, Maori or Pakeha, is involved in the Treaty claim and no private property rights will be affected by the claim

There is no doubt that the landowners fully share the vision of the Trust and the wider community: To remove forever, introduced mammalian pests and predators from Maungatautari, and restore to the forest a healthy diversity of indigenous plants and animals not seen in our lifetime.

Q. Are the disaffected landowners excluded from the project?

A. No. They have exactly the same rights as all adjoining landowners and are eligible to be nominated to the Guardians and appointed to the MEIT Executive.

Q. What happens now?

A. MEIT has offered to have an independent review of the processes used to change the governance structure. Continuous communication between all parties must be kept open, whilst MEIT continues to ensure their vision is adhered to.

Q Does Gareth Morgan have money in the project?

A. Not currently. Gareth Morgan had previously loaned MEIT $1 million to offset its bank overdraft until the bank approved the loan that the Trust now has.

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