Claims on historical human rights wrongs: The Ngai Tahu Settlement - South Island of New Zealand, Britain has faced suits and calls for compensation from Hindraf Malaysia, India and now Jamaica

Editor's note: I've been interested in several news headlines on historical human rights issues. Colonial era issues are hitting news headlines as some see past damage reverberating into the modern day.

4 October 2015: The Ngai Tahu Settlement - South Island of New Zealand

Editor's note: Thanks to a Kiwi friend pointing this one out!

When seven high-ranking southern chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, it was seen as a convenient arrangement between equals. By 1849 when the Crown began defaulting on the terms of a series of ten major land purchases dating from 1844, earlier suspicions of the Crown’s good faith by some of the Ngāi Tahu chiefs were confirmed, and the Ngāi Tahu Claim ‘Te Kerēme’ was born. The Crown undertook to set aside adequate reserves to have been approximately 10% of the 34.5 million acres sold – but this was never done.There were also disputes over boundaries, and the Crown’s failure to establish schools and hospitals, as promised. In addition, the tribe lost its access to its mahinga kai, or food gathering resources, and other sacred places such as urupa. Ngāi Tahu made its first claim against the Crown for breach of contract in 1849.....Robbed of the opportunity to participate in the land-based economy alongside the settlers, Ngāi Tahu became an impoverished and virtually landless tribe. Its full claim involved some 3.4 million acres of lost land, one-tenth of the Ngāi Tahu land total sold to the Crown.....When Ngāi Tahu first took its case to the courts, in 1868, the government passed laws to prevent the Courts from hearing or ruling on the case. A Commission of Inquiry a decade later – the Smith-Nairn Commission, had its funding halted by a new Government and went into recess without delivering any findings despite positive progress reports.....By the time of the findings on the Ngāi Tahu land claim by the Waitangi Tribunal in 1991, at least a dozen different commissions, inquiries, courts and tribunals had repeatedly established the veracity and justice of the Ngāi Tahu claim..... “The Tribunal cannot avoid the conclusion that in acquiring from Ngāi Tahu 34.5 million acres, more than half the land mass of New Zealand, for £14,750 pounds, and leaving them with only 35,757 acres, the Crown acted unconscionably and in repeated breach of the Treaty of Waitaingi”......“As a consequence, Ngāi Tahu has suffered grave injustices over more than 140 years. The tribe is clearly entitled to very substantial redress from the Crown”....Ngāi Tahu did not suffer openly declared raupatu or confiscations, as happened in the north. However, the Crown’s action in taking land and refusing to meet it’s contract obligation to allocate one-tenth to the iwi, deprived five generations of the tribe of virtually all the land and resources required to survive at anything other than subsistence level. By the early 1900s, fewer than 2,000 Ngāi Tahu remained alive in their own land.....Following the intervention of the then Prime Minister, Mr Jim Bolger, negotiations were resumed in 1996. They led to the signing of the non-binding Heads of Agreement on the 5th of October 1996, then the signing of the Deed of Settlement at Kaikōura on the 21st November 1997, and the passage of the Ngāi Tahu Claim Settlement Act on the 29th September 1998... Ngāi Tahu received cultural redress in the form of confirmation of the ability for Ngāi Tahu to express its traditional kaitiaki relationship with the environment, tribal redress, an apology from the Crown, acknowledgement of the role of our taonga Aoraki and economic redress in the form of a payment of $170 million plus the ability to purchase property from the Crown. .... This financial acknowledgement has allowed the tribe to establish itself as an economic powerhouse within the South Island. Today, Ngāi Tahu has interests in fishing, tourism, property as well as a diversified equities portfolio, all of which are managed through Ngāi Tahu Holdings Ltd..... This financial security enables the tribe to deliver social benefits back to iwi members through The Office of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu..... To enroll as a beneficiary of Ngāi Tahu iwi members must be able to whakapapa – or trace ancestry back to the official census list of all Ngāi Tahu living in 1848 – the so-called ‘Blue Book.’ This valuable resource has enabled many people to verify their roots, and has provided a model for other tribes. Today Ngāi Tahu can be found living in every corner of the globe although the majority of Ngāi Tahu choose to live in New Zealand.

30 September 2015: Britain has faced suits and calls for compensation from Hindraf Malaysia, India and now Jamaica


Jamaica calls for Britain to pay billions of pounds in reparations for slavery - Downing Street says David Cameron does not believe compensation is the right approach ahead of his first official visit to Jamaica by Rowena Mason in New York Tuesday 29 September 2015 00.01 BST


Narendra Modi endorses Britain paying damages to India for colonial rule - Indian prime minister praises opposition MP Shashi Tharoor’s call for UK to pay compensation for centuries of economic destruction by Jason Burke in Delhi Friday 24 July 2015 09.17 BST


Hindraf’s class action suit struck out by FMT Reporters  | April 2, 2015  But European Human Rights Convention may still offer recourse, says judge...

Hindraf’s suit against UK all about current racism by P Waythamoorthy     Published 25 Mar 2015, 3:32 pm     Updated 25 Mar 2015, 3:34 pm; Hindraf’s civil action at the Royal Court of Justice London to be heard on the March 30, 2015 is about the role played by Britain in seeding the current polarised and imbalanced situation both on entrenched racism and Islamisation of Malaysia after 58 years of independence.   Hindraf wishes to reiterate that the suit would no doubt be beneficial to all Malaysians who seek human rights and equality. The suit is filed on behalf of the Indian Malaysians to overcome various legal hurdles in the unprecedented case which is likely to expand the law beyond the current narrow interpretations of the law of tort and international laws. Hindraf would seek to prove that Britain owed a duty of care to Indian Malayans in 1957 as the Indians from the plantations then were of the third and fourth generations and thus were citizens of the UK and Colonies by virtue of the British Nationalit  Act 1948. The civil suit, backed up by thousands of pages of documentary evidence obtained from declassified documents in  London, would substitute oral evidence needed to prove the case. Hindraf would prove that the constitution granted and approved by the British cabinet and Parliament did not meet the minimum standard required of a constitution... Read more:,

The Hindraf lawsuit in London on March 30, Latest update (2 April 2015):... 3. Waytha, who is representing the claimants (descendants of indentured Indian labour), says that the British Nationality Act 1948 meant that the third and fourth generation of Indian plantation workers in Malaya were citizens in a UK colony as India had been under British rule. By virtue of these rubber tappers being citizens of a British colony, Britain owed a duty of care to them and the other Indian workers imported into Malaya by the colonial masters. The Hindraf class action suit calls to account the British government for its role in the marginalized socio-economic status of the Indian community today as a result of racial discrimination....

India goes after offshore riches?

Year ago, I spent quite some time in market research for private banks in Singapore. Since then, things have shifted with Switzerland opening up i.e. working with countries seeking information on tax evading money and more held there. There have also been some tax increases on the wealthy. As a result, some shifted their residency / nationality to minimize their tax and estate tax situation. Other tax bolt holes cum private banking centers benefited, but it's expected that they will also be targeted by authorities in the big economies like US, Germany, India and more. What's also interesting is the role of whistle-blowers in the age of technology. At a corporate level, there are also moves by large countries to force change on corporate tax havens such as Ireland. More to come on all this, I guess?

Indian government vows to go after 'black money' stashed in Swiss bank accounts - Prime Minister Narendra Modi to crack down on countless millions of pounds in untaxed transactions by ANDREW BUNCOMBE  Thursday 23 October 2014; "The Indian authorities are trying to recover untold sums of “black money” believed to be stashed away in illicit bank accounts in Switzerland and elsewhere. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has said it will imminently publish a list of names of people holding such accounts.... This week, Mr Modi’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley raised the stakes higher by saying the government would place the names before the country’s Supreme Court when it reconvenes next week. The court is overseeing its own inquiry into untaxed funds... He appeared to suggest a number of high-profile members of the opposition Congress Party would be included in the list, said to stretch to 136 names. It has been reported that the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Robert Vadra, may be among those being investigated... Earlier this month, in what was seen as a major breakthrough, the Swiss authorities said they would assist Delhi in its investigation. Switzerland, famous for its banking secrecy and discretion, has for years refused such an arrangement, was concerned that it would damage its reputation.... Switzerland has also raised issues about the way the Indian authorities have obtained the names on the so-called “HSBC list”, saying some of the information may have been stolen by former employees...."

Eye on Modi's new India (update 3)

Following on Modi's great win in the India elections, I'm keeping a loose eye on what changes he's bringing to India, which has for decades been dominated by Nehru-Gandhi-Congress Party. Modi is expected to bring in some Gujarat business sense to things although he's been criticized on ethno-religious matters. He was apparently well funded by businessmen and rolled out a slick US presidential-style campaign plastering India with his posters.

19 June on price inflation controls

Nomura 19 June 2014, First Insights - India: Government takes proactive measures to keep food inflation in check,  Sonal Varma; Aman Mohunta; "Given the initial signs of food price increases from expectations of a below normal monsoon, the government yesterday announced the following measures to curb food price inflation (see India: Met department lowers it monsoon forecast, 9 May 2014):  Onions (~0.54% weighting in the CPI basket): The government has imposed a minimum export price (MEP) of USD300 per metric ton (MT) on onions to discourage exports and increase domestic availability. The state government of Delhi has been asked to supply onions through the government's retail outlets. A similar increase in the MEP was announced last year, although it failed to have a significant impact. However, a more proactive increase in the MEP could be more effective in controlling prices..."

14 June 2014 on new aircraft carrier:

Sea change: Prime Minister dedicates India's largest aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya to the service of the nation By Rahul Kanwal Published: 23:44 GMT, 14 June 2014; "By choosing to come on-board the INS Vikramaditya in his first trip outside Delhi after taking the oath of office, Modi sent a message to sailors present on the ship and the world that was watching that military matters would be given top priority by his government....Why should we import defence equipment? We must be self-sufficient. Why can't we send our defence equipment to other nations?"  For officers and sailors used to the armed forces being neglected by the previous UPA government, PM Modi was a refreshing change.  Not only did he present a crisp salute during the Steam Past presented by the 11 ships of the Western Fleet of the Navy, he also reached out to the sailors and promised to make maritime security a national priority. Modi said, "Hum kisiko naa aankh dikhaayenge, naa aankh jhukaayenge, duniya se aankh milaa ke baat karenge (We will not try to intimidate other nations, neither will we bow before others, from now we will look every country straight in the eye and talk)." The PM linked economic progress to maritime security..." Read more:

Nomura research for 3 June 2014 :

First Insights - India: 100-day agenda and Modi’s top 10
100 day agenda
 Yesterday, Prime Minister Modi asked his ministers to come up with a 100-day plan, the following topics discussed as potential areas of reforms:
‪- Banking Holding Corporation: The finance ministry is mulling over a proposal to create an autonomous holding company for government stakes in various public sector banks (PSBs), and then to use that to raise fresh capital for the PSBs. As this is in line with the Nayak Committee’s (set up by the RBI) recommendations – to set up an investment company to hold the PSB stakes and to reduce government control of day-to-day operations – this should find favour with the RBI and likely made a priority, in our opnion.
‪‪- 100% FDI in defense: The ministry of commerce is proposing the removal of FDI limits to fund defense, in line with the BJP’s priority of indigenisation of defense production. With Arun Jaitley holding both the finance and defense portfolio, this is another potential reform that could be announced soon.

Nomura's research highlights for 27 May 2014 include:

First Insights - India: Modi details “minimum government, maximum governance” philosophy
Sonal Varma; Aman Mohunta; Last evening, Mr. Narendra Modi’s secretariat issued a statement from the Gujarat Bhawan on Mr. Modi’s views around “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance”. Key takeaways: Several smaller ministries will be consolidated into larger ministries for improved efficiency and coordination between departments. For example, as we highlighted in our previous note, the ministries of power, coal, petroleum & natural gas and non-renewable energy could be merged into a single ministry of energy. Similar consolidation is likely among the various transportation ministries.

Asia Insights - India: Modi’s lean team
Sonal Varma; Aman Mohunta; Narendra Modi and his team of ministers took oath in a ceremony attended by heads of the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) nations. Key takeaways:
- A smaller team: Mr. Modi has cut the size of the council of ministers to 45 (23 cabinet ranked ministers, 10 independent ministers of state and 12 ministers of state) from more than 70 in the UPA II government.
 - Restructuring and consolidation: Several smaller ministries have likely been consolidated under the umbrella of a larger ministry with the aim of ensuring better co-ordination and efficiency. For instance, Piyush Goyal is likely to be in charge of coal and power, given the need for the two sectors to move in tandem. A lean cabinet will also mean greater accountability.