What Don Brash plans to say at Waitangi

Don Brash plans to discuss economic challenges facing Ngāpuhi when he speaks at Waitangi on Tuesday.  

The former National Party leader and Hobson's Pledge spokesperson was invited to speak the day before Waitangi Day by organiser Reuben Taipari. 

"I saw him last night on Newshub and he seemed to be entirely reasonable," Mr Brash told The AM Show on Monday, adding that Mr Taipari has assured him he "won't leave the place in a coffin". 

Mr Brash hasn't always had a pleasant reception at Waitangi. He was left with mud on his face and suit as leader of the National Party in opposition when he attended 15 years ago. 

But Mr Brash says he appreciated the invitation to speak at this year's gathering, telling The AM Show he's been asked to address economic challenges facing Ngāpuhi, and how they should be dealing with poverty. 

Northland has been highlighted as one of the regions worst-hit by methamphetamine. A Salvation Army report last year cited someone in Whangarei saying the drug was easier to obtain than cannabis. 

While Mr Brash said there are various solutions to help the Northland iwi cope with poverty, he said treaty settlements are not among them. 

"It makes some prosperous, but ordinary Māori don't benefit."

He said he didn't agree with the Government's $100 million funding boost from the Provincial Growth Fund, calling it "race-based funding". 

"I don't think it's a good move of taxpayer money. The one thing the Treaty of Waitangi made abundantly clear is all New Zealanders should have the same rights - Article 3 is unambiguous on that point.

"We should be in a situation where every citizen, no matter when their ancestors came to New Zealand, should have the same political, democratic rights."

Mr Brash admitted he didn't know what to expect going to Waitangi to speak. Last year he was banned from speaking at Massey University, so Auckland University took him instead and the auditorium was full and heated.  

But Mr Taipari has assured Mr Brash that he'll be given a forum "that's run under the principles and the protocols of our tikanga Māori to look after him as we would any guest and any speaker". 

Mr Brash said he's "going there to give a speech, but I'm also going there to listen".