November 2014

What next for Te Urewera?
A DECISION to stop row boat hire at Lake Waikareiti has left many wondering what is next for the Lake Waikaremoana/ Te Urewera area.

The hire of row boats for use on Lake Waikareiti in Te Urewera has been stopped following a Department of Conservation review of a recent search and rescue operation involving the boats.

This follows a decision in October to halt hunting at Lake Waikaremoana.

In July, the Urewera area went under the control of a new legal entity following a Treaty of Waitangi settlement with the Tuhoe tribe.

It is now governed by a board of Ngai Tuhoe and Crown appointees.

Board chairman Tamati Kruger said in October all current hunting permits were on hold and no new ones would be approved while it considered changes to how permission was given......

Challenging low Māori representation in local government
Māori Party Co-leader Marama Fox has questioned the Minister of Local Government about what initiatives are underway to increase tangata whenua (indigenous) representation on local and district councils.

“The questions were prompted by the courageous challenge set down by the New Plymouth District Council Mayor Andrew Judd for the government to consider changing the law to allow for 50-50 representation between Māori and non-Māori on local authorities to reflect the Treaty of Waitangi partnership

Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says the current legal provisions for creating Māori representation in local government are inadequate and difficult to secure.

The Māori Party has consistently argued for stronger mechanisms to achieve Māori representation as the absolute minimum in terms of meeting Treaty of Waitangi obligations.

Mr Judd’s call for 50-50 representation in local government came on the back of the recent Waitangi Tribunal report that recognised Māori and the Crown signed the agreement as equals......

Iwi leaders give money for Rena fight
The Iwi Chairs Forum has donated $2000 to a Motiti Island hapu which is fighting to have the wreck of the Rena removed from their reef.

The owners of the container ship, which crashed into the Otaiti reef (also known as Astrolabe reef) off Tauranga three years ago, have applied for resource consent to leave it where it is.

The case for and against the removal of the wreck is expected to be heard by the Environment Court next year.

Ngapuhi leader and Iwi Chairs Forum spokesperson Sonny Tau said the group wanted to help the hapu get legal advice before the court hearing........

Maori wards plan going to public ballot
Far North voters will have a chance early next year to decide whether the district should have Maori wards in future council elections.

The non-binding postal ballot will take place in February and March and seek a simple yes or no response. Holding the poll will cost about $65,000.

If a majority backs the idea of designated Maori seats at the council table, they could be introduced in time for the 2016 local government elections.

By law the Far North District Council has to carry out a review of its electoral boundaries and representation system later next year. If the yes vote wins, the number of Maori wards and seats could be decided as part of that review.

Mayor John Carter said neither he nor the council had a position on dedicated Maori seats, so they wanted some direction from the community.

If the proposal was rejected the council would have to look at other ways to meet its commitment to better engage with Maori, who made up close to half of the Far North’s population.

Other options included setting up advisory boards or appointing Maori to standing committees, but the council wanted to canvas the electoral option first.......
Little backs council Maori seat push
Labour leader Andrew Little is backing the creation of a Maori seat on the New Plymouth District Council.

The council voted narrowly for a Maori ward at the next election, and it's now waiting to see if a petition against the plan can get enough signatures to force a referendum.

Mr Little, who stood for New Plymouth at the election, says mayor Andrew Judd has taken a courageous stand, and he has backed him publicly and privately....

Iti wants more debate on anti-terror bill

Ngai Tuhoe kaumatua Tame Iti says the Government has not allowed the public to understand new anti-terror laws.

If passed, the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill would allow the Security Intelligence Service to carry out surveillance without a warrant for 48 hours and extend possible passport cancellations.

The bill passed has passed its first reading and public submissions, which only opened yesterday, closed today.

Mr Iti was arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison for possessing firearms and a Molotov cocktail at the time of police raids in Te Urewera in 2007.

He believed the nation needed more time to debate the issues and respond to what had been set out in the bill and said from personal experience, it was not a nice feeling to be spied on.

Urs Signer, who was also arrested and sentenced to home detention on firearms charges, believed the provisions in the bill would be used against community activists like himself who want a free and peaceful society.....

Maori 'dictated to' through home loan
A trustee building houses for whanau says a home loan aimed at Maori is prescriptive, conservative and dictatorial.

The Kainga Whenua loans is a government initiative designed to give tangata whenua a chance of financing a build on multiple-owned Maori land by borrowing up to $200,000 from Kiwibank.

But the latest annual figures from Housing New Zealand show only 11 loans were approved.

Paul Sheeran of Aorangi Maori Trust Board - who is leading a project to build eight homes on customary land in Hastings - said the scheme was the only option his people have.

"It's very prescriptive process, like any bank lending process - but this is the only lending product out there for Maori land in the mainstream.

"We're really dictated to in terms of where we can go to help our whanau enter onto the home ownership ladder on Maori freehold land."....

Maori could be target of spy bill

The Maori Party has voted to introduce a bill giving more powers to the country's spy agencies, even though it fears the powers may end up being used against Maori activists.

The Countering Terrorism Fighters Legislation Bill will allow the Security Intelligence Service to spy on private properties without a warrant for up to 48 hours.

MP Marama Fox says the Maori Party does not want a repeat of Operation Eight, where police and security agencies spied on Maori activists in Te Urewera and then arrested them for terrorism.

It’s also concerned the legislation could render a person stateless by cancelling their passport.....

Peters rejects "white man's burden" on councils
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd is away with the fairies with his call for a 50-50 split between Maori and general representatives on councils.

Mr Judd is hoping voters won't force a referendum against his plan to create a Maori ward for the next local government election, and he has upped the ante by arguing that a reasonable interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi is fifty-fifty representation around the table at every council.

Mr Peters says his own caucus has included MPs from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds - including Maori who have been mayors and councillors - but ethnicity is never a factor in their selection.

"We've had people with Maori representation at local level. We don't need special people, with the greatest respect to the latter day white man's burden from New Plymouth, thank you very much but this is not the way for the country to go," he says..

Mr Peters says the model created by ACT's Rodney Hide and National of unelected members from the Independent Maori Statutory Board sitting on the Auckland Council set a bad precedent that now seems to be spreading.

Ngapuhi called to debate over Treaty mandate
Ngapuhi are being summoned to debate who has the mandate to negotiate the country's largest iwi's long-awaited Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

The Government says it recognises the mandate given to Tuhoronuku by 76.4 per cent of tribal members in 2011.

However, the issue is further splitting an already divided Ngapuhi, says kaumatua Kingi Taurua, who is inviting hapu to debate the issue at Te Tii Marae, Waitangi, on Saturday.....

Uni programme fostering Maori values
A kaupapa Maori programme is helping students to excel in their research.

Te Koronga is part of the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise at the University of Otago and started about 18 months ago to incorporate Maori values into learning.

She said when she completed her PhD, she knew how valuable Maori research was for communities and decided to put Te Koronga in place.....

Iwi fail in reo support test
A Maori language advocacy group has slammed the iwi who stand to become to overseers of Maori language strategy under a bill before parliament.

Te Reo Maori Bill will set up an iwi-dominated group, Te Matawai, which will set strategy and appoint directors to agencies like the Maori Langauge Commission, broadcast fundign agency Te Mangai Paho and Maori Television.

Umere told the Maori Affairs Select Committee its assessment of iwi corporate is they have failed to stand up for te reo.....

Mayor's treaty interpretation "dangerous"
Responding to the Fairfax article that New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd wants the law to be changed to make all local councils have 50% Maori representation, Democracy Action founder, Lee Short, says:

“The Mayor’s interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi, that Maori should comprise 50% of all representatives is dangerous for New Zealand and all people who call this country home.”

“If 50% of all representatives are required to be Maori, then based on Mr Judd’s interpretation of the Treaty, surely it must follow that he wants the remainder to be made up exclusively of descendants of the other signatory, namely the British Crown.”

“New Zealand prides itself as a nation where merit, dedication and hard work allows people to reach their potential – not someone’s ancestry.”

“Mr Judd is seeking is a very dangerous path for New Zealand. Race-based representation leads to mistrust and damages democracy in the most fundamental way. Dividing New Zealanders according to race fosters a “them versus us” attitude, creating ill-will and disharmony.”

Little standing up for treaty deal
Labour's new leader says the Crown is only now learning how to stick with the deal it made when it signed the Treaty of Waitangi.

Andrew Little says he's looking forward to reading the Waitangi Tribunal report on stage one of Te Paparahi o Te Raki claims, which found that northern rangatira did not consider they were signing away their authority when they signed the treaty in 1840.

Prime Minister John Key and the Treaty Negotiations Minister have said the report changes nothing and the crown still has sovereignty.

But Mr Little told Radio Waatea host Willie Jackson he's keen to consider the implications for New Zealand's constitutional arrangments.....

Mayor calls for half Maori councils
New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd has taken his fight for Maori representation a step further, calling for a law change so up to half of all councillors in New Zealand are Maori....

Cultural concerns may change ashes bylaw (19/11/14)