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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Hone censured for venture into foreign Field

The Maori Party says Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira should not have commented on Labour's Taito Philip Fields problems.

Mr Harawira defended Mr Field on allegations that he took cash gifts from Samoan constituents, saying this was similar to the Maori practice of koha.

Speaking after today's Maori Party caucus, co-leader Tariana Turia says Mr Harawira's comments are regretted.

She says the party policy is that koha is receipted and recorded in the same way as any other income coming into the party.

Mrs Turia says Parliment itself needs to clarify its policies and procedures around gifts and donations...

PM SAYS FIELD UNDESIRABLE

Meanwhile, the prime minister is rejecting claims by Hone Harawira, that the Labour Party's treatment of Taito Phillip Field is racist.

Mr Harawira says the Mangere MP is being held to a different standard than colleagues David Benson Pope and David Parker.

Helen Clark says allegations made about Mr Benson-Pope were promptly sent to the police, who decided against taking action.

She says the investigation by Queens Counsel Noel Ingram cleared Mr Field conflict of interest as a minister, but it highlighted undesirable practices which the Labour Party can't condone.

“We cannot have any perception arise that people can go into an electorate office, put money on the table, and ask for something to be done. Now, in effect, what Hone Harawira seemed to be suggesting on the tv programme on Saturday morning was he thought that was OK. Well if he thinks that was OK, I’m stunned, because it isn't,” Clark said.

Helen Clark says Mr Harawira's statements seemed a case of mouth engaging before brain.

PARATENE PICKS UP EDINBURGH HONOUR

A play featuring Maori actor and writer Rawiri Paratene and a group of young Sri Lankan tsunami survivors has won the 'UNESCO Light of the Festival Award' for life changing theatre’ at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Finding Marina is loosely-based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and draws on the experience of former child soldiers in Sri Lanka's civil wars.

It was developed by Paratene, Bollywood choreographer Terence Lewis and other cast members.

Veteran filmmaker Don Selwyn says Paratene's commitment to theatre and the kaupapa of his piece will make its greatest mark on the child actors.

“It's a reflection of his commitment, his developing ability as a writer also, he’s making a contribution as a writer and engaging a lot of people from that area and particularly children, In the long run it’s going to have a big influence upon those kids,” Selwyn said.

TE TAOU CALLS TRIBUNAL INTO WHATUA ROW

The Waitangi Tribunal is considering stepping in to a row over the proposed settlement of central Auckland land claims.

It will hold a judicial conference this month to consider whether it should accept a claim by Kaipara iwi Te Taou challenging the agreement in principle which gives Ngati Whatua o Orakei $10 million and the right of first refusal over hundreds of millions of dollars of Crown properties in Auckland.

Tainui and Hauraki iwi have also challenged the settlement.

Te Taou spokesperson Lou Paul says by negotiating directly with Sir Hugh Kawharu and Ngati Whatua o Orakei, Treaty Negotiations Minister Pete Hodgson and the Office of Treaty Settlements are ignoring the histories of all other iwi who have claims to the isthmus.

“We've said to the minister how can you settle a grievance when you are creating a further grievance. It will never be a durable settlement under any means. Those are some of the issues we have raised with the minister, but he is not taking any notice presently,” Paul said.

The judicial conference on September 19 will consider whether to give Te Taou an urgent hearing on its claims.


TURIA TRIES TO TURN TABLES ON KOHA SCANDAL

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says all political parties need to come clean over political donations.

The Maori Party caucus today said it regretted statements Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira had made in defence of Labour's Philip Taito Field.

Mr Harawira admitted receiving cash koha from supporters and not issuing receipts - a practice similar to what Mr Field has been accused of.

Mrs Turia says the public is concerned people who donate money to political parties are expecting something in return, and all parties have issues to deal with.

“I don't think they’ve got any right to be defining koha or the policies around it, but certainly they need to be looking at the whole issue of gifting and how they receive money form corporate organisations and the union movements,” Turia said.

Tariana Turia says the Maori Party has a clear policy that cash donations and koha should be receipted and recorded in the same way as all other party income.

SUVEY ON MAORI LANGUAGE USE

Maori aren't using the Maori language skills that they have.

Te Puni Kokiri policy director Tipene Chrisp says a nationwide survey now under way will ask why people won't speak out in te reo.

A 2001 survey found 20 percent of Maori say they understand te reo Maori, but they don't speak it themselves.

Mr Chrisp says 'whakamaa' may be an issue.

“The other piece of research that we did showed that whakama was a major barrier for for those people, and I think the whole idea of ‘have a go’ is to try to get over that whakama barrier, because one of the ironies is the only way to get better with a language is to use it,” Chrisp said.

Tipene Chrisp says the survey team will interview 4000 Maori.

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