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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Development putea could top $750m

rown Forestry Rental trust chairperson Sir Graham Latimer says there could be up to three quarters of a billion dollars in a fund for Maori development when forestry claims are settled.

The Finance Minister, Michael Cullen, yesterday told Parliament's finance and expenditure select committee that any money left over would be used for Maori purposes, rather than going back into the government's coffers.

The money is accumulated rentals of Crown forest lands, which build up until ownership of the land is decided.

Sir Graham says with political will the main claims, such as those to Kaingaroa and other central North Island forests, could be settled within the next five years.

He says the challenge now for Maori is to decide how it wants such a development fund to work, and who shall administer it.

LABOUR MAORI SPLIT ON COCKTAIL TIME

Labour's Maori caucus has split on whether the drinking age should be raised from 18 to 20.

Dover Samuels, Nanaia Mahuta and Shane Jones voted for the change, while the rest of Labour's Maori MPs joined the majority in blocking the Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill from proceeding.

Te Tai Tonga MP Mahara Okeroa says he voted against the bill because he belives the key to responsible drinking is changing the attitudes of young people.

Mr Okeroa last night voted to keep the drinking age at 18 although some of Labour's Maori caucus voted to raise it to 20.

He says upping the legal drinking age to 20 would have achieved nothing:

“How do we resolve an attitude? Well it’s like drunk driving I suppose of smoking, kai paipa. It takes a while. It’s part of the fabric of our society. Skipping it up to 20, that’s not going to stop the 18 year olds or anyone else. A lot of the raruraru among young people, it's not the majority of them,” Okeroa says.

TXT SHRTCT GTS THMBS DWN FM TCHR

A Maori educationalist says a decision by the Qualifications Authority to allow txt language abbreviations in exam answers is unacceptable.

Massey Institute of Technology Maori studies head Wiremu Doherty, a former kura kaupapa principal, says it makes a mockery of the standards teachers set for their pupils.

Mr Doherty says Maori immersion students need to be encouraged to reach the same level of excellence in te reo Maori as English.

“If we look the analogy of our grandparents, whose Maori was impeccable, and whose English was also impeccable, and it’s that notion that your second language will only be as good as your first language it, it will never exceed it. So we need to be sure if we want our kura kaupapa kids to excel in both languages, they need a very good foundation in the both languages,” Doherty says.

WHANGANUI WANTS SAY ON PARK MANAGEMENT

Whanganui Maori want a greater role in the management of Whanganui National Park.

The Whanganui River Maori Trust Board made its case at hearings on the park's draft management plan this week.

Environment manager Jarrod Albert says the board is challenging a perception that Maori aren't capable of managing natural resources.

“That's scaremongering that DoC uses and various other government ministries use to people off the idea that Maori should be managing things like national parks. In fact we’ve said we can probably do a better job because we can put people on the ground to do it, while they will look at aerial application of 1080,” Albert says.

TURIA SAYS GENETIC WEAKNESS CAUSE FOR VOTE

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says a Maori genetic weakness for alcohol was one of the reasons she supported raising the drinking age to 20.

All four of the party's MP's voted for the Sale of Liquor Amendment Bill, which was defeated by 72 to 49 last night.

Mrs Turia says Maori problems with alcohol are no secret

“It's shown in the fact that many of our people who have engaged in alcohol, that that is behind a lot of offending, it’s certainly behind a lot of the violence that is perpetrated in our families, so we couldn’t think of anything positive as to why we would vote for it,” Turia says.

MAORI CONSULTANCY BLOCKS MAORI VILLAGE

A proposal to build a Maori Village at Omaui in Southland has turned into a Maori versus Maori stand-off.

Te Ao Marama, an iwi liaison consultancy funded by the region's councils, has told Maori owned and operated company Whalers Bay it has no ancestral right to build the village.

Whalers Bay director Pera Davies says he has the support of the Awarua Runaka for the project.

Mr Davies says he owns the land and has gone out of his way to do the right thing:

“It's been cleared of any waahi tapu, it’s been cleared of any urupa, it’s probably the last piece of land in here for Maori toi be developed. Everyone else has been built and developed, but they’re really putting the screws on this one pieced of land, because I think of Te Ao Marama,” Davies says.

A decision is expected from the Invercargill City Council by November 21.

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