Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Protest efficacy proven again

Veteran activist Titewhai Harawira says the Government's back-down on the sale of two Landcorp farms should remind Maori that protest can still be effective.

State Owned Enterprises Minister Trevor Mallard yesterday said the sale of Rangiputa Station in the far north and Whenuakite on the Coromandel are on hold for the next month while the government reviews its policy around Landcorp's sales process.

Both blocks were occupied by Waitangi claimants.

Mrs Harawira says Maori had been sucked into a treaty settlement process which was weighted against them, and may have forgotten the value of direct action.

“It's the only way to go because in the end we’ve been offered peanuts with treaty settlements and that bulldozer called treaty settlements is in Ngapuhi at the moment, kidding our people conning our people, and right in the middle of it our people are saying no, we’re not buying into this,” Mrs Harawira says.


Meanwhile, Landcorp is trying to unwind the sale of a central North Island farm so it can offer the land back to Maori.

Chief executive Chris Kelly says the company is trying to resolve a dispute over the Taurewa Sheep Station near National Park, which has been occupied by members of a Tuwharetoa hapu for almost a year.

Mr Kelly went to Taurewa marae this week to tell claimants Landcorp has discovered the land was covered by the Public Works Act, so it had to be offered back to the original owners or their descendants.

“We will now initiate a process where we will attempt to find who the original owners were. Assuming we are successful in that we will offer the property back to those original owners’ descendants. If we are unable to reach an accord to who those descendants are it will go before the Maori land Court and eventually be offered to those people,” Mr Kelly says.

Parts of the land came into Crown hands as early as 1854.


The head of the Problem Gambling Foundation says gaming machines are sucking money out of Maori communities to support Pakeha interest groups.

John Stansfield says the extension of gambling is justified by the supposed community good done by the trusts which own the machines.

But he says that argument falls apart when the books are examined.

“Last year we went out to a tevern in Manurewa where $5.6 million was lost by mums n gambling machines, and $1.8 million came back in community grants, but not one cent of it came to Manurewa. It came to the people who play rugby in Otago and the people in Canterbury who own racehorses,” Mr Stansfield says.

The Problem Gambling Foundation is concerned treatment programmes for gambling addicts could be cut because the Gambling Commisison claims they aren't delivering value for money.


National MP Georgina te Heuheu says the Government's decision to suspend the sale of two Landcorp farms is clear proof it is mismanging the treaty settlement process

State Owned Enterprise Minister Trevor Mallard said the government wants to review whether Landcorp's sales process takes into account significant non-commercial values such as heritage or conservation.

Mrs te Heuheu, the party's Maori Affairs co-spokesperson, says the government is still trying to fudge the issue, which is about treaty settlements rather than conservation.

“This Government isn’t hands on in the treaty settlement process. The current minister isn’t. You’ve also go to be very passionate about the reasons for doing this, and you’ve basically got to have your eye on the ball, on every ball, and make sure you’re managing them well. That’s what this highlights, the Government is running basically a botched treaty process,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

Both Rangiputa in the Far North and Whenuakite near Whitianga are occupied by Waitangi claimants.


A Massey University economist says Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is wrong to single out immigration from predominantly white sources as a threat to Maori.

Mrs Turia has suggested encouraging immigration from places like the United Kingdom, Europe and Canada is the way the Government is combating the browning of New Zealand from higher Maori and Pacific Island birth rates.

But Greg Clydesdale, who is researching the effect of immigration on the economy, says immigration from all sources can adversely affect Maori.

Mr Clydesdale says immigration is justified by arguments about its benefits for economic growth which don't stack up.

“Ten percent of our immigrants come in on humanitarian grounds, 30 percent come in as families, so that’s 40 percent of immigrants with no skills at all to help the economy, or very few. In fact a lot of those people coming in with skills, if they are low skilled. They reduce Maoris’ position in the labour market because they compete with a lot of unskilled Maori,” Mr Clydesdale says.

He says the pressure immigration puts on housing prices makes it harder for Maori to move into home ownership.


A retired Ngati Porou teacher says schools need to make more use of family and community networks to combat issues like bullying.

Waiuku School near Auckland has been in turmoil after students protested the light punishment meted out to students who atacked one of their schoolmates with a bottle.

Hapi Potae says the Native schools he started his career in brought in the local Maori committee when it needed to resolve problems.

Mr Potae says schools work better if students feel part of an extended family.

“In our village, when there was a problem, every adult became the parent of that one child who was the problem. That’s all lost now,” Mr Potae says.


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