Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Burton defends treaty negotiators

The Treaty Negotiations Minister says criticism of settlements is an insult to iwi negotiators.

The Waitangi Tribunal has identified what it says are flaws in the way proposed settlements were reached with Ngati Whatua o Orakei and Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa.

Opposition parties have seized on the reports, calling for the settlement process to be overhauled.

But Mark Burton says the critics ignore the enormous amount of progress that has been made, and the years of work that go into each settlement.

“In a sense it's insulting to those who have done that work to somehow look back and try and say they didn’t get it right. Who is anyone else to say to a mandated negotiator or group of negotiators who have earned the mandate of their people, who’ve gone backl and had the endorsement of a decision of their people, who is it for someone else to day ‘no, you've got it wrong,’” Mr Burton says.

The Government is studying the Waitangi Tribunal reports for ways the process can be improved, but he believes many of the criticisms in them are not well founded.

ENVIRONMENT BOP FUNDS CLEAN UP

Bay of Plenty Maori are taking advantage of a regional council fund to clean up local sites.

Administrator Sandy Hohepa says the council's environmental enhancement fund has $450,000 a year for community groups.

Recent projects have included cleaning up a reserve named after Kawerau's first Maori councilor, Monika Lanham, and a plan by Taneatua Primary School to help revegetate Otarahio hill.

“They're going to try and revegetate that whole hill and replant it and I went out for their first session and I was quite amazed at home much these little kids from the Taneatua school had done in two hours,” Ms Hohepa says.

Applications for Environment Bay of Plenty's environmental enhancement fund open next week.

BUSINESS ADVICE ON THE SYLLABUS

Maori secondary school students are being invited to try their hand at business consulting.

Waikato University's School of Management is asking the Year 12 and 13 students to producing case studies and recommendations for real businesses.

Organiser Duke Boon says 25 schools from four regions have signed on to the Nona Te Ao Rangatahi Competition.

Competitors are mentored by senior management students at Waikato University, and they're chasing cash prizes of 25 hundred dollars for the best advice.

“Telling the businesses this is what the theory says about you, and this is what we think could help you improve for your future ambitions. We are offering a few scholarships as an incentive for the students to take part. But what I’m really happy about is that the prize is secondary to them learning more about business, and that’s encouraging for us to see,” Mr Boon says.

The competitors will gather in Hamilton in August to give 10-minute presentations on their research.

TREATY BUDGET SWAP QUERIED

The National Party wants to know why a treaty information project is being funded out of the Maori affairs budget.

MP Georgina te Heuheu says that money should be spent on Maori development and addressing negative statistics, rather than teaching history to Pakeha.

She says the budget allocation shows a worrying shift in the way the government sees the treaty roadshow.

“The Treaty 2 U programme, which the National OpposItion had doubts about anyway when they rolled it out three or four years ago, $6 million under the State Services Commission, and now it’s come under Parekura Horomia’s responsibility. It’s a bit difficult to understand that,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

DATES SET FOR NEXT TE ARAWA HEARING

The pressure will stay on the government over its proposed Te Arawa land settlement.

The Waitangi Tribunal is to hold a three-day hearing on the settlement at Tamatekapua Marae in Rotorua next week.

The hearing will cover issues around the use of forestry assets in the settlement, which is with the Nga Kaihautu group which represents about half the iwi in the Te Arawa confederation.

The tribunal has already reported on mandate issues, but held off on forestry to avoid a conflict with action being taken in the High Court by other groups.

MAORI MEDIAN INCOMES SIGNFICANTLY BELOW PAKEHA

Maori are earning almost 20 percent less a year less than their Pakeha neighbours.

That's the finding from personal income data from the 2006 Census.

The median income on Census night was $24,400, a jump of $6000 from 2001.

While the median for Europeans was $25,400, for Maori it was $20,900.

That was only $400 more than the figure for Pacific people, but higher than for Asian, Middle East, Latin American and African people.

The highest median incomes were found in Wellington, Auckland and Waikato, while Gisborne and Northland, where there are large Maori populations, had some of the lowest income leves.

WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAMME IN ROTORUA

Many women in Rotorua are stepping more lightly this month.

They've been losing weight for the Te Arawa sports foundation's 12 week Wahine Challenge.

The big weigh off is next Monday, with the wahine who drops the most kilos taking home a cheque for $2500.

Organiser Laurie Watts says the challenge was instigated by women in the community wanting help with their health.

The foundation, Te Papa Takaro o Te Arawa, held weekly hui which included advice on shopping, food labels and nutrition.

Mrs Watts says the challenge is helping the whole whanau.

“If they look after themselves, obnvioulsy they are going to be a little more cautious looking after their own whanau. Being able to show them healthy lifestyle options. For example one of the mothers on the programme lost some weight, and her five year old son also lost four kgs,” Mrs Watts says.

Te Papa Takaro is now considering a men's challenge.

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