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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, June 11, 2007

Mangai Paho sticks to fundamentalist line

The head of the Maori broadcast funding agency says it won't be backing Maori shows in English any time soon.

Te Mangai Paho has come under fire over the years for only funding programmes in te reo Maori, despite the fact Maori focused programmes in English attract larger Maori audiences.

Sam Bishara says that's the way the agency interprets its mandate, and it wants more programmes in the reo.

“I think New Zealand is ready for higher-content Maori language programmes and I wouldn’t like to go backwards I also believe that mainstream resources could adequately pick up that other piece,” Mr Bishara says.

He says New Zealand on Air and Television New Zealand should be spending their money on Maori focused programmes.

AQUACULTURE PACKAGE TOO MUCH RHETORIC

The Maori Party wants less talk and more action from the Minister of Fisheries.

Co-leader Tariana Turia says Jim Anderton's latest five point plan for aquaculture is long on telling Maori what to do, but short on action where it is needed - at the local government level, where the decisions are made on what areas are to be made available for marine farming.

She says the minister is blaming Maori for lack of progress, when the solution is out of their hands.

“It's one thing to say we haven’t brought Maori people along as the economy has developed. It’s anther thing to actually, physically, do something about it. He has a lot of rhetoric but we don’t see the action that goes along with it,” Mrs Turia says.

She's skeptical that much will come out of the appointment of a Maori relationships manager, who is supposed to liaise between district councils and iwi wanting to invest in marine farming.

MAORI PLANT CONSENT SOUGHT FOR 35 YEARS

Wellington City Council is finally responding to long-standing Maori concern about overflows from its Moa Point sewage treatment plant.

The council is applying for new resource consents to run the plant on the city's south coast for another 35 years.

Councillor Ray Ahipene Mercer, who lives nearby, says it has taken into account the views of Ngati Toa and the Wellington Tenths Trust that pumping human sewage into Cook Strait defiles the mauri and mana of the sea and prevents gathering of kaimoana.

He says such discharges are not normal, but they happen too often.

“We've got a really good sewage treatment plant here, the best in New Zealand, but the amount of water hitting it sometimes form the excessive rainfall and from the climactic conditions we’ve experienced like last winter, we were getting overflows that the plant can't deal with,” Mr Mercer says.

Wellington is looking at options including ultra violet treatment, or storing overflows for treatment later.

AGENT ORANGE CLAIM SHOULD BENEFIT ALL VETERANS

A treaty claim for compensation for Vietnam veterans exposed to agent orange will benefit Maori and non Maori.

That's the word from Tom Poata, the spokesperson for claimant Whakahuihui Vercoe.

Bishop Vercoe was padre to New Zealand troops in Vietnam in the 1960s.

Rev Poata says the Waitangi Tribunal claim is an attempt to address intergenerational illnesses and psychological and emotional problems linked to exposure to the defoliant.

He says many Maori veterans haven't known where to go to get help.

“Both groups of servicemen, Maori and Pakeha, will in some way benefit from the outcomes of this claim. Because he’s made it quite clear in the past that he makes no distinction between those boys that he served with as padre, because they were all New Zealanders. But he still has an affinity now for the Maori servicemen, because it seems now that potentially Maori servicemen have been treated perhaps a little worse,” Rev Poata says.

While Australia and the United States list 14 illnesses as qualifying for Agent- Orange-related compensation, New Zealand only acknowledges five.

HOUSING MANUAL COULD SAVE LAND GRIEF

John Tamihere says a simple how-to manual would save a lot of grief for Maori building on family land.

The former Labour MP is backing Associate Housing Minister Dover Samuels' call for changes to Maori land law.

He says the requirement to win consent from 75 percent of owners before building on multiply-owned land, and the obstacles put up by local government, can be a nightmare for Maori keen to return to their traditional whenua.

Mr Tamihere says it could be made a lot easier.

“Not enough resource goes into putting in place systems and methodologies like a very simple compliance schedule or manual. I think one of the biggest problems we’ve got is just putting together a toolkit which is easily usable and it stops us having to go to high powered, high paid experts all the time,” Mr Tamihere says.

ROTORUA AIRPORT RUNWAY PLAN DEFENDED

A Rotorua District Councilor says extending the city's airport is in the wider interests of the community.

Ngati Uenukukopako is challenging the runway extension in the Environment Court, because it will have to move a marae and a kohanga reo.

Maureen Waaka says Maori on the council have sympathy for the hapu, but they must act in the interests of the whole community.

“You can't always vote for a few people who have an opinion, and you will get ones who are feeling betrayed expressing their point of view. What I’ve done is try to double check that the process has been as open as possible to allow everyone to have their say,” Ms Waaka says.

The consultation on the airport extension was more than adequate.

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