Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, July 09, 2007

Transmission route shock for claimants

South Waikato Maori are considering going back to the Waitangi Tribunal over Transpower's proposed transmission network upgrade.

Transpower has been given the green light to build more pylons from Whakamaru to Otahuhu.

Lawyer Willie Te Aho says the route cuts through ancestral land of several hapu and iwi, including his own Ngati Moekino.

They, along with Ngati Haa from Whakamaru and Ngati Koroki and Ngati Kahukura from Maungatautari, have already received a finding from the Waitangi Tribunal that as a state owned ennterprise, Transpower must honour the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

“What the tribunal also said was, by all means go through the Electricity Commission process, go through the Resource Management Act process, because those are specialist forums, but if the issues relating to the treaty and the treaty relationship are not properly addressed, then by all means come back to us for urgency or for a full hearing,” Mr Te Aho says.

PARAONE DEFENDS ANTI-JUDGE BILL

The sponsor of a bill to stop Maori Land Court judges serving on the Waitangi Tribunal is denying it is an attack on the judges.

Pita Paraone has come under fire from the Maori Party and from people familiar with the claim process for his Treaty of Waitangi (Removal of Conflict of Interest) Bill.

Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira says it's a bill he's expect from a bigot, a redneck, a racist, or an idiot rather than from one of his relatives.

Mr Paraone says that criticism hurts, as New Zealand First believes there is an inherent conflict of interest in the current situation.

“A lot of the claims are based on decisions made by the Maori Land Court representative of the Crown. People who are sitting on that jurisdiction now, sitting on the tribunal itself, sitting in judgment of those decisions that the Maori Land Court may have and have made in the past,” he says.

Mr Paraone denies the bill would adversely affect the quality of tribunal members.

YOUNG POPULATION NOT COURTED BY POLITICIANS

Former MP John Tamihere says the age structure of the Maori population almost guarantees a low Maori turn-out in this year's local government elections.

The Electoral Commission is cleaning up the electoral rolls in advance of the poll, and commission staff were also visible at this weekend's Maori expo in Auckland trying to sign up voters.

Mr Tamihere, who now heads West Auckland social service provider Te Whanau o Waipareira, says it's likely to have little impact on voting.

“You got to watch our population skew, it’s still very young. Young populations are busy courting. They’re busy getting trade certificates or qualifications. They’re busy doing a whole bunch of other things. They don’t start to participate fully in politics until their mid thirties,” Mr Tamihere says.

Maori turn-out at the last Waitakere City Council elections was under 30 percent.

ARAWA SETTLEMENT PLAN ‘REPUGNANT’

The MP for Waiariki says the government's intentions to use Maori money to settle central North island land claims is repugnant.

Te Ururoa Flavell says a refusal by the Court of Appeal to intervene in the proposed settlement with Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa is a major disappointment.

The Federation of Maori Authorities and the Maori Council are still weighing up an appeal, because they say the way the Crown intends to put 50,000 hectares of Kaingaroa Forest into the settlement package is a breach of a 1989 agreement on how forestry claims would be handled.

Mr Flavell says the government is putting the whole claim process at risk.

“They've broken that agreement and not only that, the Crown has legislated themselves into the riole of a confirmed beneficiary to those Crown forest lands, and therefore they get from that access to about $61 million in trust funds, so that’s the length and breadth of the amount of money they’ve taken out for themselves, and that money rightly should have gone in fact to claimants,” Mr Flavell says.

He can't see how the Government can lecture Fiji about democracy when it abuses this country's democratic processes.

ELECTORAL COMMISSION CASTING WEB FOR YOUNG VOTERS

The Electoral Commission has set up a website to encourage more rangatahi to get involved in the political process.

Chief electoral officer Murray Wicks says ivotenz.org.nz compliments the enrolment information packs being sent this week to all eligible voters.

He says the Maori population is relatively young and mobile, so many are likely to have moved since the last election.

They'll need to inform the commission of their current addresses to ensure their votes count.

Mr Wicks says many first time voters will have their say in this year's local body election, and his staff have been busy at hui and in secondary schools telling people of their rights.

“We've just finished, for the first six months of this year, running a campaign through schools talking about the right to vote and taking part in the democratic process and the need to be enrolled and keep your details up to date. We collected form that exercise about 21,000 new enrolments from young people,” Mr Wicks says.

Local body turnout on average is about 50 percent.

MINISTER KEEN FOR ATAMIRA REPEAT

The Minister of Maori Affairs wants a repeat of the Atamira Maori expo as early as next year.

Parekura Horomia says the expo at the Auckland showgrounds, which finished yesterday, cost about half a million dollars to stage.

He says that was value for money, given that it attracted about 100 thousand people over the three days.

“This is reasonable cost for a huge Maori event. This would be one of the biggest Maori show events that we’ve had for many a year and if I have my idea we’ll do it again next year or sooner and we’ll model it around the country,” Mr Horomia says.

Te Puni Kokiri intends to stage a repeat in 2009.

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