Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, September 14, 2007

SFO axing endorsed

A former Maori MP who tangled with the Serious Fraud Office is celebrating the Government's plans to ax the white collar crime fighter.

It is to be replaced with a new agency under the police dealing with organised crime.

In March an Auckland jury cleared Tuariki Delamere on 14 charges brought by the SFO relating to his immigration business.

The former immigration minister is now seeking costs and is considering a case for malicious prosecution.

He says the SFO had been acting like the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation under J Edgar Hoover.

“You have a body that was not accountable to anybody in this country, and you had a director who was not accountable to anyone n this country and I’m glad to see the government’s getting rid of them. Because they’re incompetent and they’re out of their depth anyway,” Mr Delamere says.

He was acquitted not on technical grounds but because the Serious Fraud Office did not have evidence to back the charges.

MAORI UNION MOVEMENT CELEBRATED

The contribution of Maori to the union movement is being celebrated in a new DVD.

Helen Te Hira from the Council of Trade Unions says the resource looks at the way tangata whenua have organised themselves politically, economically and culturally.

She says as a naturally collective people, Maori have made significant contributions to the development of unionism from its beginning.

In fact the first union notices in New Zealand were in Maori.

“We were approached by the Australian unions because as shearers Maori could undercut labor gangs of Australians and New Zealanders so they decided they’d better get us onside. And so from there you see a whole lot of activism, and even when unions weren’t present, say in the rural sector, you still see Maori coming together and organising themselves,” Ms Te Hira says.

The CTU wants to look at what lessons can be learned from Maori models of organising.

SCHOOL CARVINGS ATTACKED

A Hamilton school is devastated by the destruction of its taonga whakairo.
Vandals broke into the five-year-old library and information centre at Nawton Primary on Sunday and ripped carvings off the wall.

Principal Mike Sutton says the school's roll is 60 percent Maori, and the carvings were valued by all the students.

“They were really important artifacts. Because carvings and whatever you put in your school, the artifacts show what you believe and what you think is important, and it was a way of valuing Maori and the culture and the important role they play in learning and in our community,” Mr Sutton says.

Carver Kingi Tawhiao has taken away the remaining pieces to see if they can be repaired, or if he has to start over.

RARAWA SETTLEMENT ENDORSED

A leading far north elder says the agreement in principle to settle Te Rarawa's treaty claims should spur other Muriwhenua iwi.

Sir Graham Latimer says the $20 million package signed last Friday will boost the tribe's development, and its negotiators have done a reasonable job.

He says the other four iwi who took the Muriwhenua Claim should pick up the model and apply it to their own areas - if they can get into talks with the Crown.

“The opportunities for the rest of the tribes up here are there is they want to take them. You can go on all day saying it’s not enough. The main thing is to get yourself on the board so you know where you're going,” he says.

Sir Graham, who also chairs the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, says he does have concerns about part of the deal allowing Te Rarawa to buy 29 percent of the Aupouri Forest.

He says the forest should be given to a body representing all five tribes, as the Crown offered a decade ago.

MAORI SIGN UP FOR HEALTH BOARD CONTEST

Maori have heeded the call to make themselves available for District Health Boards elections.

Fifty of the 430 candidates around the country are Maori, with the Tairawhiti area particularly spoilt for choice.

Rangi Pouwhare, the Maori relationships manager for the Ministry of Health, says the boards manage billions of dollars for health and disability services, so it's vital Maori have their say.

“If we're not at the level where the decisions are made, we’ll never be heard so it is important to make sure that the funding and the decisions made at that level are good for Maori. But until we’re there, to give the information and let our voice be heard, we won't ever be heard,” Mr Pouwhare says.

The challenge for candidates now is to encourage Maori voters to tautoko them.

PETERS CHEERS END OF SFO

The leader of New Zealand First is welcoming a new Organised Crime Agency.

Winston Peters has been a long time critic of the Serious fraud Office, which the agency will replace, because of its failure to prosecute anyone over the deals identified during the Winebox Inquiry.

He says while the new agency needs to keep the pressure on white collar criminals, increased scrutiny on gangs will benefit the whole country.

“Maoridom should be cheering from the rafters about this, because every time there’s a damaging portrayal of Maoridom via the gangs and their behaviour and their involvement in serious crime, it denigrates and diminishes Maori as a people. And the sooner we deal to that and tell these guys it’s back to the straight and narrow we want them to do, the better for Maoridom,” Mr Peters says.

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