Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, November 12, 2007

Humble apology called for

Go back to Ruatoki - with your heads bowed down.

That's the message Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples has for the police.

He says the failure of the anti-terrorism prosecutions against Maori and environmental activists shows the October 15 blockade of the eastern Bay of Plenty township was unjustified.

Repairing the damage will take time and effort.

“I want to see them do a meaningful apology. I’d like to see that squad that went up there in there ninja suits go up there and undress in front of the people and become ordinary people and say we’re sorry we came in so heavy, we were exercising duty, it’s the first time we’ve done this, and offer and apology on the marae humbly,” Dr Sharples says.

He says the time has come to create the position of a Maori assistant police commissioner.


Less paper shufflers, more research.

That's the recipe National's fisheries spokesperson has for the Fisheries Ministry if his party takes the treasury benches next year.

Phil Heatley told a hui of the Hokianga Accord, a gathering of Maori, recreational and commercial fishing interests, that the ministry clearly has some of its priorities wrong.

He says National would increase the number of fisheries officers, both honorary officer and the full time enforcement staff needed to back them up.

It would also boost research, so decisions on catch levels are less controversial.

“When you talk about shared fisheries or anything like that, you cannot make a decent decision about what’s needed in terms of recreational, customary or commercial fishing unless you have good solid research, and so we have to put a whole lot of those resources essentially into research,” Mr Heatley says.

He has been unable to get a clear answer why the Fisheries Ministry refuses to consult with the Hokianga Accord.


Northland health authorities plan to extend a throat swabbing campaign which has cut the number of Maori getting rheumatic fever.

Jonathan Jarman, the medical officer for the Northland District Health Board, says there are up to 20 cases a year in the region among children from 5 to 19, all Maori.

It can lead to heart damage which shortens life expectancy.

Dr Jarman says it's triggered by infection from streptococcus A, so GPs need to take sore throats in children more seriously.

“We know that Group A strep is more common in people who live in crowded situations, who live in housing that’s not particularly warm, and of course the complications of rheumatic fever occur in people who don’t have good access to seeing a general practitioner,” Dr Jarman says.

Routine throat-swabbing in schools had eradicated high levels of rheumatic fever in Whangaroa over the past six years, and swabs start in Kaikohe schools next year.


The Hauraki Maori Trust Board believes government agencies are bungling protection mechanisms for culturally sensitive land.

The protection system was changed after protests stopped the sale of Landcorp's Whenuakite Block on the Coromandel Peninsula.

But John McEnteer, the board's treaty manager, says it failed in the case of a farm south of Orere Point on the Firth of Thames.

The Overseas Investment Office approved the sale of the 1400 hectares to an Australian beef farming company after getting a letter from a Ngai Tai group.

But Mr McEnteer says the OIO should have talked to Ngati Paoa and Ngati Whanaunga, who have ancestral links to the land.

“This new process is not working and the officials are absolutely bungling this new process. The ink is hardly dry on this new policy, and that’s what is of concern to me. Because how much longer do we need to continue with this inept and incompetent government approach to things,” Mr McEnteer says.


A Maori Party MP says the police should never be considered above scrutiny.

Hone Harawira came under fire from fellow MPs for speaking out against the arrests of Maori and environmental activists alleged to have attended terrorist training camps in the Urewera.

The solicitor general refused to allow proseuctions under the Terrorism Act, and the 16 people arrested have been released on bail while they await trial on firearms charges.

Mr Harawira says the police tried to change the way dissent was treated - and they failed.

“This was never a time for us to back off and be quiet like all the others were saying. When people say keep quiet, the police know what they’re doing, that’s the time for us to step up to the plate and say ‘Hell no.’ Of all people in this country, Maori ought to know that you never shut up when police are pulling stunts like thins. You go out and you go on the offensive all of the time, and now, we’ve been proved to be right,” Mr Harawira says.


Clean fat and home-made chips are behind the success of a Lyttelton Fish and chip shop.

Lyttelton Fisheries was judged the country's best chip shop through consumer text voting.

The business has been owned since July by professional chef Jason Otene and his wife Caroline.

Jason hails from a well known far north whanau, but he's lived in Otautahi since the 1970s.

He says they have a simple recipe for customer satisfaction.

“My wife is always changing the fat over, and the chips we have, we make ourselves, and they’re quite big chips. Plus I suppose it’s the attitude of all the workers there as well. Can’t have a good product without a good team eh,” Mr Otene says.


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