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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Still short of treaty top-up

The Minister of Treaty Negotiations says the huge Central North Island commercial forestry claim won't trigger ratchet clauses in earlier settlements.

Tainui and Ngai Tahu will get top ups if and when the total spent on historical claims exceeds a billion in 1995 dollars.

Michael Cullen says the proposal tabled by a collective of iwi at Waihi Marae near Turangi last week involves land under the control of the Crown Forest Rental Trust, which has its own set of rules.

“The total package will be worth close to $500 million for the central North Island iwi. A large part of that, indeed the largest single part, is the accumulated rentals, which of course the Crown doesn't own anyway. It’s not as if the Crown is transferring that to the iwi. That is being held in the Crown Forestry Rental Trust on behalf of those iwi who receive land settlements, so the cost that counts against the billion is the cost of the land, and that’s more in the region of $200 million," Dr Cullen says.

He says as the rate of settlements accelerates, it won't be too many years before the Crown may need to top up Tainui and Ngai Tahu.


A Maori fisheries group says the way the Fisheries Ministry is regulating customary fisheries is creating turbulence between iwi and hapu.

Customary fisheries were on the agenda today at a conference in Napier hosted by the Treaty Tribes Coalition.

Chairperson Ngahiwi Tomoana says the ministry is coming up with poorly designed solutions to ill defined problems.

He says by encouraging selected coastal hapu to manage customary fisheries, the ministry is undermining the Maori commercial fisheries settlement, which is managed at iwi level.

“So we have hapu tension with iwi, we have ministry fueling hapu expectations about customary fisheries but the issue has never been raised with iwi, which the settlement is all about. So we say customary regulations as they are is unfinished business," Mr Tomoana says

He says the Fisheries Ministry is ignoring its duty to engage with Maori as a treaty partner.


Four thousand young Catholics began a 100-day pilgrimage today, leading up to the largest youth event in the world.

The ope from parishes and schools around the country gathered at Auckland's Aotea Square today to prepare for World Youth Day in Sydney in July, which will be attended by Pope Benedict the sixteenth and hundreds of thousands of young people from around the globe.

MC Manuel Beazley, from Ngapuhi, says students from Hato Petera and a contingent from the Maori Catholic Runanga will ensure a strong Maori voice in the events.

“Organisers from the World youth Day in Sydeny have asked that the indigenous cultures, the indigenous peoples from the Oceania Pacific region join with the Aboriginal people as hosts for this event to welcome the other cultures, the other youth of the world,” Mr Beazley says

He says World Youth Day will be a chance to celebrate not only a shared faith by many different identities.


A South Island iwi is looking for opportunities from the free trade pact with China.

Geoff Hipkins from Ngai Tahu Seafood says the agreement recognises the Treaty of Waitangi, and specifically allows policies which aim at giving a leg up to Maori-owned business.

He says iwi with a commercial orientation would benefit from a closer economic relationship with China.

“The seafood tariffs are due to phase out over a five year period so that will give the potential to increase earnings, but more importantly it opens up and legitimises trade into China which I’m sure, once people get into the marketplace, there will be a lot more opportunities developed,” Mr Hipkins says.


Former owners of Paraparaumu Airport land are disappointed Kapiti Coast District Council has given the green light to a $450 million retail development of the site.

George Jenkins from Te Whananu a Ngarara says the 5-4 vote confirms the former owners' contention that the land was surplus to airport requirements, and should have been offered back under the Public Works Act.

He says the council should have waited for the outcome of a meeting between Te Whananu a Ngarara and the airport company, organised by Otaki MP Darren Hughes.

“We were asking council to show a little bit of leadership in terms of being courageous to take the right road, to do the right thing rather than what was perhaps legally expedient. We were asking only for a deferral of their considerations until after this meeting on the 18th,” Mr Jenkins says.

The former owners are happy to repurchase the land and lease it out for development.


A Maori tobacco researcher wants more research into a gene which may explain why disproportionate number of Maori become addicted to tobacco.

Marewa Glover from the Auckland Tobacco Control Research Centre says an international study with contributions from Otago University researchers has important implications for Maori.

The study found half the population has a gene variant that predisposes towards tobacco addiction and increases the risk of lung cancer, and 10 percent had two copies.

Dr Glover says the study is interesting, but a larger sample of Maori would be needed to draw firm conclusions.

“Your research is expensive and you have to make a special effort and you have to go to extra lengths t ensure you have got enough Maori in these big studies so that we can have results for us as well that tell us something,” Dr Glover says.

She says the double whammy gene might contribute to the higher rates for smoking among some whanau.


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