Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, September 29, 2008

Different sort of coalition sought

A political commentator believes neither National or Labour understand that the Maori Party will be wanting far more than a traditional coalition agreement if they hold the balance of power after the next election.

Chris Trotter says Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata has spelt out that the party wants a treaty partner arrangement based on a model used in the Anglican church which would give them a power of veto over decisions but this has not been understood.

“What the Maori Party is looking for is much more autonomy within the parliamentary framework that anybody has ever been given before and I strongly suspect that neither National nor Labour really understands what a treaty partner agreement with the Maori Party would involve, and neither does the rest of New Zealand
Mr Trotter says.

The Maori Party needs to be more explicit about what it wants or there could be a very sharp reaction if it only emerges after the votes have been cast.


Fancy a feed of steak eggs and taewa chips.

An expert on taewa or Maori potatoes says a hui of Maori growers held over the weekend identified the need to add value from their crops.

Dr Nick Roskruge from Massey University who chairs Tahuri Whenua, a collective of Maori vegetable growers, says efforts are being made to increase and improve stocks including growing at altitude to ensure pest free stocks.

“The ultimate would be to be able to create some added value products, chips or things, like that, where you get the advantage to have them out to the consumers all year and create a return with some added value besides just the fresh product so that’s one of the things we were looking at on the weekend,” Dr Roskruge says.

A shortage of seed stocks is hampering the industry's growth.


Dover Samuels is calling for a review of the kawa and culture of parliament.

The retiring Labour list MP believes the current set up is too rigid... and too partisan.

He's criticising what he sees as the hypocrisy of the privileges committee investigating Winston Peters as if it were an independent body, rather than one made up of politicians with political agendas.

“Probably 90 percent of anything that comes before the House, I think should be voted on your conscience rather than party lines, but that’s the rules you see but these are the kawa, these are the way that things have happened and handled here in the Parliament over year and people think because they’ve been doing it for 25 or 30 years we should carry on doing the same things, and I think it’s about time it needs a total overhaul,” Mr Samuels says.

He is also critical of the current trend to bring MPs whanau and particularly their tamariki into what are essentially arguments between MPs.


A former MP for Tamaki Makauraua says northern Maori owe a debt of gratitude to retiring Labour list MP Dover Samuels.

Mr Tamihere, one of few to publicly support the then-Taitokerau MP when demoted from the Maori affairs portfolio, says as associate minister of tourism Mr Samuels has left his mark.

“Dover won budget bids and set up Maori regional engagements and Maori national forums in tourism. It’s a huge industry for us. I think the settlement and cleaning up of, I think we’ve got three quarters of a million dollars just for Lake Omapere up north there, and it’s Ngapuhi nui tonu taonga, so he’s got his fingerprints on a number of reasonable things
Mr Tamihere says.

He was in Wellington last week for Mr Samuels’ valedictory speech and says over the years the colourful MP from Matauri Bay has made solid gains for Maori both in his home region and at a national level.


The chairman of Tahuri Whenua, a collective of Maori vegetable growers says there's huge potential to grow crops on currently unproductive Maori land, but that must coincide with smart marketing strategies.

Dr Nick Roskruge who was at Parewahawaha Marae in Bulls over the weekend for the growers annual conference says more use could be made of Maori land.

“I think for growing a range of crops but the taeawa is the one that has the visibility but there’s potential with a number of crops and even crops like puha and kamokamo, they haven’t been properly managed for marketing and such so there’s a bit of teaching required, and the more you get people wanting them, the more demand will come,” Dr Roskruge says.

A shortage of seed stock for Maori potatoes limits the volume produced each year but demand for the culinary delicacy suggests a bright future for the nearly 30 varieties of Maori potatoes called riwai in the north and taewa further south.


The Maori Party's Tai Tonga candidate says young Maori should be thinking about their iwi needs when they look at careers.

Rahui Katene says treaty settlements are changing the economic and social landscape for Maori and young people need to respond.

“If we decide that we want kaumatua flats on to the papakainga, why are we going to a Pakeha architect, to a Pakeha engineer when we should be looking at upskilling our own kids so that they are able to do that for us,” Mrs Katene says.

She says over the past couple of decade many young Maori studied law so they could help with the claim process - but now they need to think about what to do when the money comes in.


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