Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Ngai Tahu emissions heat up

Ngai Tahu leader Mark Solomon says the iwi has lodged a Waitangi Tribunal claim in case negotiations with the Government over carbon credits fail.

The parties have been talking for months about the effect of new emissions trading legislation on forestry land.

Mr Solomon says in 2001 Ngai Tahu used its deferred purchase rights to buy Crown forest land in the South Island, with the intention of converting much of the land to other uses.

He says when the deal was signed, the Government must have known its adherence to Kyoto protocol conditions would affect the value once the forest owners remove the trees.

“If we don't immediately replant as the landowner, we face carbon liabilities in the millions. Our argument is, you should have put this on the table when we discussed conversion to farming – we paid best use prices. Ten years after settlement, to have $100 million wiped off the bottom line doesn’t speak much to the endurability of the settlement,” Mr Solomon says.

A spokesperson for Climate Change Minister David Parker says select committee amendments to the Emissions trading bill now before Parliament will increase Ngai Tahu's carbon credits from the forests, and an independent reviewer will investigate other aspects of its claim.


Kawerau iwi hope a new geothermal power station will bring down their power costs.

Mighty River Power has commissioned the 100 megawatt station next to the Norske Skog pulp and paper mill under budget and ahead of time.

Waaka Vercoe from Ngati Awa says his iwi and Tuwharetoa will get a royalty from the state-owned generator.

He says they also hope whanau living in the area will benefit.

“The real benefit as we see it is the cost of electricity in this area is one of the highest in the North Island and we hope that stations like the one that’s coming onstream will hopefully ease the high cost that local people are having to bear,” Mr Vercoe says.

He says Mighty River Power has worked well with Maori interests.


The editor of a book on last October's so-called terror raids says news coverage of the time showed dramatic differences between Maori and mainstream media.

The raids are having their sequel in the Auckland District Court, where lawyers have today successfully argued there should be blanket suppression of police evidence in the depositions hearing against the 18 people arrested.

Danny Keenan says a chapter in Terror in our Midst by media analyst Sue Abel looked at how TV1, TV3 and Maori Television handled the story.

“There was an entirely different world view presented by TV1, TV3 who persisted in running shots of Tame Iti with a shotgun event though it’s 15 years old now, that shot. Maori TV presented entirely different language, entirely different view of the raids,” Dr Keenan says.


A former Maori All Black captain says his teammate Victor Yates had all the attributes needed to play rugby at the top level.

Mr Yates, who died unexpectedly on Sunday aged 69, will be buried tomorrow in Pukepoto, near Kaitaia.

Bishop Muru Walters says the Yates whanau was one of Northland's most prominent sporting families.

As well as being a member of the Maori team, Vic Yates played nine matches for the All Blacks in 1961 and 62, including three tests.

His brothers Simon and John represented New Zealand Maori in rugby league, following in the footsteps of their father Moses, who made the Maori team in the early 20's

Bishop Walters says Vic Yates thrilled crowds with his skill.

“He was fast, he was strong, and the opportunities that North Auckland presented itself, which was always to run the ball of course at all moments, and the Maori teams were just the kind of games which suited Victor and he didn't disappoint,” Bishop Walters says.


An upsurge in a painful hereditary disease is having a major economic impact on Maori in south Auckland.

Rheumatologist Peter Gow says the number of Maori men with gout has jumped from 6 to 10 per cent over the past 2 decades because of changes in lifestyle and diet.

He says every year the condition costs about 400 Maori and Pacific Island men in the city their jobs because they are in too much pain to work.

Dr Gow says it needs further study, because there were no recorded cases of gout among Maori before 1900

“The colonists who came to New Zealand who knew all about gout because it’s been round for 2000 years haven’t got any descriptions of Maori with gout at that time. Probably there’s been the genetic factor there but the lifestyle at the time where people did have to keep pretty fit to survive and exercise and their muscles were very efficient at keeping uric acid levels down,” he says.

Dr Gow wants to do more research into the gene that keeps uric acid levels high in Maori and Pacific Island men.


The Greens Maori Affairs spokesperson says the massive influx of historical treaty claims to meet an artificial deadline puts the onus of the Crown to come up with fair and fast settlements.

The Waitangi Tribunal received more than 2000 claims during August.

It's likely many will not be accepted because they cover issues which have already been investigated, or they may fall into the category of contemporary claims.

Meteria Turei says while there was no need for a deadline, the exercise has helped focus iwi, whanau and Maori individuals on the need to hold the Crown to account for past treaty breaches.

“The tribunal's got a big job ahead of it now and so the Maori communities in pursuing and preparing and finalizing their claims but I think it’s a really good thing to see so many claims come in in that period of time,” she says.

Metiria Turei says a future government should consider re-opening the window for historic claims.


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