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Friday, December 12, 2008

PM invited to Pukawa stronghold

Iwi leaders are expected to be out in force on Sunday at Pukawa on the shores of Lake Taupo for a meeting with John Key.

The new Prime Minister was invited to the forum by Tuwharetoa leader Tumu te Heuheu within days of taking office, as the iwi leaders sought to maintain the momentum of treaty settlements set over the past year by Labour.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says he will also be at the hui, which is one of a series over the past two years at the historic site.

“Tumu has prepared a statement that he’d like to read to the Prime Minister and I believe the Prime Minister is going to respond. I wouldn’t have a clue what happens after that,” Dr Sharples says.


The MP for Waikato Hauraki says the National-Maori Party-Act Government's new tax regime is a double blow for Maori.

Nanaia Mahuta says the majority of Maori workers earn too little to get meaningful tax cuts.

And she says they will have good reason to feel agrieved when they see their taxes going to boost the incomes of higher earners.

“It clearly delivers to those on higher incomes. The great majority of Maori are not on those types of incomes that are going to see a significant benefit from the tax cuts. What we will see is that lower income people will be paying taxes that will deliver the benefits to higher income people, and there is no equity in that,” Ms Mahuta says.


Judges of the Maori sports awards will review their cut-off dates after strong end of season performances by some leading athletes.

More than 1000 people are expected at tomorrow night's awards dinner in Rotorua.

Organiser Dick Garrett says there have been questions about why members of the Kiwis and All Blacks were not nominated, despite wins in the Rugby League World Cup and the Rugby grand slam tour of Great Britain in November.

“Our close off is October so we are going to look at that next year because those performances of players like Benji Marshall and Peri Weepu should be in consideration, but they’ll definitely be in consideration for next year's awards,” Mr Garrett says.

Former Warriors prop Reuben Wiki, Hawkes Bay hooker Hikawera Elliot and double sculler Storm Uru are the finalists in the senior men's category.


The Judge has reserved his decision on whether to grant an injunction stopping the restructure of Tainui's commercial and social arms.

The High Court at Hamilton was packed for today's showdown between Tom Roa, the chair of the tribal parliament Te Kauhanganui, and the executive, Te Arataura.

The lawyer for Mr Roa submitted that in April the parliament agreed to Te Arataura developing an new organisation structure, but expected to get final approval on its implementation.

Justice Paul Heath will make his ruling early next week.

He said even if he doesn't grant an injunction, he will offer his thoughts on interpreting some confusing clauses in Tainui's constitution.


Meanwhile, the Minister of Maori Affairs is glad he's not the one in the middle of Tainui's raruraru.

The law covering Maori trust boards gives the minister a prominent role ... but that role is now considered paternalistic, and post-settlement organisations like Tainui have insisted they can stand on their own feet.

Pita Sharples says the tribe should be well able to resolve its current dispute over the best structure for the future.

“Tainui's going through what it went through a while ago and I think it will learn to handle it better this time. Inevitably when they get into a large putea like they have in Tainui now, it attracts more interest soi I think it was inevitable there would be a contest, but Tainui for Tainui, they’ve got to sort that out themselves of course,” Dr Sharples says.


Former Taitokerau MP Dover Samuels has some advice for the current holder of the seat ... don't let Trevor Mallard get under your skin.

Hone Harawira has said he'd like to kill the Labour hard man, who has been taunting the Maori Party over its support for National's tax changes.

Mr Samuels says he's nearly had punch-ups with Mr Mallard himself over issues of policy.

“He's not an easy bugger to get on with. I think he’s got to be very careful, watching his mouth because Hone is of the same ilk and he doesn’t really care about the rules of the Parliament. But at the same Hone Harawira was clearly outside the rules. He should apologise to the parliament, to his own party, and he should apologise to the Speaker,” Mr Samuels says.


But Hone Harawira is unrepentant over his attack on Trevor Mallard.

The Taitokerau MP says he's unhappy with National's tax changes, but the Maori Party was bound by its confidence and supply agreement to vote with the Government.

Mr Harawira says the benefits of the agreement for Maori will outweigh such short term hiccups.

But he's not about to apologise any time soon.

“I'm happy for it to be a debate between Maori on Maori issues but I’m not about to be accountable to dickheads like Trevor Mallard and those rednecks. I don’t answer to them for anything,” Mr Harawira says.


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