Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Rickards ready for all defence challenges

Former assistant police commissioner Clint Rickards has not ruled out defending people on rape charges.

Speaking after his admission to the bar as a lawyer, Mr Rickards - who was himself found not guilty of rape - says as an officer of the court it is his job to represent people and the jury's job to judge whether they are guilty or not.

“Rape trials certainly aren’t a priority but as a lawyer I would certainly, if the situation presented itself, then you are obligated to take on those cases, genuine cases I might add, and I’d certainly do those trials, but they’re not a priority,” he says.

Mr Rickards wants to get involved in Maori land law and employment law.

He is also looking at working with young people at the Waipareira Trust on a contract basis, an appointment which has been criticised by New Zealand Womens’ Refuge and other welfare organisations.


Meanwhile, the head of West Auckland based Te Whanau O Waipareira Trust, John Tamihere says he expects they are not the only Maori organisation willing to offer work to the former assistant police commisioner.

Mr Tamihere says as a former high ranking policeman and now qualified lawyer, Mr Rickards has significant capacity to contribute to the needs of both Maori and non-Maori living in Waitakere City.

“We won't leave him sitting rotting in a gutter somewhere because others have judged it politically incorrect to pick him up and offer him another shot. Waipareira exists for that and in fact most Maori organisations out there know that people have stumbled, fallen and erred. We will not run over the top of them, the way Pakeha people may want us to,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says Clint Rickards will be a positive influence on young men in West Auckland.


The Maori trust planning to build a resort, coastal park and housing development at Mangawhai north of Auckland is confident it will gain consent for the project after slashing the number of homes proposed from 1400 to 180.

Te Arai Coastal Lands Trust, a joint venture between local Te Uri o Hau and Queenstown developer Land Trust, is applying for a third time to the Rodney District Council for a zoning change after previous applications were declined in the face of local opposition.

Te Uri o Hau chairman Russell Kemp says he is optimistic this time.

“It’s a matter of where the middle ground is. Can we build anything on there, or do we have to give it away. You know, 180 houses on a huge strip of land is not a lot at this time, but people should be honest and say ‘I think we can go with this,’ or ‘I think you need to do this before we’re satisfied.’ It’s been five years now, and in those five years we lose a lot of money by replanning and rezoning and all sorts, you know,” Mr Kemp says.

The park will provide a facility for people to camp, wander, ride horses and trail bikes while housing will generate income.


A trust wanting to develop housing, a resort and recreational park for the public at Mangawhai north of Auckland says stopping the project would be picking on Maori.

Russell Kemp, the chairman of the Te Arai Coastal lands trust, a joint venture between local iwi Te uri o Hau and Queenstown developer New Zealand Land Trust, says in a third application to the Rodney District Council for planning consent the number of houses has been cut back from 1400 to just 180.

He says it would be unfair if the council declined the new application for a change of zoning.

“I want to know, do they want us to do anything on our land, or they don’t want us to do anything. Because we’ve dropped right down to 180 houses on this huge strip of land. Now if that happens, I say they’re just picking on Maori for that particular piece of land. Because no one else is being stopped from building on any other area,” Mr Kemp says.

The new proposal protects conservation values, provides a park for the public and will generate income for the iwi.


Meanwhile the Greens have attacked the government's housing and employment policies.

Greens Maori issues spokesperson Metiria Turei says these policies will be a particularly bad for Maori.

“National is going to cap the growth in state houses and they’re not going to build any more once they get to that cap so there’s going to be a major issue with inadequate housing and people being left homeless, living in other people’s garages and things. There’s going to be job losses because National is going to be funneling money into public private partnerships leaving state servants and all of the people who rely on government or government agencies for employment with community organisations in all sorts of ways without jobs. Nothing in the Maori Party-National agreement is going to stop that from happening,” Ms Turei says.


A Wellington based community worker and sports broadcaster says with a change of government, Maori sports groups need to lobby more effectively for a greater slice of the sports funding pie.

Ken Laban, who does sports commentary work for Sky TV, says Polynesian people including Maori make up a huge percentage of participation rates in New Zealand’s six most popular codes.

But he says that is not reflected in the makeup of senior sports administrative bodies, or boards that decide where the limited sports funding available is spent.

“I hope that one of the challenges that Sparc, if they’re any good, over the next three or four years of the regime of this new government can address, is better representation of our people in significant positions of leadership. We’ve got plenty of people when it comes to getting the ball up, getting smashed and making tackles, but we don ‘t enough people in the board rooms, we don’t have enough people in executive management,” Mr Laban says.


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