Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

RMA Act reform leaves Maori unprotected

A reform of the Resource Management Act has been called a missed opportunity to strengthen Maori protections.

The Government says it dropped plans to remove the Treaty of Waitangi clause from Act because the Maori Party opposed the change and a Technical Advisory Group said the clause had little effect in the courts.

Lawyer Grant Powell, who has considerable experience with the Act, says the reform will do nothing to fix problems Maori have encountered.

“Hapu and iwi around the country have had bad experiences with the administration of the RMA both through councils and the inconsistencies of the RMA through the Environment Court and it’s very expensive, very time consuming and although there are the so called Maori protection provisions in the RMA, it gives little or no priority to Maori interests,” Mr Powell says.

As long ago as 1992 the Waitangi Tribunal found the Resource Management Act was fatally flawed because it only required consent authorities to take into account the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.


Language research is strengthening evidence that Maori and other Pacific Island populations originated in Taiwan.

Auckland University psychology professor Russell Gray says 400 Austronesian languages have been analysed for clues on how and when the far-flung islands were settled.

“We looked at words that are used most often in these languages, kinship terms, mother, father, words for parts of the body and numerals. A really quick way if people want to check if a language is Austronesian is ask someone from another language or culture to count to five and the similarities say to Maori are really striking,” Professor Gray says.

The invention of the outrigger canoe allowed the Austronesians spread from Taiwan to the Philippines about 5000 years ago, and then out into the Pacific in a series of pulses, each spanning about 1000 years.


Waitangi is filling up as people gather for what could be one of the biggest treaty commemorations in recent years.

Te Tii Marae chairman Kingi Taurua says the lower marae is filling up fast, and organisers are opening up other marae in the region to house the overflow.

Numbers will be further boosted by the arrival this afternoon of the maori King and 1500 supporters, including paddlers for the six Tainui waka which will join 10 other canoes on the Bay of Islands.

Treaty historian Paul Moon the change of government means there is little appetite for conflict this year as people look to the new National-Maori Party coalition.

Organisers are expecting up to 60 thousand people in the Bay of Islands over the rest of the week for Treaty of Waitangi commemorations.

Marae in the area are bulging at the seams housing the manuhiri, including hundres of kai hoe who will be powering the largest fleet of waka seen on the bay since 1990.

Police iwi liaison officer Willie More says free shuttles and secure car parking will be used to encourage people not to bring their cars into the tiny settlement.

He says the arrival today of a large contingent of Tainui people supporting King Tuheitia will put a different complexion on the event.

Mr More says an alcohol and drug-free policy will be enforced on the Treaty Grounds.


New research has identified a much higher risk of diabetes among Maori women than previously suspected.

The three-year Te Wai O Rona: Diabetes Prevention Strategy tested more than 4000 older Maori from the Waikato and Lakes areas, and found one in 10 women aged between 28 and 40 had problems processing glucose.

That's a pointer to diabetes, and Diabetes New Zealand president Mike Smith says it can lead to problems with overweight babies.

He says a lot of women at that age want to have babies, but pregnancy can bring on diabetes.

Diabetes New Zealand has been telling the Government it's time to take notice of the problem.


A leading environment lawyer says the treaty protections in the Resource Management Act are being left in place because they have proved to be ineffective.

The Government has reversed an election promise to repeal section 8 as part of its overhaul of the RMA unveiled yesterday, because of objections from the Maori Party.

But Grant Powell says the Maori Party should have been pushing for more protections for Maori, rather than defending something that doesn't work.

“As long ago as 1992 the Waitangi Tribunal found the Resource Management Act was fatally flawed as the result of the wording of section 8. There was only a requirement to take into account the principles of the Treaty, and I’ve argued in the Waitangi Tribunal many times that it’s an ongoing treaty breach that the Crown hasn’t implemented the findings of the Ngawha Tribunal,” Mr Powell says.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

5:38 PM  

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