Waatea News Update

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cracks showing in Ngai Tahu settlement

A former Ngai Tahu treaty negotiator says cracks are starting to show in the tribe’s management and operation of its $170 million dollar treaty settlement.

Rik Tau says Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu's (TRONT) decision to charge commercial fisherman to use Te Waihora, Lake Ellesmere, is in breach of the tribe’s 1998 Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

He says this is another example where the runanga appears to be showing a lack of sound judgment.

“It takes away the integrity not only of ourselves as negotiators but of the Crown. The commercial fishermen actually come under the quota management system which is the Ministry of Fisheries and the Fisheries Act, not under Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu,” Mr Tau says.

Ngai Tahu, the fishing Industry Board and the fisherman agreed on an eel management plan as part of treaty negotiations.

He says charging five eelers an 8 percent fee on the basis of Lake restoration is inappropriate as the fisherman are not responsible for the pollution.

Ngai Tahu kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon was unavailable for comment.

MORGAN WARNS OF PRIVATE PRISON MISDIRECTION

The head of the Federation of Maori Authorities says there is a risk of misplaced focus on the privatisation of prisons.

The government is considering opening prison management contracts to private companies.

Paul Morgan, chief executive of FOMA, says the current prison system represents a systemic failure of individuals and families, and more effort needs to go towards preventative strategies.

“People are suggesting it’s a business opportunity. Well sure it is but it’s one where we are spending society’s resources trying to fix a problem. The approach really should be more preventative strategies where people don’t actually go into prisons,” Mr Morgan says.

He says FOMA's focus is on individuals getting educated, being productive citizens and making positive contributions.

DON’T CALL ME DAME SAYS WRITER GRACE

Maori writer Patricia Grace says she will not be taking up her entitled to be called Dame under changes to honours being introduced by the government.

Patricia Grace who holds the honour of Distiguished Commanion of the New Zealand Order of Merit says she sees the change back to titles as quite unnecessary.

“I thought it was a sep forward when we decided not to have the titles. I thought it was a step away from the colonial past and all those attachments and that we were working our way to having something more truly our own in Aotearoa so to me it wasn’t a forward step at all. It seemed like harping back to the past,” Mrs Grace says.

W hen she accepted the award she did so on behalf of alot of people who have supported her including family, hapu and iwi so she does not consider the honour is hers alone.

FIJI ELECTION PRESSURE NOT THE ONLY ANSWER SAYS REEVES

Former governor general Paul Reeves, who has tried to bridge the gap between Fiji and Commonwealth and Pacific leaders putting pressure on the island nation to hold elections, says democracy may not be the answer.

Sir Paul, the co-architect of Fiji's current constitution, has meet Fiji's military strongman Commodore Vorege Bainimarama several times attempting to resolve the impasse.

He says western style democracy may not always be the answer to everything.

“It may well not be and I think if we look around the world we would have to say that many countries which were open to British influence and the British left behind their patterns of democracy and ruling themselves, they have always struggled with that because there are these inherited issues as well as the whole question of an elected system,” Sir Paul says.

The Pacific Island Forum earlier this year voted unanimously to suspend Fiji and exclude it from all regional funding if it doesn't set an election date by May 1 and go to the polls by the end of the year.

Sir Paul says cutting relationships with Fiji won’t be helpful because the people need food, service and other help.

FORESHORE ACT REVIEW COULD OPEN DIVIDES

Labour leader Phil Goff says the Government's reopening of the Seabad and Foreshore debate has the potential to be extremely divisive.

He says the Seabed and Foreshore Act should be left as it is.

Mr Goff says under the Act which the Government is reviewing Maori and Pakeha have fundamental access to the beaches and treaty settlements are acknowledging customary rights more than ever.

“What we've got now is we’re evolving towards a position that is not divisive, can work for all New Zealanders, can acknowledge customary rights and can settle the issue down. I don’t think National is necessarily committed to any particular outcome form this review, you know to repeal the Act, in which case it may end up with a lot of frustration and further divisiveness. Why don’t we work on what we’ve got at the moment, work through those treaty settlements, and resolve it in that way,” Mr Goff says.

MAORI SACRIFICE IN PASSCHENDAELE REMEMBERED

An exhibition commemorating the World War One sacrifice of New Zealand soldiers, including the Maori Pioneer battalion, on Flanders fields will begin its New Zealand tour in Wellington in early March.

National War Memorial curator Paul Riley says the exhibition developed by the Memorial Museum Passchendaele aims to bring the devastating battles for the Western Front back into the national conscience.

“What it’s about is New Zealand’s involvement in the terrible battle of Passchendaele when the New Zealand Division was ordered to attack the German line on basically what was a suicide mission. It was an impossible task for the New Zealanders to achieve. They had to plough through waist deep mud through this field to attempt to attack the German lines up ion this ridge called Bellevue Spur and it was just crazy. They were sitting ducks. It was just slaughter,” Mr Riley says.

In four hours on October 12, 1917, New Zealand forces suffered 2700 casualties, including 845 fatalities.

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