Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, August 31, 2009

Maori Party changing stance on climate change policy

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is defending his party’s decision to withdraw its minority report to a select report which was believed to be critical of the Government’s climate change policy.

Dr Sharples says the party favours a carbon tax rather than emissions trading.

He says it is continuing to talk to the government and to iwi, because the way the country responds to climate change will affect how Maori can use their land, including land coming back through treaty settlements.

“It’s a very complex issue and I don’t know whether it was so much a u-turn as to be still considering where we should go in this matter,” Dr Sharples says.

Both emissions trading and a carbon tax would have advantages and disadvantages for Maori, especially those with large forest holdings.


Objectors to the creation of an urupa or cemetery for Invercargill have dropped their challenge, opening the way for Murihiku Maori to have a final resting place.

Neighbours who claimed the Mason Road urupa would devalue property prices abandoned their Environment Court appeal because of concern over legal costs.

Michael Skerrett, the upoko of Waihopai Runaka Holdings, says the urupa was proposed long before the neighbouring houses were built, despite resource consent only being granted last year.

He says the urupa will be screened by three rows of native plants including harakeke, kowhai, and totara, and there will only be two or three burials a fortnight.

Michael Skerrett says the urupa should be ready for use within a year.


Maori earn less but gamble more.

That’s a trend the Problem Gambling Foundation is highlighting in its annual Gamble-Free day tomorrow.

Public health promoter Catherine Reweti says rather than put the money in the pokey, people should take the whanau out for a meal in one of the 200 restaurants across the country giving 10 percent discounts on the day.

She says Maori are very over-represented in problem gambling.

“If you are a problem gambler you are more than twice as likely to gamble than non-Maori. When you do gamble you gamble twice as much money and Maori don’t earn as much as non-Maori and that’s a huge issue too,” Ms Reweti says.

Events are planned around the country offering where information and help with gambling problems.


Rural marae expecting to upgrade their water systems could miss out because of a change in government policy.

Labour MP Brendon Burns says replies to parliamentary questions show Health Minister Tony Ryall is deferring applications from 71 small communities who want to bring their drinking water quality up to World Health Organisation minimums.

He says the Government’s intention to put a $1000 a head limit on projects will hit rural marae, which in peak times service far larger numbers than the small pool of residents in their immediate vicinity.

“Water drinking plants, to make them safe, can cost a lot of capital. It’s not an inexpensive business. The outcome of that may be a lot of marae fail to meet the grade for even longer and the longer this goes on the more risks we face as a nation. Campylobacter, giardia, cryptosporidium are nasty illnesses and we have to deal with them,” Mr Burns says.

He says it looks like the Government has its eyes on the $88 million left of the $136 million Labour set aside for the safe drinking water programme.


The Asthma Foundation is looking for Maori who have succeeded in their objectives despite asthma and respiratory problems.

Spokesperson Malcolm Aitken says four of the eight categories in this year’s Asthma and Respiratory Achievers Awards are for Maori.

He says the foundation is looking to celebrate people’s achievements rather than always be seen as focusing on negative aspects of the condition.

Nominations close today, and the awards will be presented in November.


Tauranga students have been retracing the watery journeys of their tipuna.

Almost 100 tamariki from Welcome Bay immersion school Te Kura Kokiri have spent much of the past two weeks in waka visiting waahi tapu, ancestral marae and lands along Tauranga Harbour and its rivers.

Tumuaki Mark Nicholas says it was important for the many tamariki who feel disconnected from their culture.

“We say we’re from Taurangamoana but many of our tamariki have never actually been on the moana, not have seen the landmarks the way our tupuna would have seen it so that’s the concept, a sort of revisiting and a chance for us to touch base without our hapu and our marae,” Mr Nicholas says.

While the waka were borrowed from clubs, the students had to make their own hoe or paddles.


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