Waatea News Update

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

RMA revision remains hostile to Maori

The Maori law society says the revised Resource Management Simplifying and Streamlining Amendment Bill will still discourage Maori from taking part in the planning process.

The Local Government and Environment Committee reported the bill back to Parliament this week, but society co-president Jolene Patuawa says the committee ignored Maori submissions ... especially on the question of requiring Maori and community objectors to provide security for costs in case they lose.

She says the bill's promoters had over-stated delays caused by Maori objectors.

“We found only 1 percent of resource consent applications were being appealed to the Environment Court and delays were not a s a result of community or Maori participation but rather by council’s inability to process applications in reasonable time, something the bill doesn't address,” Ms Patuawa says.

Many of the delays are caused by developers who apply for resource consents to tie up scarce resources, then adjourn their applications until they are ready to proceed.


The New Zealand Geographic Board is expecting intense public interest in its September meeting.

Secretary Wendy Shaw says as well deciding whether the letter 'h' should be included in the spelling of Wanganui city, the board will be looking at a number of other Maori place names.

These include alternate names for the north and south islands.

The board has gone out to iwi nationwide to get feedback on traditional names, but any decision on naming the North and South Islands won't be taken without extensive public consultation.


In a first, the chair of parliament's Maori Affairs select committee has cancelled this week's meeting so members can attend the coronation anniversary of King Tuheitia.

The hui in Ngaruawahia started today, with Tainui whanau bringing their kawe mate or memories of those who died over the past year to Turangawaewae Marae.

Tomorrow it's the turn of other tribes from around the motu, after which iwi leaders will hold one of their regular forums.

Tau Henare says it's a hugely significant hui for Maori.

King Tuheitia will give his annual speech on Friday, with the weekend devoted to kapahaka and sporting competitions.


The government will guarantee loans to Maori building homes on multiply owned land.

Housing minister Phil Heatley says the reluctance of banks to lend against such land has long been a source of frustration for hapu and iwi who want to house their people.

Previous papakainga schemes have involved loans against the building, rather than the underlying land.

Mr Heatley says Housing New Zealand will supply the security the banks need.

“We will go with Maori to the banks and we will underwrite that risk with the banks should it fail. We don’t believe the risk is particularly high. Most of these projects are very well funded but the reality is if the bank can’t get security because it’s multiple owned land, we are going to offer them that security through the government,” Mr Heatley says.

He says Maori groups are lining up to use the scheme, which starts in November.


Literacy Aotearoa says funding cuts to adult literacy education services will hit Maori learners in urban centres.

Chief executive Bronwyn Yates says a third of the 6000 learners on the group's books are Maori.

She says programmes are being cut in Auckland, Waikato, Wellington and Dunedin at a time when Maori need them more than ever.

She say tough economic times are a good time for people to learn new skills.
Literacy Aotearoa is reviewing the services it can offer.


The author of a new book on Rua Kenana says it was a chance to get wider exposure for material unearthed during Tuhoe's Waitangi Tribunal claims.

The Prophet and the Policeman looks at what led to police commissioner John Cullen leading a major armed expedition to Maungapohatu in the Urewera ranges in 1916 to arrest the Tuhoe prophet.

Mark Derby says the book should give people an historical context to the current court battles of the 17 people arrested in 2007 in connection with supposed training camps in Te Urewera.

“A lot of it was researched and thought abut and developed when I worked as a researcher for the Waitangi Tribunal and in that time I saw a lot of very good research reports written and produced but often not widely read, not widely distributed and it seemed to me there was an enormous wealth of historical material sitting there that deserved a wider readership,” Mr Derby says.

The Prophet and the Policeman was launched on Wednesday at Unity Books in Wellington by Judge Joe Williams, a former chair of the Waitangi Tribunal.


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