Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Labour a bridge too far for Turia

The woman who broke with Labour to form the Maori Party is concerned talk of reconciliation could threaten her party's independence.

Labour president Andrew Little has called for bridges to be built between the parties, suggesting it's a more natural fit than the Maori Party's current support agreement with National.

But Tariana Turia says Labour MPs have to put the Labour Party first and being Maori second.

“Our people have to decide whether they want their independence, whether they want an independent voice and it’s far safer sitting in the middle where you can at least keep your own mana intact and negotiate on a case by case with the Government. Much easier to be outside of the tent actually,” Mrs Turia says.

When she talks with iwi leaders as an independent they know she is able to represent the Maori viewpoint.

INFLUENCE TRADED FOR INDEPENDENCE

But Labour MP Parekura Horomia says the Maori Party's supposed independence is limiting its ability to influence decisions.

The Ikaroa Rawhiti MP says Tariana Turia's party is achieving little for Maori, with its failure to get Maori seats on the Auckland super city council as an example.

“You know you can sit out and talk about mana enhancing,but if you ain’t in that cabinet you ain‘t in there, and when I went into Parliament the minister of Maori affairs’ role was down at 22. I got it up to seven. It’s now back at number 22,” Mr Horomia says.

He says many Maori are becoming disillusioned with the Maori party's lack of achievement.

KATERINA MATAIRA HONOURED FOR LIFETIME INSPIRATION

An award ceremony to encourage new Maori writers has taken time out to acknowledge someone who laid a foundation for today's Maori literature revival.

Katerina Te Heikoko Mataira was given a lifetime achievement award at the Pikihuia Awards presented last weekend at Te Papa in Wellington.

Robyn Bargh, the managing director of award organiser Huia Publishers, says Mrs Mataira was a popular choice for the new award.

“She's been writing for about 50 years and most of that in Maori and she was one of the few writers in Maori to have so many works published. She can’t even remember how many of her works had been published,” Ms Bargh says.

Gisborne writer Morehu Nikora won Te Pakiwaitara i te Reo Maori Award for best short story in Maori, while Tina Makereti from Kapiti took the English short story prize. Porirua grandmother K-T Harrison won the best novel extract.

GREENS SAY MAORI PARTY STANCE ON EMISSIONS HOT AIR
Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says the Maori Party's agreement with the Government on the Emissions Trading Scheme does the opposite of what the party set out to do.

The Maori Party will support the ETS legislation through to the select committee in exchange for changes including halving the impact of the scheme on power and petrol prices, boosting the amount going into home insulation for low income households, adding a Treaty clause and recognition that some previous treaty settlements may be worth less because of new rules to discourage deforestation.

Ms Turei says it appears the Maori Party is buying into the Government's plans for an intensity targets which give the biggest polluters the most public money.

“The Maori Party did say they wanted the polluter to pay. Now they’re saying the polluter should get paid. It begs the question of when are they going to stand up for what they believe in,” Ms Turei says.

FAIRNESS THE FOUNDATION OF PUBLIC WORKS ACT REFORM BID

Waiariki MP te Ururoa Flavell says corporate opposition to his bill to amend the Public Works Act hasn't swayed his conviction the current regime is a source of injustice to Maori.

Submissions on the bill have closed, with Telecom, Kiwirail, the New Zealand Transport Agency and others objecting to his bid to block land taken for one purpose being used for another.

The Waiariki MP is also concerned at the price demanded of Maori when land is returned, such as a block taken for a beacon for Rotorua airport.

“They confiscated this land and took it under the Public Works, put a beacon up and gave some compensation which I think was a couple of hundred dollars at the time. They no longer need it and they offered it back to the people at $124,000 or something in that vicinity plus gst . You’ve got to as yourself ‘jingers, it was their land for goodness sake, they should have the right to it,’” Mr Flavell says.

The bill before the Local Government and Environment Committee also covers general land taken under the Public Works Act.

RONGOA PLANTED IN EAST COAST MARAE PILOT

Pokai Marae at Tikapa on the East Coast is getting its hands dirty this week

The marae on the mouth of the Waiapu River is planting a traditional medicine garden to mark conservation week.

Awhina White from the Department of Conservation says DoC is helping out with fencing material, fertilizer, and plants.

She says rongoa such as korimiko and tawa make a great addition to any first aid kit.

“We've only picked up the ones that aren’t poisonous in their preparation so they’re for things like antiseptics or cuts, things if you have a stomach ache or a toothache, just those real minor things,” Ms White says.

If the trial goes well DoC hopes other marae on the Coast will start medicine gardens.

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