Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, October 16, 2009

Confidentiality breach driving grand coalition

Labour MP Shane Jones says the Prime Minister's intervention in the Rugby World Cup broadcast rights row was driven by fear of legal action rather than sympathy for Maori Television's position.

John Key this week retracted a promise made by Broadcasting Minister Jonathon Coleman to back a revised TVNZ bid, and asked the three free to air broadcasters to work on a collective bid led by Maori Television.

Mr Jones says the only reason the former Merrill Lynch trader would step in was the undeniable suspicion Mr Coleman or other National Party ministers had passed commercial information to competitors.

That made the situation politically and legally untenable.

“Well there's two sides to this. There’s political melt down between him and the Maori Party, we hope to see a lot more of that, and secondly, without a doubt, a high court case decided against the government would have cost million of dollars, far beyond the $3 million Pita Sharples has made available as a subsidy,” Mr Jones says.

He says the tv rights fiasco pales into significance beside the biggest news of the week, the Government's inability to deal with the $10 billion hole in the country's accounts.


Northland iwi Te Roroa is welcoming plans to create a national park around the region's kauri forests.

Conservation Minister Tim Groser has asked the New Zealand Conservation Authority to investigate turning conservation land into a park, including Waipoua forest, the home of giant kauri Tane Mahuta, and nearby Trounson Kauri Park.

Alex Nathan from Te Roroa says the idea has been floated before, but tangata whenua were unwilling to allow it to go ahead until their treaty claims were resolved.

He says while a national park may bring extra investment and opportunities for eco-tourism, Te Roroa isn't waiting for the bureaucrats.

“We're developing this concept of a Western corridor which starts at Kaiwaka, and involved Matakohe Kauri Museum. The idea is to promote the whole west coast and the forest is part of that and the other end is the Hokianga connections,” Mr Nathan says.

Te Roroa is also working with a group from the Japanese island of Yakashima on the union of ancient trees, creating tourism exchanges around the forests.


Taonga puoro player Horomona Horo is tonight putting his pipes up against those of the organ at St Lukes in the City in Christchurch.

It's the opening event in a three day celebration of the church's 150th anniversary.

Horo, who has whakapapa connections to Ngapuhi, Taranakai and Ngati Porou, says people have played bagpipes and brass instruments with church organs, but not as far as he knows traditional Maori instruments.

Next week Horo will take his pukaea, putorino, koauau, putatara to Rotorua, where he will work alongside a choirs at the New Zealand Sing festival.


Maori in the Eastern Bay of Plenty are upset the Tasman paper mill at Kawerau can continue to pollute the Tarawera River for another 25 years.

Tipene Marr from Ngati Rangitihi says consent issued by Environment Bay of Plenty this week puts no pressure on the owners Carter Holt Harvey and Norske Skog to clean up the lifeless black drain.

Maori argued for a 10 year consent, and Mr Marr says the company's argument a longer term was needed because of the recession was farcical.

“It just makes you sick. We’re going to have to wait anther generatin of children to even have our river even looked at again. Then they’ll give them another extension. There’s no guarantee in 25 years it will be clean. Big business winning over the environment,” Mr Marr says.

Ngati Rangitahi will appeal the decision to the Environment Court.


The Greens are inviting Maori to join a protest tomorrow outside Mt Eden Prison against prison privatisaion.

Co-leader Metiria Turei says the Government intends to table a bill next week that will open the way for private companies to run prisons.

She says Maori have a major stake in the issue, both as guards and guarded.

“We do not want people making a profit from the bias and discrimination in our legal system that means more than 50 percent of our prison population is Maori. If the state is going to exercise the strongest power that is incarceration, the elimination of your freedoms, then that should be done by the state and the public should have maximum oversight over what the state is doing,” Ms Turei says.

The protest starts at noon at Takahe Reserve.


Tamariki from Ngati Whatua Ki Orakei will tomorrow start learning the basics of life on the moana.

Grant Dalton from Emirates Team New Zealand says the eight-week learn to sail course at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club stems from a conversation at a Louis Vuitton event at Orakei Marae with the Hawke brothers, who he knew growing up in Orakei.

He says the team is keen to strengthen its relationship with Ngati Whatua, including fostering a love of sailing which could lead to jobs or career opportunities.

He hopes local kids will eventually be queuing up for the chance to learn to sail.


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