Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Court clears objections to Opotiki fish farm

The High Court has cleared the way for an iwi-led initiative to create the country's largest mussel farm.

The court rejected fisheries giant Sanford's claim commercial fishing would be harmed by Eastern Sea Farms' plan to develop 3800 hectares off Opotiki in the Easter Bay of Plenty.

Whakatohea Maori Trust Board owns 54 percent of the company, with the rest held by Sealord and New Zealand Sea Farms.

Director Ian Craig says the victory was eight years in the making.

“We're very happy with it. We put everything on hold pending the court decision. Now it’s gone our way we can start planning for the future,” Mr Craig says.

Shareholders will meet in November to map the way forward.


The head of Maori Television is defending what's seen as a close relationship between the channel and the Maori Party.

Party co-leader Pita Sharples last week referred to a revised bid for Rugby World Cup broadcast rights as a Maori Party-led bid, and while it may have been a slip of the tongue, the Maori Affairs Minister worked closely with Maori Television on its initial bid.

MTS chief executive Jim Mather says Maori TV is not aligned with any political party, there is a close affinity with the Maori party which came to the fore during the rugby coverage saga.

“The Maori Party and Maori Television will probably have a greater level of affinity because of our shared understanding of te ao Maori and also because both organisations have a strong underlying kaupapa Maori foundation that certainly guides the way our organisation develops and progresses,” Mr Mather says.

He was disturbed by the behaviour of senior government ministers, and praised Prime Minister John Key for stepping with the solution of a joint bid with TVNZ and TV3 ... even if it means Maori Television will no longer get the exclusive free to air rights it was seeking.


Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says the Maori Party is abandoning its constituents by backing National's changes to Accident Compensation.

Maori Party support will allow a bill cutting ACC entitlements to get to a selection committee, and Tariana Turia has indicated her party could even consider opening up parts of the corporation to competition if it believes it would be good for Maori.

Ms Turei says the changes flagged so far indicate the opposite will be the case.

“A $100 excess payment you would have to make before you get access to treatment simply means those n the lowest income won’t get the treatment they need to get back to work,” Ms Turei says.


The chair of Maori technology investor Hautaki limited says Maori will never get a better opportunity to invest in mobile phone company Two Degrees.

Brian Leighs yesterday reported to Hautaki's parent body, Te Huarahi Tika Maori spectrum trust, on efforts to raise about $20 million from Maori.

This will maintain the Maori stake in Two Degrees at 20 percent, but the option is set to expire at the end of the month.

Mr Leighs says it's hard to find Maori organisations willing to consider investments outside traditional areas like property, farming and natural resources ... but they could be kicking themselves in future.

“Getting in now at the ground floor, the price these shares are being offered was set back in January, February 2009 which was six months before launch. Now the company has launched successfully, it’s operating and it’s generating revenues so the execution risk is considerably less so the next time any shares come round available to Maori, they will probably be at a significantly higher price,” Mr Leighs says.

Maori organisations are required to invest at least $500,000 if they want to be in.


Tariana Turia says the Maori Party is backing the introduction of National's Accident Compensation reform bill to prevent ACT having a bigger say in its composition.

The Maori Party co-leader says it doesn't mean the MPs will back fee increases and entitlement cuts once the bill gets to the select committee.

But she says the risk was ACT using its relationship with National to drive through its privatisation agenda.

“My concern is they’ll sell off the workers’ account and it’s the only part of ACC that’s making a profit. They’ll sell it off to an insurance company because insurance companies will not take an parts of ACC that are not earning a profit,” Mrs Turia says.

Taxpayers would be left with the non - earning parts of ACC which would mean fee increases.


The mountain and the river were out in force today to see Te Atawhai Taiaroa of Tuwharetoa and te Atiahu a Paparangi made a knight commander of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

More than 600 people gathered at his old school, Hato Paora in Feilding, to mark the occasion.

Naida Glavish from Ngati Whatua, who served with Sir Atawhia on Te Ohu Kaimona, says he has highly developed skills which he brings to chairing the fisheries commission and other Maori organisations.

“He's an amazing facilitator who has the ability to see two sides of a story and of course he’s absolutely having been raised by the grandparent generation, the ability to develop reconciliation in conflict between parties,” Ms Glavish says.

Sir Atawhai is also known for his knowledge of tikanga, and his deep humility.

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