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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Legal aid lawyers stirring iwi conflict

Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson is accusing lawyers on legal aid of fuelling Treaty disputes within Maoridom.

Former Minister Parekura Horomia says the four biggest recipients of legal aid are big law firms doing treaty settlement work.

He says it's an unhealthy situation.

“Tensions are running high between groups of people in settlements, like part of the new business in settlements is people who are getting legal aid and then all sorts of unnecessary setting to between each other and iwi and hapu,” Mr Horomia says

He supports a review of the legal aid system being headed by former social welfare director general and Waitangi Tribunal member Dame Margaret Bazley.


Acting Prime Minister Bill English says the roll out of broadband throughout the country will have huge benefits for Maori in rural areas.

He says a factor in the $1.5 billion commitment to high speed broadband wan an acceptance that commercial telephone companies would not make the investment needed to give rural areas the most up to date communications infrastructure.

Mr English says the response from Maori has been extremely positive because they realise a commercial telephone company would not have made such a commitment to people living in rural areas.

“I've been pretty impressed in the discussions I have been having with different iwi around the country how quickly they have got a sense of the opportunity and some of them have got themselves pretty organised to see if they can participate in the roll out,” Mr English says.

The government is pleased at the positive response to the roll out announcement.


It will be be another three years before Venus passes between the earth and the sun... but a tono is already going out from the people of Uawa to commemorate New Zealand's part in an earlier transit.

A 30-strong group from Te Aitanga a Hauiti is headed for Europe to visit sites significant to East Coast whanau, such as the trenches and tunnels of the world wars.

Tolaga Bay school principal Nori Parata says the group will also visit Whitby, where James Cook trained as a sailor, and the Natural History Museum in London.

“Because in 2012 the next transit ov Venus will be visible and that’s the reason James Cook came out here and so we’re hoping to host the national focus for the transit of Venus here in Uawa,” Ms Parata says.


It's the first day of the new fishing season, and the phones are going overtime as iwi asset holding companies work out who is going to fish their annual catch entitlement.

Iwi now own quota outright, rather than lease it year by year from fisheries settlement trust Te Ohu Kaimoana.

Broker and consultant Tony Magner from Hamilton-based Tahi Marine says there's a sense of maturity in the sector, after years of fighting about how the settlement would be allocated.

“Most people have prepared or organised themselves into direct relationships or gathered themselves together into groups or consortia and have established arrangements with existing players or established their own operations,” Mr Magner says.

This season iwi can look forward to a boost on the balance sheet from a 22 percent increase in the hoki total allowable catch and the first dividend from pan-Maori company Aotearoa Fisheries.


An iwi environmental manager fears the Environmental Protection Agency launched today will work against Maori best interests.

Ngarimu Blair from Ngati Whatua says the government's record on resource and representation issues so far is not good.

He says the fact the EPA has been set up to streamline resource consent processes rings warning bells with the Auckland iwi.

“We're already streamlined out of resource management consultation processes under existing legislation so if there is further streamlining through the EPA all I can imagine is we are even further away from having any real impact on major projects and resource management issues that affect our harbours, rivers and communities,” Mr Blair says.

Ngati Whatua wants to see some form of Maori decision-making power at a similar level to the Environmental Protection Agency.


The South Auckland Health Foundation and Counties Manukau District Health Board are on the hunt for Maori who want a career in health.

Scholarship project coordinator Nicki Winn says the aim is to get a workforce that reflects the community.

She says more than 60 scholarships are on offer each year to Manukau residents, with Maori typically taking up about a third.

The scholarships can be for nursing of full medical degrees to shorter courses like nutrition.

Nicki Winn says scholarship recipients will be encouraged to seek work in Manukau after their training.


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