Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Maori spectrum trust considers rematch

Te Huarahi Tika Trust may go back to the government to seek help maintaining the Maori stake in mobile phone company Two Degrees.

The trust's annual meeting this week hear there is a risk the Maori shareholding could fall below 20 percent if buyers can be found before the end of the month for $20 million of new shares.

Chair Mavis Mullins says the trust, which was formed after national Maori organisations challenged the sell off of spectrum suitable for third generation mobile phone networks, says the deal done a decade ago doesn't meet the needs of Maori today.

“People made a big deal at the start of $5 million being given to Maori to undertake this work but the reality is there’s been an excess of $200 million invested to date to get it where it is so underfunding yes, absolutely, but we’ve made the best of it and there is still a lot of work to do,” Mrs Mullins says.

Maori organisations may be unwilling buy Two Degrees shares because they're not as comfortable with technology investments as they are with putting their money into farming or forestry.

ORDERLY SUCCESSION PLANNED FOR MAORI PARTY PRESIDENT

Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia says a succession plan will be put in place to find a replacement for the party's founding president.

Whatarangi Winiata had indicated before last weekend's conference he wanted to retire, but delegates could not reach agreement on the three people who out their names forward for the post.

Mrs Turia says delegates were aware Professor Winiata's term doesn't actually expire until next year.

“What they asked him was whether he would see his term through and in the meantime that he begins to look at developing these people,” Mrs Turia says.

SUMMIT ON CLEANING UP WAIKATO RIVER

Tainui's ambition to clean up the Waikato River should get a boost today as farmers, scientists and regulators get together for the second Waikato agricultural summit.

Alan Campbell, the sustainable agriculture co-ordinator for Environment Waikato regional council, says a balance is being sought between economic, environmental and community values.

He says the pastoral industry has in the past been a major contributor to river degradation, but farmers have been tackling issues like protecting stream banks, erosion control and improving effluent control.

“Despite the fact there are still problems, lots of progress has been made. Our challenge is to continue that progress and step it up, and out pathway forward is to do it collectively,” Mr Campbell says.

Today's summit will hear about steps to halt the increase in nutrients and sediment getting into the river

ALBIE TAHANA DIES SUDDENLY

Ngati Pikiao and te Arawa are mourning the death of former Te Arawa Maori Trust Board chair Arapeta Tahaha.

Mr Tahana, who was in his 60s, had a heart attack at a Rotorua gym yesterday afternoon.

As well as playing a prominent tribal role in negotiations over compensation for the Rotorua lakes, Mr Tahana was a former president of Mana Motuhake and a former chief executive of Waiariki Polytechnic.

Labour's Maori Affairs spokesperson Parekura Horomia says his former Labour Department colleague was dedicated to improving the situation of
Maori.

“And he was really one of those people who pushed the barriers to make sure Maori had a clear say in education and he was really keen on doing things Maori for Maori and by Maori. That was Albie and he will be sorely lost by Ngati Pikiao and Te Arawa whanaui,” Mr Horomia says.

Arapeta Tahana will be taken to Tapuwaeharuru Marae on Lake Rotoiti this morning.

BIG NUMBERS GENERATE ACC CREDIBILITY CRISIS

Tariana Turia says the Maori Party is backing National's changes to Accident Compensation because the Labour government left the corporation in crisis.

Labour has slammed the Maori Party for agreeing to vote for the introduction of a bill that will gut entitlements and open the door for privatisation.

It says the Government is creating an imaginary crisis, and problems with ACC's balance sheet can be fixed by delaying by five years the deadline for forward funding all potential claims.

But Mrs Turia says the crisis is real.

“They left the ACC in huge debt. I’m not an economist but my understanding is that it was $2.2 billion the year before they went out and in the year they went out of power it had gone up to $4.7 billion so that’s a lot of money,” Mrs Turia says.

The Maori Party is also backing National's plans to cut up to 500 administrative jobs in the health sector, because it believes it will lead to better services for Maori patients.

TARANAKI FESTIVAL ORGANISED WITH EYE TO FUTURE

Organisers of the first Taranaki Maori festival says the event may eventually move around the rohe.

Descendants of the eight Taranaki iwi are being invited to Waitara on November 13 for three days of kapa haka, sports and debate.

Co-ordinator Emere Wano from Tu Mai Charitable Trust says it's a cautious start, but it’s a big kaupapa to coordinate eight iwi.

Meanwhile up the road in Te Kuiti the six day Maniapoto festival is well under way, with today's activities including hunting, fishing, and eeling as people get ready for a weekend of sports and celebratio

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