Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, November 02, 2009

Coastline access key to foreshore review

Labour MP Shane Jones says there may be less to the proposed repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed than meets the eye.

Maori Party co-leader and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples and Attorney General Chris Finlayson took a paper to today's Cabinet setting a work plan for repealing and replacing the controversial Act, brought in by the previous Labour Government after the Court of Appeal opened the door for iwi and hapu to establish customary rights through the courts.

Shane Jones says any debate will come down to two principles.

“New Zealanders enjoy treating as their birthright access, recreation and enjoying the coast. Secondly, there ahs to be a legal process to test the nature to which Maori rights still subsist in the seabed and foreshore environment but realpolitik would dictate that public access is non-negotiable,” Mr Jones says.

He says the process developed by Labour was starting to work, with Ngati Porou and Whanau a Apanui negotiating their claims to foreshore and seabed along the East Coast.


Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki says his critics are attacking him because they are embarrassed about their own waste of government funds.

The televison evangelist says suggestions he personally gets half a million dollars a year in donations over and above a similar salary are way off the mark.

He says in its 111 years Destiny has turned around thousands of lives for the better, many of them Maori.

“That’s what's outstanding about this ministry and why I think a lot of government agencies and media people and different organisations are jumping up and down because they’re heavily funded with millions of dollars, don’t see much outcome or fruits or work for what they do and yet here we are operating on the smell of an oily rag and what they cal poor people who are giving money and we are getting results,” Mr Tamaki says.

He says any donations are totally voluntary.


Ngai Tahu will be on reduced rations this year, with the financial crisis and the property slowdown hitting South Island tribe's earnings.

Revenue from trading activities dropped $13 million to $164 million.
A $30 million hit from property revaluations wiping out last year's $25 million rise, and a $7 loss on foreign exchange hedging in the fishing business helped drag the net surplus to 19 million, compared with $64 million in 2008.

Tribal development grants and distributions to runanga dropped by 20 percent over the year to $12.9 million, but the cost of running the tribe's runanga went up by a similar percentage to $10.4 million.

Total assets now stand at $657 million, up $13 million.

Kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon says Ngai Tahu is well positioned to weather the current economic storm because of its intergenerational policies and conservative approach to financial investment.


The Minister of Maori Affairs is planning more pilot schemes to make the case for a massive shift of resources from mainstream to Maori providers.

Pita Sharples last week launched the Kaitoko Whanau scheme, under which 50 iwi and Maori providers will take on advocates to help families under stress interface with government agencies.

Next up will be the Oranga Whanau, which will use kuia to work with new mothers and young families and get them the help and support they need.

Dr Sharples says the pilots funded from his Te Puni Kokiri budget are a taster for the Maori Party's Whanau Ora policy, which aims to shift up to $1 billion from the health budget.

“It's not the whole of the Whanau Ora project that we’re going to launch next year, that Tariana Turia’s pushing through the health portfolio, where we really intend to empower our people with some of the money that’s sort of being misspent if you like or being spent on our behalf on things that aren’t getting any results at all,” Dr Sharples says.

He says Maori know the solutions to their own problems, but they need the money to do the job.


Economist Susan St John from the Child Poverty Action Group says changing the rules for Working For Families could help cushion thousands of Maori children from the recession.

Dr St John says the Ministry of Social Development’s 2009 report indicates child poverty is up 6 percent, a figure which includes a disproportionate number of Maori.

She says making beneficiaries eligible for Working for Families would mitigate the economic downturn.

“The part of the package that doesn’t go to children in homes supported by a benefit is worth $60 or more a week to such a family so it’s a significant amount of money and the government could overnight say right, all families will have this payment on the same basis,” Dr St John says.

The Social Development report indicates major work needs to be done in housing and health to address some of the causes of poverty.


Maori Party president and Maori Anglican leader Whatarangi Winiata says Destiny Church founder Brian Tamaki is making a positive contribution to many Maori.

The self-styled bishop is under fire for getting 700 male followers to swear an oath of allegiance, and the ceremony brought renewed claims he lives a lavish lifestyle on the donations of devotees.

But Professor Winiata, who led the drive to create a separate Maori stream within the Anglican church, says Maori have a different view of the Tainui preacher.

“I haven't heard anything from Te Pihopitanga o Aotearoa that has been negative about Brian. I think what we observed has been uplifting for a lot of our people,” Professor Winiata says.

He enjoys watching Bishop Tamaki's televised services, and the Anglican church could do with a bit of his style.


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