Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Brash report wants hurry up on water rights

The head of the Rotorua Lakes Trust says the Government can expect rough sailing is it adopts a recommendation from former National Party leader Don Brash to create a system of tradable water rights.

The recommendation is part of Don Brash's 2025 Taskforce prescription for closing the income gap with Australia.

Toby Curtis says iwi have been talking to successive Governments about ownership and allocation of water, and the issue is too important to get diverted into another political agenda.

“Well hopefully we can get some protocols so we don’t get everybody like Don Brash and others thinking the water is there for the pickings and in terms of the water being an asset and a treasure, we want to make sure that’s what it is and it doesn’t just become another commodity for sale,” Mr Curtis says

The issue of tradeable rights is sure to be a topic of spirited debate at next week's iwi Maori national summit on freshwater management in Wellington.


Maori concerned at their exclusion from local government will meet in Auckland this to plan their next move.

Friday's hui is being organised by the action group Ihi ... or Iwi Have Influence... which organised the super city hikoi down Queen Street.

Rau Hoskins from Nga Puhi, Ngati Wai and Ngati Hau says Maori need strong representation in local government.

“This hui will be the beginning of what we hope is national concerted action of increasing Maori participation in local government. By that I mean meaningful participation rather than the usual Maori liaison officer and occasional mana whenua committees that are sometime consulted and some times are ignored,” Mr Hosking says.

The all day hui will be at Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae at Unitec


More than 1300 collective kilos have been shed during the 12-week whanau weight loss challenge in South Auckland.

Organiser Tahuna Minhinnick from public health group Mana Whenua ki Tamaki Makaurau organiser says three quarters of the 500 Maori who took part in teams of ten were weighed in at the weekend and the rest will be put on the scales over the next three or four days.

The biggest weight loss was 32kg. The winning team lost 135 kg.

Tahuna Minhinnick says everyone who took part and lost weight felt they were a winner, even it they didn't get the top prize of $21,000.


A lawyer who works the south Auckland courts says Maori clients could be disadvantaged if the government over-reacts to Dame Margaret Bazley's criticism of the circuit.

In her report on the legal aid system, Dame Margaret claimed 80 percent of lawyers working the Manukau court were gaming the system, and she slammed so-called "car boot" lawyers ... who often only see their clients on the steps of the courthouse

Catriona MacLennan says if the former Social Welfare head has evidence lawyers were corrupt or incompetent, she should give it to the police or the law society.

She says Dame Margaret didn't talk to lawyers working in the court and failed to appreciate the people they act for don't have organised lives.

“We deal with a lot of people who have drug and alcohol addictions, mental health problems personality disorders. It would make life so much easier if we could make an appointment for someone to come and see us in an office and they would turn up at that time but it’s just not going to happen. Eighty percent of our clients don't have cars,” Ms MacLennan says.

Appointing more judges and switching to electronic files would greatly speed up the delivery of justice in South Auckland.


Labour leader Phil Goff says the Brash 2025 Taskforce recommendations would have a devastating effect on Maori.

He says the former National Party leader's recipe for New Zealand incomes to catch up with Australia is to take money out of the pockets of the poor and give it to the rich.

He says it will push the Maori families who benefited from Labour's Living for Families package back under the poverty line.

“Low income workers have had their pay frozen for five years according to Bill English and worse still what if the National Party actually does act on this Brash report, that is going to have a huge impact, a devastating impact on Maoridom,” Mr Goff says.

He says it looks like the Key government commissioned the Brash report so its own measures don't look so extreme.


A Rotorua iwi health organisation says drugs and alcohol abuse is a major factor in suicide and self-harm among Maori.

Kia Piki Te Ora, a suicide prevention group set up by Te Runanga o Ngati Pikiao, has just won funding from Lakeland Health to tackle the problem.

Project leader Michael Naera says Maori are often reluctant to ask for help, so the group will work at community level to break down the stigma.

He says Maori suicide rates are 50 percent higher than non-Maori, and the percentage is even higher in the greater Rotorua area.

“Drugs and alcohol leads to things like family violence which in terms affects the children, wanting to take their life. There are issues with our wahine, because of family violence, wanting to take their life,” Mr Naera says.

Problem gambling and other mental health issues are also major factors in suicide.

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