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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, December 04, 2009

Sharples defends statutory board concept

Maori Party leader Pita Sharples says a statutory Maori board is the best he could do for Maori representation on the Auckland super city, but Maori should still push for seats on the council.

The Tamaki Makaurau MP told a local government hui in Auckland today that Maori should continue pushing for representation as of right.

Auckland iwi have threatened to boycott the statutory board, which would include seven mana whenua representatives and two representing Maori from outside the rohe.

Dr Sharples says Local Government Minister Rodney Hide was adamantly opposed to any Maori presence at all, and the board was the best that could be done in the circumstances.

I just felt obliged in Cabinet to fight for that statutory body because one, Rodney was having a lot of power and he wanted nothing and so Cabinet moved in the middle and so were looking at an advisory group, so we moved above that and looked at a statutory body which is going to go through,” Dr Sharples says.

He says Auckland is a test case for the rest of the country.

WATER BEING PRIVATISED BY STEALTH

A Maori lawyer says Maori are being shut out of the management of the country's fresh water resources.

A national hui next week will hear from iwi leaders who have been working with government officials on water policy.

Willie Te Aho, who has been involved in a similar exercise on climate change policy, says concerted action is needed before it's too late ... and it may already be too late.

“People have assumed like the foreshore and seabed that there is no ownership but the reality is that there are others who have played I guess a government rights game, consents or permits for water, effectively have ownership of water and it’s long overdue that this matter be addressed,” Mr Te Aho says.

He says few water permits are in the hands of Maori incorporations or iwi.

DUTCH SANTA GETS FOXTON MAORI WELCOME

The Dutch father Christmas is getting a Maori welcome.

Sinterklaas will get a powhiri from Horowhenua hapu tomorrow to mark the launch of a $12 million project to build a Dutch arts and crafts museum in Foxton.

Hayley Bell from Ngati Raukawa says in the Netherlands Sinterklaas traditionally arrives on a steam boat, so the people of Foxton have come up with their own version, a waka.

Hayley Bell says the Dutch families who settled around Foxton fitted in well with Maori.

IWI LEADERS TOUTED AS CONDUIT FOR LOBBYING PUSH

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is urging Maori to work through their iwi leaders to get more representation in local government.

Dr Sharples told a hui in Auckland today organised by the Iwi Have Influence lobby group that the proposed Maori statutory board to advise the Auckland super city was the best he could manage against the determined opposition of Local Government Minister Rodney Hide.

Hui participants said the board, which will include seven mana whenua members and two representing Maori from elsewhere, falls far short of what they are seeking.

But Dr Sharples says it's a start, and the issue is larger than Auckland.

“This is an opportunity for this group that is meeting today to call together iwi saying ‘look you’re doing well, you’ve got a front door to the Prime Minister and to government in negotiations, you’ve got the support of the Maori Party in most things you’re doing there, how about now you support this principle of mana whenua and rally around and put total iwi support from throughout New Zealand in behind this move,’” Dr Sharples says.

Maori should also push mayoral candidates to support Maori seats if they are elected.

MAORI TELEVISION ON TRACK FOR THREE TUA FIGHTS

Maori Television will broadcast the next three David Tua fights.

Chief executive Jim Mather fronted a media conference today with boxer David Tua and American promoter Cedric Kushner to announce the first fight will be on February 7 against former World Boxing Association heavyweight champion Bruce Seldon in Seldon's home town of Atlantic City.

It will be followed by a bout in New Zealand in March and another in Hawaii in May against as yet unnamed opponents.

Mr Maher says Maori Television is branding it the Tua de Force, and it will attract the channel’s largest ever audiences.

David Tua told the press conference his relationship with Maori Television is more than just a business arrangement, and the channel's support for his fight against Shane Cameron was crucial for his bid to become world champion.

CHAMPIONS GALORE IN MAORI AWARDS

And Maori Television will this weekend celebrate a group of Maori who are already world champions.

It will carry delayed coverage of tomorrow night's Maori sports award at the Telstra Clear Events Centre in Manukau.

Eight of the world's best will be honoured, including woodchoppers Jason and Karmyn Wynyard, rower Storm Uru and cage fighter James Te Huna.

Commentator Ken Laban says Maori have made major contributions to New Zealand's sporting legacy, and the awards are a way to highlight that.

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