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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Submissions due on Maori Council review

The Maori Council is urging people to have their say on its future.

Submissions close on Friday to a Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the operation of the 1962 Maori Community Development Act, which provides the legal framework for the council and the Maori wardens.

Jim Nichols, the council's deputy chair, says while many iwi-centric organisations have emerged in recent years, there is still a need for a pan-Maori voice on national issues.

“We're hoping that the achievements of the council will be recognized, and that the council in whatever shape it takes in the future will be there to argue the treaty cases and any other breaches of legislation that has been put in place for the benefit of Maori,” Mr Nichols says.


The Greens say National's plans for conservation land are a threat not just to the natural environment but to treaty claims.

Prime Minister John Key told Parliament yesterday his government plans to change schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act, which prohibits mining or prospecting on large parts of the conservation estate.

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says Maori claimants can't get a look in on conservation land, but the government seems keen to open the door to big money interests.

“Most of the time they refuse to give conservation land to iwi in treaty settlements, but they are prepared to give it to international mining companies. There is a big issue there around their preference for mining companies as opposed to iwi,” Ms Turei says.

Up to 400 national parks, forest parks and marine reserves could be affected by the changes.


Maori music fans like their reggae, but they like their soul as well.
With Motown stars Martha and the Vandellas, the Four Tops, the Temptations and Mary Wilson playing the Mission Estate Vineyard on Saturday, Hawkes Bay Maori have come up with their own tribute to the sound of Detroit.

Organiser Dennis O'Reilly says tomorrow night's concert at Otatara Pa, a natural ampitheatre near Taradale, gives families a chance to enjoy the music as played by Maori stars, without the big ticket price.

Artists include Frankie Stevens, Rewa Ututaonga and Brannigan Kaa, and money raised will help Ngati Parau rebuild its meeting house.


Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey wants to see iwi co-management of Auckland's volcanic cones extended to Centennial Park, which makes up a significant part of the Waitakere ranges.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson has asked the Auckland Regional Council, which owns the park, to consider the idea.

Mayor Harvey says Waitakere City has worked closely with Te Kawerau a Maki in managing its parts of the ranges, and he sees no reason the partnership should not continue with the super city.

“Maori have proved over generations to be great custodians of the land. They have a heritage, here They have a partnership with the land and the past. I am delighted with such a great suggestion,” Mr Harvey says.

He says the Centennial Park plan is creative thinking which makes sense.


The manager of a Bay of Plenty iwi says any increase in GST will create extra work for iwi social services.

Paul Stanley from Ngaiterangi says the 20 percent increase flagged by Prime Minister John Key means less money in the pockets of the poor.

That will put pressure on families and create hidden problems in low income communities.

“A large amount of difficulties that happen in families are about money. We’ve seen a lot of family breakups and violent situations round money, and when the family do break up, it’s harder for mum or dad to have contact with children. There’s a lot of hidden stuff within it,” Mr Stanley says.

The government's work plan for the year is disappointing, because it avoided major problems in the economy such as the over-investment in housing.


And Canterbury University Maori studies head Rawiri Taonui says the Prime Minister's promise to weed out lazy students is a threat to Maori.

Mr Key says the government would target courses with high drop out or failure rates to improve the value of the $2.8 billion spent each year on tertiary education.

Mr Taonui says laziness isn't the reason 40 percent of Maori students fail or don't complete stage one university courses, compared to only 10 percent of Pakeha.

“If he brings in a regime like that, then that threatens to undermine the position of Maori in the universities because it doesn’t look at the problem in terms of teaching styles, the Pakeha nature of the institutions, the structural impediments to Maori making progress and so forth,” Mr Taonui says.

He says Mr Key's shake up could remove support mechanisms, making it even harder for Maori students to last the distance.


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