Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Maori Concil saying taihoa to water grab

The New Zealand Maori Council has been given a chance to argue public and Treaty of Waitangi interests should be taken into account when resource consents are handed out.

The Supreme Court has granted the council intervenor status in a case on whether milk processor Synlait or the Central Plains Water irrigation scheme should have priority to water from the Rakaia River.

Council deputy chair Jim Nichols says the case will affect how the Resource Management Act operates in future, and it's important the Maori interest is heard.

“Maori have not been in a position to say taihoa, he taonga tuku iho tenei, but we are now in a position to actually put a point of view that we hope will benefit Maori in the cases that will come before the court in the future,” Mr Nichols says.

Waikaremoana claimant Vern Winitana from Ngati Ruapani and power generator Trustpower were also granted intervenor status.

SELECT COMMITTEE DEBATING MEASURES TO STEM TOBACCO USE

The Maori Affairs Select Committe's inquiry into the tobacco industry is entering the home stretch.

Chairperson Tau Henare says after three weeks of hearings and a raft of statistics and stories, there are only a few more submissions to come before the committee writes its report.

He says the panel of three National, three Labour and one Maori Party MP is both united... and divided.

“You'll find 100 percent agree that it’s bad for you. It’s just what you do about it. There are differing opinions, whether you ban displays, put the taxes up, ban tobacco altogether. There’s a diverse range of views,” Mr Henare says.

There is one more hearing with tobacco industry representatives before the committee reports back to Parliament in early July.

AOTEAROA AIMING TO WIN AT WAKA AMA WORLDS

Aotearoa and Tahiti are dominating the start of the Waka Ama world championships in New Caledonia.

More than 2500 athletes and official from 20 countries are taking to the waters of Anse Vata Bay in the capital Noumea.

Hoturoa Kerr, who is coaching one of the junior men's teams, says a lot of the early competition is between New Zealand and Tahiti, the sport's traditional home.

The waka ama World Champs end on Saturday.

DON‘T MESS WITH WARDENS, COMMITTEE TOLD

The chair of the Maori Affairs select committee says the committee is getting a strong message not to mess with the Maori Wardens.

The committee is reviewing the 1962 Maori Community Development Act, which covers both the wardens and the Maori Council.

Tau Henare says the majority of submissions favour retaining the wardens.

“The feeling that I am getting form a lot of the submissions is don’t muck around with us, we want to operate as an independent body and give us more resources, give us more training and we will do the job we have been dong the past 50 years, and I think what we are seeing is that wardens are an integral part of Maori society,” Mr Henare says.

Although the Wardens have been training with the Police, people don't want them turned into a de facto volunteer police force.

HOUSE BUILDING LOW PRIORITY FOR GOVERNMENT

Green co-leader Metiria Turei says spending on state houses should come before motorways.

Ms Turei says the onset of winter weather is a reminder of how many families are stuck in cold and damp houses, leading to ongoing health problems.

She says there was no new money in last week's Budget to build up the stock of state houses, despite there being more than 10,000 people on the waiting list.

“Many of those families are Maori families. Many of them are living in garages or living on overcrowded conditions or living in housing they can’t afford and are desperate for somewhere safe, dry and warm. This government will spend $10 billion on new motorways but won’t build new state houses,” Ms Turei says.

She says whanau on low and fixed incomes are about to be hit by both a rise in GST and a rise in rents as private landlords pass on new property tax changes.

RANGATAHI TRY TO ENCOURAGE HEALTHY ATTITUDES TO ALCOHOL

Tai Rawhiti rangatahi are making their masquerade ball in Ruatoria tonight part of youth week focus on alcohol use.

Jimmy Hill from the Ruatoria Youth Council says tonight's ball will be followed by a forum tomorrow that includes motivational speakers, games and sports.

He says it's important young people understand the place of alcohol in their social environment.

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