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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Te Ohu Kaimoana naïve on whaling stance

Green co-leader Metiria Turei says Te Ohu Kaimoana's support for Japanese whaling is based on myths and compromises New Zealand's anti-whaling position.

After attending last week's International Whaling Commission meeting in Morocco, the Maori fisheries trust's chief executive Peter Douglas spoke in favour of Japan being allowed to meet a traditional demand for whale meat.

But Ms Turia says Japanese whaling isn't the customary activity by local communities that Te Ohu Kaimoana claims, but a commercial operation.

“Supporting the Japanese government on commercial whaling is the wrong road to take. I think it makes them look naïve in an international context and it’s disappointing for Maori to have a Maori organisation represent us in that way,” Ms Turei says.

She says by supporting Japanese commercial whaling, Te Ohu Kaimoana is undermining its own argument for Maori customary rights to whales.


Ngati Whatua's chief executive Tiwana Tibble says the tribe's harbourside land is the best site for a proposed national convention centre.

The Ministry of Economic Development is weighing up responses to its call for expressions of interest in building a $300 million convention centre.
Several proposals have come from Auckland, including beefing up the Aotea Centre, Sky City or the ASB centre in Greenlane.

Mr Tibble says the best site is the 3 hectares next to the Vector Arena which Ngati Whatua leased to Auckland City Council several years ago.
He says the land is undeveloped, but a 15 year rent holiday ends soon.

“From August of next year they will start to pay a lot of rent. Now we think as ratepayers ourselves, does that make a lot of sense to be paying a lot of rent if you are doing nothing with it? We don’t see lazy assets as being in the best interests of the city council,” Mr Tibble says.

He says rivals Sky City and the Aotea Centre are trying to undermine Ngati Whatua's proposal by playing up a false assumption that a convention centre should be only a 10 minute walk from hotels.

A south Auckland budget advisor predicts Maori families will be hit hardest by tomorrow's energy price rises.

Electricty and fuel costs are set to go up to cover the impact of the introduction of the Emissions Trading Scheme, which puts a cost of greenhouse gas emissions.

Ripeka Taipari of Whare Mauriora Budgeting Service in Otahuhu says many Maori families barely get enough to live on now, and they could face some unpleasant shocks in the months ahead when they get their power bills.

“Our whanau won’t be able to afford power any more so there will be a lack of warmth in their home for their tamariki. In talking to my customers yesterday and today, none of them know what this means and none of them really know what the impact is going to be on their whanau. They will only see when the bills start coming in that they have to pay extra money,” Mrs Taipari says.


A Maori academic says a ban on smoking in prisons could be acceptable for health reasons, but it should not be imposed as a way for the government to look tough.

Corrections Minister, Judith Collins, has confirmed smokes are out from July next year, both to make jail safer and healthier for staff and inmates and to reduce the government's liability to claims over the harm caused by secondhand smoke.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori and ethnic studies at Canterbury University, says on its face the move is progressive, but there is room for doubt.

“What you find in the United States is that prisons that have the no smoking regime tend to be the ones that also execute prisoners. It tends to be a way of punishing people rather than helping them,” he says.


The leader of protests against oil exploration in the Raukumara basin says Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee failed the test of consultation.

Mr Brownlee yesterday released a chronology showing the attempts made by officials in 2008 and earlier this year to talk with Maori groups in Tairawhiti about the proposal to issue a licence to Brazilian oil giant Petrobras.

Ani Pahuru - Huriwai, who organised the lighting of ahi kaa fires on beaches around the East Cape last weekend, says a quick call to the Ngati Porou runanga isn't good enough.

“It's the hapu that is really concerned but also the general public of New Zealand is concerned and nobody n the general public or Maori were informed of what was happening,” Mrs Pahuru-Huriwai says.


The chair of Aquaculture New Zealand says ambitious plans by Maori groups for offshore marine farms can work, given time and expertise.

Peter Vitasovich says his own Greenshell New Zealand mussel farms around the Coromandel Peninsula took a decade to start making profits.

The same patience will be needed by groups like the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board, which is developing a space 8 nautical miles off Opotiki in the eastern Bay of Plenty.

“It will take time but the key is they have got the water space and that gives them the ability to start planning for the future. They have some good people looking at different species, different ways of farming. It will require a high level of investment but if they get it right it will be well worth it,” Mr Vitasovich says.

He is picking the aquaculture sector to be a billion dollar a year industry by 2025.


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