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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

PM defends Taitokerau mining consultation

The Prime Minister says Tai Tokerau iwi were consulted about plans to conduct an aerial survey to identify mineral deposits in Northland.

Te Rawara chair Haami Piripi says Maori have been left out of the loop because the Crown has assumed ownership of the most valuable minerals.

But John Key says there are opportunities for discussion throughout the process.

“The far north and the West Coast of the South Island, both will be subject to an aerial survey of non-schedule 4 land so they’re not the pristine conservation stuff. We’re gong to fly over, have a good look, decide whether there is much there. At that point we will say ‘yes there are substantial mineral deposits there and we want to issue a prospecting license,’ at that stage then obviously there will be potential discussions,” Mr Key says.

Maori would have rights to minerals found on their land, other than gold, silver, oil and gas.


The manager of a Maori problem gambling support group says while spending on pokies is tracking down nationally, there are still too many pokies in poor communities with high Maori and Polynesian populations.

The Department of Internal Affairs has reported 4.5 percent drop in the amount going through gambling machines in the year to June, and a cumulative 10 percent drop since 2007.

Total spending was just under $850 million.

Zoe Hawke from Hapai Te Hauora in Auckland says while her organisation is happy with the trend, there is no room for complacency.

“We still are concerned that pokie machines still are in lower social communities which means the money that is spent is coming from people who are struggling, so that is still something we need to be working at,” Ms Hawke says.


Meanwhile, one of those poorer communities is celebrating its new pokie-free status.

The Horeke Tavern in south Hokianga ditched its machines last year, bucking a trend which has given Northland one of the highest concentrations of gaming machines in the country.

Leasee Tunisia Joyce says she's glad to see them gone.

“It just drew the people away from one another. We used to socialise a lot. When those things ame in it just stopped. I think the pokie machines divided the community,” Mrs Joyce says.


Wakatu Incorporation will go back to the Government to seek support for a major aquaculture centre near Nelson.

Chief executive Keith Palmer says the Ministry for Economic Development turned down a request for $10 million, most of which was to build a pipeline bringing seawater to the Horoirangi Centre of Seafood and Aquaculture to allow for commercial-scale development of aquaculture ponds, hatcheries and incubators.

He says government seems to have its wires crossed about the development, which is a joint venture with the Cawthron Institute and the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

“Government seemed to change the rules and say it wasn’t scientifically based enough and we said no, we’ve got the scientific base. What this whole project is abut was converting the research we already have into a commercial base and therefore creating the jobs and the foreign income we want which is the end game of the whole lot, to create a working industry, not to create more science,” Mr Palmer says.

Wakatu is prepared to invest more than $20 million on the project, but it considered the pipeline was infrastructure which should rightly be paid for out of public funds.


The Prime Minister, John Key, says Great Barrier iwi had a strong influence factor in the Government's decision to back away from opening up schedule 4 conservation land to mining.

Mr Key says the Energy minister consulted extensively on the proposal.

“Gerry Brownlee went over and actually had a formal meeting with iwi over there. Their views were heavily taken into account and are one of the reasons we didn’t proceed and there are a number on the Barrier but certainly there was full consultation with iwi and we took on board their comment,” Mr Key says.

Iwi are also being consulted about a proposal to survey Northland by air to idenify mineral deposits.


Former All Black Bill Bush says it's time for Maori to take sports management into their own hands.

After last week's hui of Maori sporting leaders called by Maori Affairs Mnister Pita Sharples, Te Puni Kokiri has set up a working party to look at forming a new Maori sports body.

Mr Bush says it's not about breaking away from organisations like the New Zealand Rugby Union, but about creating alternatives for Maori sports people using Maori resources.

He says this year's Maori rugby centenary services showed there's a demand for Maori sport.

“We're gonna try and set up a putea by getting sponsors. If Sealord comes on board, 50 percent owned by Maori, they’ve very happy with what happened over the three games and they’d probably put more in and we’d go and look for some more,” Mr Bush says.


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