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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, September 13, 2010

Harawira threatens no vote on marine bill

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira says he may not vote for the Marine and Coastal Area Bill.
When the replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act was introduced last week, his colleague Te Ururoa Flavell said all five Maori Party MPs would be supporting it.

But Mr Harawira says many Maori are angry about what's not in the bill, and the party needs to discuss its position further.

“We've got our first caucus meeting tonight, another one tomorrow morning, I understand it’s in the House tomorrow and then we’ll see where we are with it at that point. Chances are the Maori Party will want to be supporting it, until at least first reading, but the issues of confiscation remain, but the issues of discrimination remain, the right of access to courts has been restored but the right of access to justice continues to be denied,” Mr Harawira says.

He respects the amount of work the Treaty Negotiations Minister, Chris Finlayson, put into the bill, but believes he lost out in Cabinet on some key points.


Former Alliance president Matt McCarten says he's heartened by the support coming from the other side of the political divide in response to his revelation he's fighting cancer.

The Unite Union general secretary was diagnosed with the disease a year ago, but says it's just another campaign he's determined to win.

He says the response to his newspaper column on the issue has come from across the political spectrum.

“I am not personal about my politics. I play hardball and I don’t give any quarter but I’ll say what I think but you always try to be respectful to the individuals because it’s about you disagree on ideas and that’s appropriate, the rich tapestry of life, but it’s been touching really,” Mr McCarten says.

He has told the right wingers who have contacted him that they are free to dance on his grave but as respecters of property rights they mustn't damage the headstone.


Karapiro iwi hope a culture room being built for the World Rowing Championships later this month will in time be used to house tribal taonga.

Willie te Aho, an advisor to Ngati Koroki Kahukura, says returning taonga from museums to their originating iwi is very much a live issue.
He says often the problem is finding a suitable home.

“Not all taonga need to be in those strict temperature-controlled environments. Certainly our taonga like our korowai and kakahu and those cloaks, definitely have to be but there are some taonga that were made to be seen and seen they should be,” Mr Te Aho says.


The Minister of Treaty Negotiations says historical land confiscations or sales don't automatically extinguish customary rights in the foreshore and seabed.

Critics of the new Marine and Coastal Area Bill argue that Crown actions mean many hapu and iwi won't be able to prove the continuous exclusive use necessary for a customary rights claim to succeed.

But Chris Finlayson says the government has taken note of concerns raised during the consultation process.

“There were issues that people felt very strongly about with raupatu. We’ve tried to address that so if people lost their lands there’s at least a chance they can go to the court or show that they still satisfy the requirements of the legislation in or to obtain a title,” Mr Finlayson says.

Meanwhile, Maori Party MP Hone Harawira says the bill hasn't satisfied many influential Maori, and he may not be able to support it when it comes up for first reading tomorrow.


New Zealand Council of Social Services has the Government's tax changes as a wasted opportunity to address real need in society.

Executive officer Trevor McGlinchey from Kai Tahu says the council's latest quarterly Vulnerability Report shows many Maori families still feeling beleaguered and helpless from the effects of recession.

He says rather than offer solutions, the Government is upping GST to pay for tax breaks for people who don't need them.

“If we are going to change, let’s bring those people who are in the worst position, let’s get them into a better position because they will really notice that and certainly that will make a difference for Maori. But for those who are right up the tip, they are not going to notice the little bit of extra they do get. It is not going to make a big difference to them,” Mr McGlinchey says.

The report says social services agencies are stretched to the limit trying to provide help to stressed families.


A Coromandel hapu says a beach being targeted by developers is a treasure of national and international importance.

Ngati Huarere spokesperson Graeme Christian says the hapu will oppose a bid by a Queenstown group to build a 20-lot subdivision at New Chums Beach near Whangapaoa.

He says the area adjoining Wainuiototo Bay is sought out by people from around the world as a reminder of an earlier age.

“There are no signs. They have to wade across a creek and get their bums wet. They get sore feet walking over the boulders. They walk around a saddle, over a hump after about half an hour, and there’s a beautiful vista in front of them that you couldn’t see anywhere else. It’s unchanged from hundreds of years ago. No houses. No helicopters. No jetskis, No quad bikes. And things are still as they were, so long ago,” Mr Christian says.

He says in their haste to get the development going, the developers have glossed over the presence or pa, middens and urupa along the beach.

Commissioners appointed by Thames Coromandel District Councile are expected to hear the resource consent application in November.


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