Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, October 11, 2010

Elections fail to fire Maori voters

Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia has expressed disappointment at the continued low Maori turn-out in local body elections.

While Maori were elected to councils in areas like Northland, Rotorua and Gisborne, and Carterton has a Maori mayor, high profile Maori candiates in other areas were not able to win enough support to be elected.

Mrs Turia says if Maori want their voice to be heard they must get out and vote.

“Still having issues I think with getting our own people out to vote, Maori people which is a damn shame because it’s actually at the local government level that often our mana whenua groups are most affected, because that’s where a lot of decisions are made that impact on them, particularly to do with our water ways,” Mrs Turia says.


Meanwhile, new Carterton mayor Ron Mark is mapping out how he can balance his civic workload with his mahi as chief executive of the Federation of Maori Authorities.

The former four-term New Zealand First MP convincingly won to contest to wear the mayoral chains in his Wairarapa birthplace.

He says when he sought the FOMA job earlier this year, he warned the board he intended standing in for the council.

He says sees the council as a two day a week job, plus nights and weekends.

Mr Mark says he will give the FOMA board the chance to reconfirm him.


A former cultural advisor for Television New Zealand says the government's demands for profits from the state broadcaster created the corporate culture that appeared to tolerate Breakfast host Paul Henry's racist statements.

Mr Henry resigned yesterday, saying he was astonished and dismayed that his comments about the name of Delhi's chief minister, Sheila Dikshit, caused a diplomatic incident.

Hone Edwards, who was TVNZ's kaihautu from 2003 to 2007, says now the broadcaster no longer has a charter the emphasis is on bringing in revenue - which means encouraging hosts to be outrageous.

“It's not just about Paul Henry. It’s about the corporate culture in there. It’s a corporate culture that’s been brought about because this is a broadcaster that has a commercial imperative and their sights are on the advertising dollar. This isn’t the BBC that is funded fully by the government,” he says.

Mr Edwards says TVNZ executives should have demanded Paul Henry immediately go back on air and apologise for his statements, rather than let the matter drag on a week.


Political commentator Matt McCarten says Len Brown's election with a left-leaning council augers well for the creations of Maori seats on the Auckland super city council.

Post-election, Mr Brown reiterated his campaign promise to consider the issue as part of the regular representation review the council must do.

He said he personally wanted to see Maori representation and particularly mana whenua representation on the council.

Mr McCarten says Mr Brown has a clear mandate from the people of Auckland to pursue the issue, even though the council does include Maori.

“There will be an argument that three of the councilors have Maori blood but it’s a bit of a long bow to say they are advocates for Maori,” Mr McCarten says.

The three Maori - Alf Filipina from Labour and Jami - Lee Ross and Des Morrison from Citizens & Ratepayers - have never claimed to represent Maori in their previous council roles.


The head of a trust set up to promote Maori interests in freshwater fisheries says ownership of fresh water is as big an issue for Maori as the foreshore and seabed.

Morrie Love says while the government may see the recent report of the multi-sector Land and Water Forum as a way forward on water reform, it will fail it skirted the issue of ownership.

He says Te Wai Maori Trust believes Maori have not lost their customary ownership of water, because it was overlooked by settlers.

“The Maori food source was very much centered on the rivers with fish and birds, not many land mammals, so water was really the definitive thing. In English law of course the land was divided and land was the defining element,” Mr Love says.

He says the government needs to engage with iwi and Maori if it wants to sort out a robust system for water allocation.


Maori king Tuheitia has welcomed the Kiwi and New Zealand Maori rugby league teams to Turangawaewae Marae to give them a message of support in the lead up to the weekend's international clashes.

The Kiwis play Samoa on Saturday in the first game of the Four Nations Tournament, with New Zealand Maori playing England in the curtain raiser.

Waatea correspondent Tamati Tainanga says the Kiwi team headed back for its Auckland training base after the welcome, while the Maori team is staying on the marae for two nights.

The will train at neighbouring Patterson Park, as well as crew a waka on the river as a team-building exercise


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