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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hide attacks sweetheart deals on foreshore

The ACT Party says the Marine and Coastal (Takutai Moana) Bill will mean political connections rather than hard evidence will determine who gets customary ownership.

Leader Rodney Hide says the bill gives the attorney general extraordinary powers to sit down with favoured Maori groups and cut deals away from any scrutiny by courts or parliament.

He says iwi leaders are happy to go along with the new law because they expect better deals from Chris Finlayson than the courts would have given them.

“Now hapu and other iwi are writing to me saying ‘We’ve got these other jokers down the road that are negotiating on what we thnk is our foreshore and seabed and they have the favoured inside track to the political arena’ and again it’s a political deal and I don’t believe that’s durable. I don’t think it has any principle, I don’t think it has any integrity, so I don’t think it’s going to stick,” Mr Hide says.

He says the simple way to resolve the issue is repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act and let Maori pursue their customary rights claims through the courts.

TE POU, WALL TILTING FOR MANUREWA SLOT

Former trade union official Shane Te Pou from Ngai Tuhoe has put his name forward for Labour's nomination in the general seat of Manurewa.

Mr Te Pou is currently human services manager with New Zealand's largest kaupapa Maori disability service provider, Te Roopu Taurima o Manukau.

He previously carried Labour's standard against former finance minister Bill Birch in Franklin.

“I've worked and lived in south Auckland for over 20 years. I’ve got many community connections in Manurewa and in south Auckland and I’m also disappointed, I think this government has abandoned the people of Manurewa,” Mr Te Pou says.

Former one-year list MP Louisa Wall from Tainui and Ngati Tuwharetoa will also be among the half dozen contenders for the safe Labour seat being vacated by retiring MP George Hawkins.

TAHU PROUD OF PLACE IN INDIGENOUS TEAM

The last week in Aotearoa has meant more to rugby league professional Timana Tahu than Saturday night's 18-all draw between the England and Maori.

The 30 year old Australian double international says his decision to honour his late father by turning out for the Maori team has allowed him to reconnect with his roots on this side of the Tasman.

He says although he's worn State of Origin, Kangaroo and Wallaby Jerseys in the past, his Maori jersey will always be special.

“This is the first representative indigenous jersey I’ve out on and if I was going to play for New Zealand I’m glad I’m playing for the Maori because I’m not only honouring the jumper, I’m honouring my family, my ancestors which is something I’m proud of,” Tahu says.

In preparation for the weekend's international in Auckland, the team was welcomed onto Turangawaewae Marae by King Tuheitia, and raced waka on the Waikato River.

MINORITY REPORT TRUMPS MEDIA MOANING SAYS TURIA

Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia expects MP Hone Harawira will provide a minority report from the Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry.

Mr Harawira broke with parliamentary convention last week by using his weekly newspaper column to complain that the yet-to-be-released is too tame.

Mrs Turia says the Tai Tokerau MP should have waited for the report to be presented to Parliament, when he gets a chance to have his say if he disagrees with the report.

“This report has actually been put together by an independent Maori person, taking together all the information that came through the select committee.

“Hone’s concern is it doesn’t focus enough on the tobacco companies and I can understand that because kei te hea ratou. That’s really been the significant issue and of course that will be addressed in a minority report,” Mrs Turia says.

TUREI SAYS ACT CAMPAIGN DAMAGING RACE RELATIONS

Greens co-leader Meteria Turei is accusing the ACT party of deliberately damaging race relations to boost its electoral changes.

Ms Turei says a proposed amendment to the Takutai Moana Bill to stop Maori charging for access to beaches if they win customary title is unnecessary and racist.

She says ACT is creating doubt and fear in the minds of the public.

“There is now even more this idea that Maoris are going to charge for access across the foreshore. The longer term damage of this is very serious. Like it’s a political game ACT is playing to get themselves back in the polls and in the media but the longer term damage to the rest of us is quite severe,” Ms Turei says.

She says if charges for beach access are to be banned, the ban should apply to part of the coast held in private title as well as what ends up in customary ownership.

POVERTY AND AGE FACTORS IN INFANT DEATH

A new report on infant deaths has concluded socio economic factors rather than ethnicity may be behind higher rates of mortality among Maori babies.

The Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee is responsible for reviewing stillbirths after 20 weeks gestation and deaths of babies up to 28 days of age.

Its chair, Cindy Farquhar, a professor of Obstetrics and Gynacology at Auckland University says it's the fourth such study of clinical data, and clear risk factors are emerging.

“Under the age of 20 having a baby, over the age of 40, or if you come from an area with high socioeconomic deprivation which is a long term for perhaps not so much money, you are also at increased risk of losing your baby in this way,” Professor Farquhar says.

Higher smoking rates among Maori and less early use of midwives also contributes to the higher mortality rate.

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