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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Iwi leaders lobby for coastal bill changes

Tainui leader Tukoroirangi Morgan says iwi are still unhappy with the Marine and Coastal Area Bill, which is now before the Maori affairs select committee.

He says the debate on reform of the Foreshore and Seabed Act won't be over until a suitable replacement comes out of Parliament.

Mr Morgan says as well as the select committee process, the relationship that the Iwi Leaders Group has formed with the Government means the Maori case can be put as strongly as possible.

“We have huge opportunities to continue to lobby the Crown including the Prime Minister to get the changes that are necessary to make the semblance of a potentially good bill into a very strong bill for Maori,” Mr Morgan says.

He's keen for the current bill to be made acceptable to Maori, rather than for it to be thrown out completely.

STATUTORY BOARD STRUCTURE DOOMED

Maori academic Rawiri Taonui says the structure of the new Auckland super city Maori statutory board dooms it to failure.

The board was appointed by Maori affairs minister Pita Sharples from the recommendations of a committee drawn solely from mana whenua iwi.

It includes seven mana members and two representing all other Maori who call Auckland home.

Mr Taonui, who has stepped down from his position at Canterbury University to complete a book on Maori politics, says the undemocratic nature of the process will blight its effectiveness.

“I respect mana whenua, the rightful place of Ngati Whatua, Tainui, the Hauraki tribes,but the have 20 percent of Auckland’s Maori population secure seven on the nine positions on the Maori statutory board I think is going a bit too far because what it does I think is silence the majority,” says Mr Taonui, from Ngapuhi and Ngati Maniapoto.

LIQUOR OUTLET BOOM FUELING BINGE DRINKING

ALAC's strategic operations manager says new research on binge drinking strengthens the case against proliferation of liquor outlets.

Maori communities in south Auckland have protested against the lack of bylaws to stop bottle shops going in to every suburban shopping strip in low income areas.

Tuari Potiki says the findings by a Otago University team that there was a 4 percent higher incidence of binge drinking within one kilometre of liquor stores confirms the Alcohol Advisory Council's concerns about the relationship between availability and abuse.

“We've known for a while that there’s a very strong correlation between the number of outlets where alcohol is available and the levels of harm that occur locally and the levels of binge drinking which lead to that harm,” Mr Potiki says.

Communities should have more say in the placement of liquor outlets.

MAHUTA BACKS REBEL SCHOOLS ON NATIONAL STANDARDS

Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta is backing school boards of trustees in her Hauraki-Waikato electorate who say they won't implement national standards in their schools.

Thirty Waikato school boards have joined more than 225 nationwide who says the process of introducing the new achievement targets has been rushed, and it will lead to students being branded as failures.

Ms Mahuta says she is particularly concerned at the effects of the standards on Maori students in mainstream schools.

“National standards, Maori Party-supported, that will lead to a narrowing of the curriculum probably making it harder for our kids to get their full range of skills recognized through a national standards system,” Ms Mahuta says.

ANTI-SMOKING GROUP UPS THE ANTE

Anti-smoking group Te Reo Marama wants marae to take a harder line on tobacco.

Spokesperson Shane Bradbrook says the report of the Maori Affairs select committee's inquiry into the tobacco industry gives a clear recommendation for kaupapa and tikanga-based approaches to the battle against smoking.

He says one place to start is for marae to not only ban smoking but to ban tobacco products.

“Auahe Kore means it’s a smokefree marae but I can still carry my cigarettes in there whereas a kaupapa tupeka kore approach would say, ‘this marae is tupeka kore, this is the kawa of this marae and you are not to bring tobacco in,’ and I think it’s a subtle difference but for our people it’s a cultural shift in cultural behaviour and our norms and behaviours that we have in places such as marae,” Mr Bradbrook says.

GARDINER KEEN TO BRING MUSEUMS CLOSER

The new chair of Te Papa Tongarewa wants to build a family of museums in New Zealand.

Sir Wira Gardiner says the national museum already works closely with other regional museums.

But he says with the additional government funding unlikely any time soon, even closer co-operation between museums in Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin is a way to go.

“We need to enter into a series of discussions with all the other museums about how we can kind of create a family of museums across New Zealand which are linked together and do things that other organisations in these times are doing like sharing back office facilities IT, research capacity and those kinds of things. I’d just like to explore that a little bit over the next little while,” Sir Wira says.

Working with the other museums will be a way of bringing Te Papa's Wellington-based collections to people around the country.

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