Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Goff: Sharples departing generation and Tamaki

Labour leader Phil Goff says he's looking forward to list MP Shane Jones taking on Maori Party leader Pita Sharples in Tamaki Makaurau this year.

Mr Jones is the front-runner for the nomination, after standing twice in the general seat of Northland.

Mr Goff says despite the damage done to him last year when details of his ministerial expenses were released, the former Maori Fisheries Commission chair has a bright future in politics and is one of a new generation of Maori leaders.

“I like Pita. Pita’s a nice guy, but Pita would be the first to acknowledge that he is part of a departing generation, he’s now in his 70s, so looking at the future, Tamaki Makaurau, that’s got to come back to Labour,” Mr Goff says.

Labour is also rebuilding its relationship with Ratana, with four of its candidates having links to the movement.

COUNCIL APPOINTMENTS CREATE LIABILITY RISK

Maori lawyer Annette Sykes says there are huge risks for Maori in having unelected appointees voting on Auckland council sub-committees.

Labour MPs have pointed to the council's Maori statutory advisory board's decision to appoint two members to each of the council's 20 subcommittees as proof the super city legislation was badly drafted.

Ms Sykes says the board seems happy there are different rules for Maori than Pakeha - but it could be over-reaching.

“If you are de facto on a committee not because you’ve been voted there but you’ve been appointed there by a Maori group, who gets the liability when they get decisions wrong? Are those that have been voted in to carry the responsibilities for this, or is the liability to be shared by those people who actually haven’t been democratically elected to it,” she says.

Ms Sykes says the law should be changed to create elected Maori seats on the council.

DIAMOND RETURNED AS BOOK AWARDS JUDGE

Writer and broadcaster Paul Diamond has 150 books to read before June.

Mr Diamond, from Ngati Haua, Te Rarawa and Ngapuhi, has been appointed convenor of judges for the New Zealand Post Book Awards.

He's joined on the panel by educationalist Charmaine Pountney, former Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey, author Emily Perkins and poet and editor Michael Harlow.

He says in his time round as a judge he's got a good idea what he's looking for.

“I guess it's about excellence, that’s what these awards are about. It’s about celebrating the best of what we produce and we produce great books. I love it when people have clever thoughtful structures, strong writing that hooks you in, and I love the way that design can drive narrative. That’s something I’ve learned more about since being part of the New Zealand Post Book Awards,” Mr Diamond says.

As the panel's Te Reo Maori Advisor, he still concerned about the small number of Maori language books being published for adult readers.

PETERS SLAMS STATE ASSET SALE PLANS

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says National's plan to sell off state assets if it re-elected is lunancy.

Mr Peters says Maori must ask themselves why the Maori Party is supporting a party which would repeat the disastrous privatisations of the 1980's and 90's.

He says prime minister John Key's claim New Zealanders will be able to participate in buying the assets is a joke.

“In a resource hungry world with these gilt-edged blue chip securities which these things are, it makes no sense whatsoever to sell them off in a market which is severely depressed. He cannot explain this other than he was obviously overseas making money trading on currencies such as New Zealand’s when we were going through this disastrous experience,” Mr Peters says.

He says under Mr Key plan, the most likely buyers will be Chinese interests.

TREATY REPORT ONCE OVER LIGHTLY

Maori lawyer Annette Sykes says the race relations commissioner has got it wrong with his assessment that significant progress has been dealing with Treaty of Waitangi issues over the past year.

Ms Sykes says while settlements gained momentum under Michael Cullen in the last years of the Labour government, the process has gone backwards under National and the Maori Party.

She says Joris de Bres has delivered a once-over lightly report.

“It's almost been written to justify the John Key-Maori Party alliance which has disappointed a lot of commentators, including myself, because they just have not delivered to Maori and they have frankly deprioritised Te Tiriti in the life of this nation to the point it is so far in the margins that our people are feeling completely disaffected by it,” Ms Sykes says.

She says all the settlements Joris de Bres cites in his annual review as representing progress have been marked by opposition from hapu who say their interests are being ignored in favour of deals with large iwi corporates.

INTERNATIONAL PADDLERS ON BOARD FOR WAITANGI

The kaihautu or captain of the country's largest waka expects the Waitangi Day regatta will be a memorable experience for two groups of international paddlers.

A dozen kaihoe from North America and a group of Dutch paddlers will join the crew of the Bay of Islands-based Nga Tokimatawhaorua.

Joe Conrad says the presence of the manuhiri is testament to the work Nga Waka Federation of Aotearoa has done in forging connections with the groups like the Confederation of Grand Ronde Tribes of Portland Oregon, the Suquamish people of Seattle, and the Dutch crews of Te Hono Ki Aotearoa, a waka now based at the Volkenkunde Museum in Holland.

“The elite top of the notch waka pageant in the whole country obviously is Waitangi and it’s good to have them down here,” Mr Conrad says.

At the other end of the island, two waka from Whakatane have been invited by help Te Whare waka o Poneke Charitable Trust open of its new waka house on the Wellington Waterfront on February 6, alongside the Wellington-based waka taua, Te Aniwaniwa & Te Raukura.

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