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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, March 28, 2011

Flotilla furthering foreshore fight

Independent MP Hone Harawira says the flotilla on its way to protest oil prospecting off the East Coast is a continuation of the foreshore and seabed protest.

The Tai Tokerau MP was at Auckland's Princes Wharf yesterday to farewell a flotilla which is answering a call from te Kaha-based iwi Te Whanau a Apanui.

He says Brazilian oil giant Petrobras's exploration plans are the reason the fight was worth having.

“The takutai moana isn’t just about the beach. It’s abiout retaining our rights to the land, to the foreshore and to the seabed and part of that seabed is the bit the Maori Party has willingly signed off on which is that the government can go and mine anywhere and drill anywhere and they don’t have to ask Maori for nothing,” Mr Harawira says.

He says the waters off his Taitokerau electorate face a similar threat from oil exporation.

TURIA LEAVES MINING CHOICE TO IWI

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says it's up to individual iwi whether they want to oppose mining and oil exploration.

She says the environmentalists are right in that any offshore drilling mishap could have severe consequences for the coast.

But she says rangatiratana means iwi get to chart their own course.

“Those who don’t want to have either oil exploration or sand mining, that’s their business. We’re not in Parliament to speak for the hapu and iwi. That’s their job to uphold their rangatiratanga and that’s what they’ve chose to do and that’s their right,” Mrs Turia says.

She is aware of other iwi who support mining and oil drilling because they see potential to make money from it.

HE PUTEA WHAKATUPU WIDENS MANDATE

A trust set up as part of the Maori fisheries settlement has broadened its activities to include supporting the development of general Maori business capability.

In the past scholarships from Te Ohu Kaimoana have focused on study which will lead to career opportunities in the fishing industry.

But Richard Jefferies, the chair of Te Putea Whakatupu Trust, says Te Ohu Kaimoana's iwi and urban Maori stakeholders have also identified the need for more Maori to take up middle and senior management jobs in Maori organisations.

“As all the iwi settle their claims and as Maori develop economic capability we as an education and training trust support the development of capability so we can maximize what is going to be achieved over the next 10, 20, 30 years and so we felt it was important we helped lift the number of Maori coming through with basic or core business capability,” Mr Jefferies says.

Up to 30 Tawera Scholarships will be available through Te Putea Whakatupu and the Maori Education Trust for Maori who are enrolled in business, commerce or management degrees at bachelor level.

SYKES FEELS BETRAYED BY FLAVELL CHOICE

Former Maori Party adviser Annette Sykes says her local MP Te Ururoa Flavell has betrayed Te Arawa people with his support of the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act.

The Rotorua lawyer says Mr Flavell was sent to parliament by the Waiariki electorate to roll back the confiscation and discrimination of Labour's Foreshore and Seabed Act.

But she says the work he did on the new Act failed on that count.

“None of those compromises justify in any way the confiscation of the lands of the people of Te Arawa from Matata to Maketu and for me it’s a betrayal of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi is established but also the foundations on which the Maori party established,” Ms Sykes says.

She is considering standing against Mr Flavell in Waiariki if former Maori Party MP Hone Harawira creates a new Maori political party.

FLAVELL COMPFORTABLE WITH FORESHORE BILL MANDATE

But Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell believes his electorate is still behind him on the foreshore and seabed issue.

He held several hui in the electorate during the development of the Marine and Coastal Area Bill to keep voters up to date.

“I've attempted as best I can to keep people informed about what’s going on and have sought a mandate from my electorate the mandate to carry on was given to me from my keenest supporters,” Mr Flavell says.

He's disappointed Annette Sykes describes him as a traitor for his stance, but it's time to move on.

SALT KILLING MAORI

A public health expert is calling for Maori to ease off the salt.

It's World Salt Awareness Week, when people will be asked to lower their salt intake from the current average of about one and a half teaspoons a day.

Robert Beaglehole, an emeritus professor at Auckland University, says it's as important as tobacco control, with an unacceptably large number of Maori contracting salt-related illnesses.

High salt intake leads of high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease.

Professor Beaglehole says it's relatively easy to wean people off high salt-diets because taste buds take only a few weeks to adjust.

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