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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, June 17, 2011

Harawira counts numbers in house

Te Tai Tokerau by-election candidate Hone Harawira says his Maori parliament is what will give Maori a real voice in the nation's affairs.

Mr Harawira is proposing that all MPs who are Maori set aside their party lines and come together every three months at hui around the country to hear the concerns of Maori in the region.

“The more and more we develop the culture of a Maori parliament, the more and we as Maori MPs become accepting of the value of the input of our people. There’s 20 of us in Parliament. We’d be the third biggest party if we decided to stand together,” he says.


But Labour's senior Maori MP says the Mana Party leader's Maori parliament plan is a distraction from the real issues which need to be debated in the Te Tai Tokerau by-election.

Parekura Horomia says Maori MPs already do come together across party lines ... except that when he was in the Maori Party Mr Harawira was unable to get even MPs in his own party to agree with him.

“In an ideal world I think it would be not too bad but political reality is that we’re in a battle for his seat and we’re not going to be distracted by fluff in relation to what the real issues are,” he says.

Mr Horomia says Hone Harawira needs to acknowledge a wide range of organisations have the mana to represent Maori in various spheres, including runanga, iwi authorities, and national organisations like the Maori Womens Welfare League.


A south Auckland budget advisor says more early childcare centres are needed in the region so parents can look for work.

Education Minister Anne Tolley has announce that $9.5 million will go towards building eight new centres in east and South Auckland to increase Maori and Pasifika participation.

Ripeka Taipari says eight in 10 of families seen by Whare Mauri Ora Budgeting in Otahuhu can't afford to put their kids into preschool, or the waiting lists are full.

“The hope is that we will have more centres so that our parents can get out and get more work and they can get some subsidised care in a centre,” Mrs Taipari says.

The Government investment includes a $1 million Maori bilingual centre with 50 child places in Manurewa, and a $1.4 million bilingual service in Otara.


One of the unsuccessful bidders for the Maori Party's Te Tai Tokerau nomination says the party needs to stand by candidate Solomon Tipene through to the general election.

Party president Pem Bird says the party's constitution requires a new selection process be held for the November election, whether on not Mr Tipene, who is currently polling at 15 percent, wins on Saturday week.
Mere Mangu says that is not tika or right.

“That's who they chose and that’s who they’re going to live with until he changes his mind. That’s that. The tikanga is, when he put his forward and he was chase by the panel for Te Tai Tokerau he became the candidate for the by-election and he should still be the candidate for the general election,” Ms Mangu says.


They can't vote for him come Saturday week, but supporters of Mana Party leader Hone Harawira are heading north today to urge Te Tai Tokerau voters to put a tick for their man.

Mr Harawira says he's buoyed by the number of volunteers turning out to help his campaign, including large numbers for South Auckland who have been door knocking in Waitakere and Raki pae Whenua, the north Shore.

“They feel really bad that they can’t vote for me even though a lot of them are from the north so they are going to run a convoy from Henderson all the way up to Kaitaia and through the north over the weekend and that’s just their way of showing support,” Mr Harawira says.


A senior engineering lecturer has lashed out at the way the media lampooned a warning of a taniwha under the Auckland CBD.

Kepa Morgan from Auckland University says the dangers for a rail loop under the city pointed out by Maori statutory board member Glen Wilcox of Ngati Whatua should be taken seriously.

He says engineers have learned to take such advice into account.

“Those that are enlightened do look to indigenous knowledge sources and other examples to guide decision making in complex situations. If it’s purely maths, pretty much any one can do it in any language but whne it comes to complex engineering challenges, it’s a grey area and there is no black or white answer,” Dr Morgan says.

Warnings of taniwha affected by a highway at Meremere and the prison at Ngawha provided useful inputs into those projects.


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