Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, June 24, 2011

Rents leaving Otautahi Maori with few options

Christchurch-based social commentator Rawiri Taonui says a shortage of rental accommodation will force many Maori out of the city.

Mr Taonui says yesterday's government announcements on land purchases will bring certainty to homeowners in the green zone, who can now start to rebuild, and in the red zone, who finally have an exit strategy and can sell their properties to the state.

But he says the many Maori whanau who rent in the red zone suburbs like Bexley and Avonside will have to move.

“People who are renting, thngs still remain uncertain for them in terms of whether they go from her because rental properties are a a bit of a premium now and that in particular affects Maori people and in my view many have left Christchurch and there are probably more that are going to go,” Mr Taonui says.


Labour's Te Tai Tokerau candidate, Kelvin Davis, says regional development needs to be seen as an investment rather than a cost.

Mr Davis is advocating a $100 million development fund for the north, modelled on the trust Labour set up for the West Coast.

He says it's something he will be able to push for harder if he makes the shift from list to electorate MP tomorrow.

“Now if you look at it as a cost, then there is no way you would give that money, but if you look at it, like the Labour Government does, as an investment, then it’s an investment in the people, an investment in future opportunities, and for crying out loud we need it. We can’t be sitting around in 10 years time in the Tai Tokerau and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy,” Mr Davis says.


Greens leader Meteria Turei says Maori dairy farmers are leading the industry in cleaning up their act.

Ms Turei says the emergence of huge corporate farms is causing environmental problems.

But while Maori trusts have big dairying interests,they are becoming increasingly environmentally aware.

“I've seen some incredible changes in farming practice in Maori farms around how they manage waste, how they deal with cleaning up their waterways, the replanting of land back into native bush as opposed to using it for pasture,” Ms Turei says.


It's the last day for campaigning in the Te Tai Tokerau by-election, and Mana candidate Hone Harawira is crying pohara.

Mr Harawira, who gave up his parliamentary salary and travel perks when he resigned to force the by-election, says he feels up against it.

That's because he's counting on support from the young and the poor, who traditionally don't turn out to vote, and because his opponents are throwing resources into the campaign.

“Labour's pouring in tens of thousands of dollars worth of support in terms of flying MPs into the Tai Tokerau, going out and canvassing, mail dropping, a new ad campaign. Both the Labour Party and the Maori Party and now the National Party are pouring in a lot of money to try and stop me getting there,” Mr Harawira says.

He says the other parties seem to fear what will happen if he wins.


But senior Labour Maori MP Parekura Horomia says Hone Harawira's campaign shows no evidence the Mana candidate has lacked resources.

He says while Mr Harawira like to make out he's the underdog, he was the incumbent MP until he chose to force the by-election.

“He certainly had buses roaming around with people and a whole lot of cars in fleet so he’s getting money from somewhere and I think it’s a great ply ot play that he hasn’t got the expenses. He’s got as many billboards as we have up, he’s got people on the street so that’s why I know it’s tough go,” Mr Horomia says.

He says voters need to remember Maori unemployment in Te Tai Tokerau quadrupled under Mr Harawira's reign.


The curator of Auckland City's Te Taumata Matariki exhibition programme says this year's line-up shows the strength and depth of Maori art.

The last show in the series, an installation by Ngaahina Hohaia of Parihaka, opened last night at the Mangere Arts Centre.

Karl Chitham says Hohaia one of a number of younger Maori artists coming through the ranks, and the show works well alongside exhibitions by Maureen Lander, Rona Ngahuia Osbourne and Kura Te Waru Rewiri at other city galleries.

“You never like to forget there’s a lot of senior artists out there still making work and having shows and that’s what Te Taumata is about, celebrating those people alongside more emerging talents as well,” Mr Chitham says.


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