Waatea News Update

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Key slams Boscowan slight

Prime Minister John Key says ACT MP John Boscawan may have crossed a line by questioning the integrity of Maori members of the Maori Affairs select committee.

At the first hearing yesterday on the Marine and Coastal Area Bill yesterday, Mr Boscowan asked a submitter whether he had confidence in the committee, after the man expressed concern at the prospect of private deals between iwi and government for customary marine title.

The committee's chair, National MP Tau Henare, says he will ask the speaker to remove Mr Boscowan.

Mr Key says Mr Henare is probably right.

“John Boscawan is essentially arguing that because you are Maori and you sit on the select committee, you can’t be objective when it comes to the coastal area and marine bill which will replace the Foreshore and Seabed (Act). We’ll that’s just nonsense. I’m a taxpayer but I used to sit on the finance and expenditure select committee,” he says.

The Maori Party has already removed Hone Harawira from the committee for the duration of the hearings because of its concern he had already made his mind up about the bill.


Maori issues will be a key focus of a new research institute launched at Waikato University today.

Director Natalie Jackson says the new National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis brings together demographers from the university’s Population Studies Centre, economists from Waikato Management School and public policy experts from Wellington-based Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust.

She says they're concerned government agencies are ignoring the implications of having half the Maori population under 23, while the median age of the Pakeha population is 38.

“The different age structures mean that you have a very youthful Maori population within this total aging population and it means that Maori will disproportionately comprise the labour force in the future and have enormous need for education,” Professor Jackson says.

She says when the Pakeha population was relatively young the resources went into education and young families, but as it has aged the state's resources have been diverted to meet the needs of that ageing population.


The chair of the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, Doug Arcus, says there are sound ethical and commercial reasons for giving local iwi an equal say in management of the south Waikato reserve.

Philanthropist and economist Gareth Morgan threatened to withdraw a $1 million interest free loan after the trust was restructured to give half seats on the board seats to mana whenua.

Mr Arcus says Mr Morgan's intemperate attack on the restructuring was ill informed, and ignores the fact Maori are the largest owners of land next to the Crown within the 47km pest proof fence around the maunga.

“On an equity basis they should be involved. In terms of the commercial operation, one of the primary objectives of the trust is the reestablishment of the species and it’s a legal requirement that iwi have got to be involved in that in translocations,” Mr Arcus says.

He says it would be a pity if the row overshadowed the success of the project, which has resulted in greater numbers of kiwi, kaka and other native species in the 3400 hectare reserve.


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