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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, November 01, 2010

Maori Party claims coastal bill as own

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill is a Maori Party bill - and that's why it had to take Hone Harawira off the select committee considering it.

Mrs Turia says when the issue of Mr Harawira's opposition to the bill was raised in caucus, the Tai Tokerau MP did not seem to object being stood down.

“This piece of legislation does not belong to anyone other than the Maori Party. Why would be put somebody on the committee to talk against us. It will not happen,” she says.

Te Ururoa Flavell, the party whip, will sit on the Maori Affairs select committee while the bill is being considered.


But Hone Harawira says he's counting on Maori Party members to sway the leadership against the Marine and Coastal Area Bill.

The dissident MP says he was gutted at being asked to stand aside from the select committee, and he intends to make his own submission on the bill.

Mr Harawira says he hopes the party will eventually put its principals before the coalition.

“Tariana made a good comment the other day when she said that the party will take its position based on the view of Maori people through our own consultation processes and through the select committee and if there is a clear majority in opposition to the bill, the Maori Party is likely to change its vote at the next reading,” Mr Harawira says.


The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology has awarded six Te Tipu Putaiao Fellowships to emerging researchers whose work may strengthen Maori knowledge, people and resources.

Michael Kearney from Ngati Tuwharetoa, Tainui and Tuhoe, a postdoctoral researcher at Te Whare Wananga O Awanuiaarangi, will develop an eel fisheries management plan for Ngati Awa.

Lincoln University researcher Amanda Black's work on retention of nutrients in agricultural soils is aimed at improving the soil health of Maori land blocks, while Waikato University PhD student Shane Carter's experiments in turning water-weed into biofuel could create energy businesses for Maori groups.

Other projects include research into blood structure at the time of death, marine toxins, and the effect of river engineering on native fish.

Richard Templar, the foundation's chief executive, says the fellowships encourage relationships between researchers and Maori communities.

“We very much hope that the links they build with iwi groups they are working with will continue right through their research career and ensure that these young and talented researchers are looking for opportunities to contribute to Maori and therefore to New Zealand right through their career,” he says.


Whanau Ora minister Tariana Turia says she is confident the government will provide more money for Whanau Ora if needed.

On Friday Te Puni Kokiri named the 25 coalitions of 158 providers who will deliver health and welfare services under the new model.

The Government has budgeted $134 million over four years for administration, training and capacity building, on top of the funding the providers already get from existing contracts with government agencies.

Mrs Turia says there is genuine belief in government that the model is the way to go.

“We haven't actually known what the likely cost would be and I think this gives us an opportunity to roll it out, have a look at what’s been put aside and my job is to go back for another budget if it is not sufficient,” she says.

Mrs Turia says organisations that missed out in the first round have indicated they intend to change the way they operate so they may win future contracts.


The retiring president of the Maori Party, Whatarangi Winiata, says much of his work during his six year tenure was making sure policy debates did not destroy the party.

Professor Winiata stepped down at the weekend conference and was replaced by Murupara kura kaupapa principal Pem Bird.

He says the party would be no use to Maori if it broke into factions.

“We didn't implode. We’re still together. We’ve been to the edge but no over and we’ve been to the threshold but not beyond. We’ve been close at times. My only disappointment is that we haven’t found a recipe to address it, so the risk is still with us,” Professor Winiata says.

He says Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira has been both a benefit and a liability to the party, but he is keen that he stay part of it.


Auckland super city councillor Alf Filapaina has been given responsibilty for looking after Maori intests in the council.

The serving police officer who has Ngapuhi and Samoan whakapapa says he will be the council's initial point of contact with the new Maori statutory board.

But he says the board, whose members were appointed by Maori Affairs Minister Peter Sharples from the recommendations of mana whenua iwi, is independent of the council.

“I am there just to connect not only with the statutory board but with Maori issues that come up. At least there is somebody else. I think my role is that if there are any issues from any of our iwi, I will definitely be going through to the Maori statutory board and getting people to go to them, because they are the voice for all Maori in the Auckland region,” Mr Filapaina says.

He says while three councilors are Maori, they don't have the mandate to speak on behalf of Maori.


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