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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Turia forgetting history in foreshore fight

Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia is denying outspoken Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira the same rights as a parliamentarian that she took full advantage of while a member of the Labour caucus.

The Maori Party leadership has replaced Mr Harawira with whip Te Ururoa Flavell while the committee hears submissions on the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill, starting later this month.

Ms Turei says parliamentarians should have the right to stand by their principals.

“It's really important, particularly for Tari who was on that select committee with me in 2004 and who fought really hard against that legislation, to remember what that was like, especially when she’s talking about Hone and his position, what it was like for her to be so far outside her party, so far excluded from her party systems because of her very strong views about the Foreshore Act then,” Ms Turei says.

She says the Maori Party is saying the bill is the best they could get ... which is just what the rest of Labour's Maori caucus said during the debate on the Foreshore and Seabed Act.


Meanwhile, a foundation member of the Maori Party says it will disappear from the political scene unless it finds a way to attract younger supporters.

Rotorua lawyer Annette Sykes says most of the faces at the party's conference last weekend were old.

She says it was lacklustre conference, and the lack of succession planning is starting to show.

“We haven’t grappled with that fundamental, how do we attract that younger Maori commitment to a dynamic party of the Maori Party kind and if we don’t, I think it’s too our detriment. We won’t survive maybe one election, we certainly won’t survive two unless we sort something out like this,” Ms Sykes says.

She says it's not a good look that all three senior leaders, Tariana Turia, Pita Sharples, and new president Pem Bird, are in their late 60s.


Wairarapa iwi are gearing up for an emotional day tomorrow with the opening of the Wairarapa Moana Exhibition at Masterton's Te Aratoi museum.

Curator Haami Te Whaiti says He Pataka Kai, He Pataka Korero traces the history of the rohe through taonga, photographs, paintings and multimedia.

The centrepiece is Te Heke Rangatira, a 14 metre waka taua that's been held at Wellington and Canterbury Museums for more than a century.

Mr Te Whaiti says much of the focus is on Lake Wairarapa.

“For Wairarapa Maori, the moana was everything. For opir people that lost most of their land come the 1850s, 1860s, and Wairarapa Moana was their one last food source. Eventually our people lost that,” he says.

To mark the start of Wairarapa Moana, singer Whirimako Black with guitarist Nigel Gavin will hold a concert in Te Aratoi tomorrow night.


Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira is welcoming news Ngai Tahu has come out against the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill.

In the latest issue of Ngai Tahu's Te Karaka magazine, runanga chair Mark Solomon and chief executive Anake Goodall say the Government is minimising the scope of Maori customary rights and demanding they give up rights that the owners of 12,500 private coastal titles will retain.

Mr Harawira, who has been dropped for the select committee considering the bill, says opposition is growing across Maoridom.

“My co-leaders think it’s better than the last one and it’s worth hanging on to but quite frankly I don’t hear a lot of other influential leaders within Maoridom, be they political or otherwise, saying that’ I’m just hoping they will see sense and realise that Maoridom is not supporting this bill and it might be time to pull the plug,” Mr Harawira says.

He says it's time for the Maori Party leadership to listen to the voice of Maori in the issue.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says actions coming out of the Maori affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry need to focus on Maori women.

Ms Turei says she doesn't support prohibition.

But she says adopting the committee's recommendations would create a hostile environment for tobacco, which will help groups which are known to be particularly vulnerable.

“We have to protect out Maori women who are still big uptakers of smoking because if you can stop Maori women from smoking you can protect their children and Maori women like all mothers want the best for their babies and if we focus on the babies, focus on the women, the mothers we can get some real progress,” Ms Turei says.

She says more funding for smoking cessations programmes needs to go alongside any restrictions in tobacco sales.


Outgoing Parole Board member Dame June Jackson says she is glad that her retirement coincided with convicted murder David Tamihere being released from prison after 22 years.

Dame June has excluded herself from Tamihere's 14 appearances before the board because of a close association with the family.

But she says he's been a model prisoner, and she's pleased he now gets the chance to spend the rest of his life outside.


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