Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Settlements on track for 2014

Prime Minister John Key says the government is on track to meet its target of having all historic treaty claim settlements completed by 2014.

Mr Key says Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson briefed both cabinet and caucus this week on progress.

“He is very goal focused. He wants to get to the point where he really does complete settlements by 2014. We all know hat’s a big challenge but he is putting his best foot forward. He’s got a lot of mandates signed up. There’s some big ones coming. Ngati Porou is a good example of that. Ngati Whatua as well looking in great shape. The far north, Sonny Tau wanting to get over the line,” Mr Key says.


Meanwhile, Gisborne claimants are fighting a rearguard action to stop their claims being washed into the Ngati Porou settlement.

Ngati Oneone claimants from the Kaiti area on the eastern side of the city have asked the Waitangi Tribunal for an urgent hearing on whether their claims should be heard.

Earlier this year the tribunal stopped hearing East Coast claims pending negotiation of a settlement by Te Runanga o Ngati Porou.

Lawyer Charl Hirschfeld says what the Crown and the Ngati Porou Runanga are doing to Ngati Oneone breaches the assimilation clause of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“They don't see themselves as Ngati Porou, they never have, and if this settlement goes ahead in an unqualified fashion which doesn’t take account of them as separate and independent, they say in effect that’s a form of forced assimilation which is something contrary to the declaration,” he says.

Mr Hirschfeld says Ngati Oneone have also asked the Waitangi Tribunal to take Craig Coxhead off the claim, as he was the judge who put all the other East Coast hearings on hold.


The chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana says political as well as economic and environmental pressures will affect the future value of the Maori fisheries settlement.

The settlement is moving into a new phase, with iwi starting to receive an income stream from pan-Maori company Aotearoa Fisheries as well as what they can make off their own quota holdings.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says there is no room for complacency.

“Probably once a week a new policy or a new clause is inserted into the Fisheries Act and other Acts like the Environment Act and the Tax Act, emissions trading, that affects the viability and the value and quantum of the settlement,” he says.

Mr Tomoana says there is more room for iwi to come together in joint fishing ventures, as well as for Aotearoa Fisheries to work more closely with other companies in the sector.


Wairoa has rejected a ban on gang patches.

District councillor Benita Cairns says the council decided not to follow the lead of Whanganui.

She says it's better to work with whanau than to label people and give the predominantly Maori town a bad image.

“Because of some individuals actions it was felt that everyone was going to be tarnished with the same brush but there are actually gang members in our community who live very productive lives. They have children who are thriving and showing leadership in this community, so it didn’t seem the right answer for us as Wairoa,” Ms Cairns says.

She says the answer to gang problems lies in working constructively with young people as soon as they come to the attention of police.


The apiha Maori for the National Distribution Union is challenging the National and Maori parties to come to Kawerau to see the downside of their economic policies.

Rawiri Daniels says the Government has done nothing to stimulate industries that employ high numbers of Maori workers.

He says 25 o0f the 26 workers laid off from Carter Holt Harvey's wood products sawmill in Kawerau this week are Maori.

He says it will be hard for them to find fulltime employment elsewhere.

Rawiri Daniels says the high New Zealand dollar making it hard for the timber industry to compete globally.


Flaxmere is often in the news for all the wrong reasons, but the predominantly Maori community is trying to turn around perceptions.

Te Aranga marae chair Pip West says that's the idea behind a local heroes calendar launched this week.

The 12 people featured include basketball coach Wini Smiler, Flaxmere college head girl Brittney Kershaw, kapa haka composer Tommy Taurima, and Dorinda Williams, who is seen every morning picking up the rubbish from the Hawkes Bay township.

Volunteers will distribute the calendar to every Flaxmere household on Saturday.


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