Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Systemic flaws block Maori from oil say

The Waitangi Tribunal has found systemic flaws in the way New Zealand manages petroleum exploration and extraction.

The Report on the Management of the Petroleum Resource follows the tribunal’s 2003 petroleum ownership report, which found Taranaki and other tribes still had a treaty interest in the resource because of the way their land was taken from them.

In this latest report, the Tribunal says while in theory iwi are supposed to have a say in resource management, decision makers minimise the Maori interest and their objections are inevitably over-ruled.

Its recommendations include: changing the Crown Minerals Act to end compulsory access to Maori land for petroleum activities;
- having full cultural impact assessments done under the ACT when iwi ask for land to be excluded, rather than having the decision made unilaterally by an official in the Ministry of Economic Development;
-And using petroleum royalties in Treaty settlements,

It also recommended a Treaty Commissioner be appointed, similar to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, to monitor how local government is liaising with Maori and to ensure Treaty principles are being adhered to under the Resource Management Act.

The tribunal says it’s releasing its report early in an attempt to influence the current review of the Crown Minerals Act.


Labour leader Phil Goff is blaming government inaction for pre-Christmas lay-offs in the timber industry.

In the past couple of weeks more than 150 predominantly Maori timber workers have been laid off from mills in Ohakune, Poverty Bay and Kawerau.

Mr Goff says the government has a role to play evening out the highs and lows of the building industry … and there are currently about 7000 houses less a year being built than is needed.

"The government's got to have a better plan for he timber industry. One of the things that would have helped is if the Government had taken steps to try to keep the building and construction industry going this year,” he says.

Mr Goff says when there is an economic upturn, the increased demand for housing won’t be met because there won’t be the people to process the timber and the tradespeople will have gone to Australia.


A new campaign warning parents not to shake babies has a particular focus on Maori.

Starship paediatrician Patrick Kelly says 20 babies a year are admitted to hospital with serious injuries from shaking.

Four or five will die and the others are likely to have permanent brain damage.

He says for every reported incident, there may be as many as 150 other cases … and the problem is particularly serious among Maori.

“Unfortunately in New Zealand the rate among Maori is particularly high, in fact it’s one of the highest in the world, so although it’s an issue we have to address among all parents I think it’s particularly important we do it properly among the Maori community,” Dr Kelly says.

Mothers need to be wary of leaving their babies in the care of men who have a tendency to lose their tempers.


A Taranaki claimant says a Waitangi Tribunal report on management of petroleum resources vindicates her claim.

The tribunal confirmed its earlier finding that some Maori may have a treaty interest in oil and gas despite their being nationalised in 1937.

It recommended changes to the Crown Minerals Act and the Resource Management Act to give Maori more say, and suggested that greater Maori participation be funded out of royalties or by charging resource consent applicants.

Daisy Noble from Ngaruahine says the report has implications not just for Taranaki but for iwi in Taitokerau and Tairawhiti which are being opened up for exploration.

“This report is very timely because although Taranaki was used as the basis of the claim, the exploration industry is all over the country. Let’s hope the Crown does take note of those recommendations,” Ms Noble says.

Claimants will meet with Crown officials early in the new year to consider the next step.


A leading health official says turning around Maori cancer survival rates will take a lot of work.

The latest Ministry of Health figures shows only 43 percent of Maori will still be alive five years after they are diagnosed with a cancer, compared to 62 percent of non-Maori.

John Childs, the ministry’s national clinical director, says much of the gap can be attributed to higher Maori rates of lung cancer.

The good thing is you look at the trends, the survival has improved over the past decade.

Dr Child says early diagnosis is a major factor in the chance of surviving cancer, and Maori are often reluctant to get check ups.


Auckland City Mission organiser Wilf Holt says many Maori are among those moat needing help to get through the Christmas period.

Mr Holt, of Ngai Tahu decent, says many Maori families in the city don’t have whanau support.

He says the mission urgently needs food donations to keep up with unprecedented demand.

Food and money donations can be dropped off at any branch of the ASB.


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