Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Overseas investment office fails Peters

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says most Maori would be opposed to letting German investors buy large tracts of South Island farmland.

The Overseas Investment Office has approved the sale of more than 3000 hectares of dairy and dairy conversion land for more than $100 million to several German and Swiss groups.

Mr Peters says the office is a rubber stamp and needs to be revamped.

“They're no protection at all in terms of New Zealand interests and worse than that they’re headed by a minister and a government that believes in the appropriateness of selling land and key assets to overseas interests. It’s just wrong and I don’t know why you’d allow 3400 hectares of the South Island to get into German hands or American hands of Chinese hands or the hands on anyone who are not New Zealanders. It’s not fair and it’s not right,” he says.

Mr Peters says the Government needs to create an Overseas Investment Office that puts New Zealand interests first.


Ngai Tahu leader Mark Solomon says the tribe's chief executive could be hard to replace.

Anake Goodall submitted his resignation this week after four years in the role, which he took on during a time of turbulence in the South Island tribe's governance.

Mr Solomon says with his experience dating back to helping present the Ngai Tahu claim to the Waitangi Tribunal in the 1980s, Mr Goodall had a wealth of institutional knowledge and experience which helped with the restructuring of its systems to better cope with the post-settlement environment.

Mr Solomon says Ngai Tahu will be looking for a chief executive who understands Maori and understands how to run a $700 million organisation.


The organiser of Rotorua's Opera in the Pa is promising an even bigger spectacle next year.

A capacity audience packed in to Te Puia last Saturday for an evening of Italian arias and Maori culture delivered from the porch of the Rotowhio meeting house.

Trevor Maxwell says the evening was made even more special by the presence of the four remaining Rotorua based members of B Company of the 28 Maori Battalion, to which the evening was dedicated.

He says next year is the 15th Opera in the Pa, and it needs to be special.


Race relations commissioner Joris de Bres says he'd be surprised if there was a resurgence of protest at Waitangi this year.

Organisers are again aiming for a family-friendly programme, while iwi leaders are using the annual gathering in the bay of islands as a chance to discuss progress on issues like water policy, changes to aquaculture and the replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Mr de Bres says many of the activists of the past have found other ways to advance Maori interests.

“Protest action has its times. I’m not going to predict what’s going to happen on Waitangi Day but I do sense that this is a time when people are grappling with issues and not necessarily by protest but by becoming engaged,” Mr de Bres says.


Maori political commentator John Tamihere says the time isn't right to firm a new left wing party.

Hone Harawira's travails with the Maori Party is fuelling speculation the Tai Tokerau MP could be drawn into a new party with former Green MP Sue Bradford and Unite union lead Matt McCarten.

But Mr Tamihere, a former Labour MP, says election year has already started.

“If you haven’t got a party on the board and you’re not ready to go by now, it’s a dumb idea. This is an idea thought up by others other than a player like a Hone Harawira,” he says.


A thousand-meal hangi is just one of the attractions that may lure people to Kawhia this weekend.

Lloyd Whiu, the organiser of the annnual Kawhia Kai festival, says the coastal Waikato township is hard at work getting ready for an influx of visitors.
He says people should be prepared to sample both innovative and traditional fare.

Saturday's event is expected to draw up to 10,000 people.


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