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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ngati Awa challenges housing rhetoric

The chief executive of Te Runanga o Ngati Awa says if the government is serious about radically increasing the stock of social housing, it needs to look at ways for iwi to get involved.

Jeremy Gardiner is denying a report the iwi wants to buy Whakatane's state houses.

But he says Housing Minister Phil Heatley's call at last week's community housing conference for a third sector to help provide social and affordable housing fitted in with discussions among iwi who are considering becoming housing providers.

“My challenge to the conference and the minister was that if you are really serious about creating a third sector, then iwi are a good partner. Again, if you are serious, the government is going to have to think about valuing the housing asset differently to how it does at the moment which is base on its book value,” Mr Gardiner says.

He says the 400 state houses in Whakatane are valued at $80 million, but based on rental returns they aerwe worth a quarter of that.


A close advisor to Hone Harawira says the independent MP's willingness to stand up for the hard up will help his reelection prospects.

Massey University academic Malcolm Mulholland of Ngati Kahungunu says the Maori Party's close relationship with National will play to Mr Harawira's advantage.

He says many Maori in the Tai Tokerau electorate are struggling with stagnant wages and a rising cost of living.

“There's no real voice being promoted in a Maori sense especially for those who are less better off than others so there is this void there and Hone is very well placed to capture that voice,” Mr Mulholland says.

He says Maori people are now waiting to see whether Hone Harawira is able to create a party around him, and who its candidates will be.


New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is backing Te Whanau a Apanaui's protest against oil exploration off the East Coast.

A flotilla of boats is on its way to Cape Runaway to take a stand against Brazilian oil giant Petrobras's plans.

Mr Peters says New Zealanders have no confidence the government has properly weighted the environmental and social risks.

“The key issue is, have we been asked or consulted on this issue and the answer is no. It just went ahead like what Jerry Brownlee tried to do on the national parks, when they got rolled. That’s what they tried to do,” he says.

Mr Peters says the royalty rates are so low that that New Zealanders stand to make very little if Petrobras does discover oil.


A Hamilton-based Maori consultancy has identified a need to develop leadership among those implementing the government's whanau ora model of service delivery.

Digital Indigenous is being funded by the Health Ministry's Maori Health Innovations Fund to run Titoko o Te Ao, a wananga series starting next month at Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia.

Facilitator Tania Hodges says as well a picking up insights into leadership and tikanga Maori, the participants will be able to consider ways for whanau ora to expand beyond the current mandate.

She says with only Te Puni Kokiri, Health and the Ministry for Social Development involved so far, it’s important to bring in others,

Whanau Ora services need to recognise the interconnectedness of health, education, housing, justice, welfare, employment and lifestyle.


The chair of the Ahuwhenua Trophy committee says the annual award for Maori excellence in farming is the toughest competition of its kind.

Three farms are in line for the sheep and beef award: Waipapa 9 Trust near Taupo, which currently holds the award for its dairying operation ... Pakihiroa Farms west of Ruatoria, which is owned by Te Runanga o Ngati Porou ... and Ngati Whatua's Otakanini Topu Incorporation in the south Kaipara.

Kingi Smiler says the trio has won through a guelling selection process looking at their governance, financial performance and the environmental and farming practices they use to build sustainability.

He says the competition has become a way to share knowledge and experience among Maori farmers.


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