Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, April 08, 2011

Petrobras risks need explaining

Labour leader Phil Goff wants the government to reveal what if any environment protection measures are built into its agreement allowing Brazilian company PetroBras to prospect for oil off the East Coast.

A flotillia led by Te Whanau a Apanui and Greenpeace is currently protesting the seismic testing in the Raukumara Basin.

Mr Goff says apart from making bland assurances, the government refuses to answer questions about environmental protection.

“If they haven't secured that, then the deal shouldn’t go ahead until they’ve got a water tight guarantee that the top measures are in place to stop any incident and if the incident were to happen that that company would be paying full compensation for any damage done,” he says.

Mr Goff says last years drilling platform explosion in the Gulf of Mexico shows the absolute need for environmental protection to be part of any contract.


Maori academic Rawiri Taonui says uncertainty over insurance could drive an exodus of Maori homeowners from the Christchurch.

The Government yesterday stepped in with a $500 million guarantee from AMI, after the insurance company warned Christchurch earthquake claims were straining its resources.

Mr Taonui says many Maori with homes in the eastern suburbs are concerned not just about getting their houses fixed, but about whether they will be allowed to renew their insurance.

“There are people out there who are starting to weigh up in their own minds whether they just walk away from their properties. It’s going to take a year or more to get a house fixed and people are really worried about whether they will be able to sell their houses. It’s something that’s present in the back of hyour mind and I think it takes a toll on people over time,” Mr Taonui says.

HJe says Maori renters have already quit the city in large numbers, and many are unlikely to return.


Organisers of the annual Maori Historians’ Symposium want to find out where Maori history may go once the historical treaty claim process is complete.

Aroha Harris says the call has gone out for papers and presentations to He Rau Tumu Korero, which will be held at Auckland University in June.

She says over the past two decades many historians have been caught up producing work for the Waitangi Tribunal, which has led to narratives of resistance.

“We want to see, when we get to the end of our claims research, what other history will be left and that’s what I hope we get a sense of at this year’s symposium and we’re asking the question where is Maori history so people will think about where it’s located intellectually as well as kind of physically,” Dr Harris says.

She says the symposium is a place where maori historians can debate what is important to them, rather than being swamped within mainstream conferences.


The chair of Nelson's Ngati Tama says the iwi will keep fighting for an important kaimoana gathering area, despite its latest setback in the Supreme Court.

The court yesterday refused to change a Court of Appeal decision to cancel Te Huria Matenga Wakapuaka Trust's title to the Wakapuaka estuary, which the Maori land Court issued to back in 1998.

Fred te Miha says Ngati Tama has been through the courts seven times, and it's prepared to go back again.

“It's whakapapa land. We’ve had it forever. And we don’t believe the government has a right to take something that’s already owned. They keep telling us in the treaty settlements that you can’t touch private land but the government seems to be able to do it to Maori,” he says.

A hui at the weekend will decide Ngati Tama's next step.


Labour's associate education spokesperson says the government's decision to use public private partnerships to build two schools in the prime minister's Hobsonville electorate won't improve educational outcomes.

The primary and secondary school will be built and maintained by private operators before being handed over to the government in 25 years.

Kelvin Davis, a former intermediate school principal, says it reduces education to a money-making venture which carries great risk for the public.

He says even Infrastructure Minister Bill English has admitted the savings will be minimal.


The kai-arahi Maori at Massey University's college of sciences says more Maori might be encouraged to take up science subject if they could get past the stereotypes.

A new report on science education has pointed to persistent under-achievement in school science by Maori and Pacific pupils.

Nick Roskruge of Te Atiawa and Ngati Tama says many people have the mistaken view science is labs and white coats.

Science is about inquiry. It’s about learning about things and some of the mahi we do which is around crop production systems, we spend a fair bit of our time out on the paddocks or teaching people how to improve their growing of crops or looking for problems and how to respond to that, so a lot if it is community interaction as well,” he says.

Dr Roskruge says Maori science graduates need to encourage other Maori to pursue science careers.


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