Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Kelvin Davis in campaign mode

Labour list MP Kelvin Davis says he's looking forward to being in campaign mode for the rest of the year.

Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has submitted his letter of resignation to the speaker effective from May 20, two days before the deadline after which there would be no need for a by-election.

Mr Davis says over the past two years he has built up Labour's membership in the seat, which stretches from west Auckland to North Cape, and he's confident he can trounce both Mr Harawira and whoever the Maori Party puts up.

“Everyone in the Tai Tokerau is looking forward to going out and fighting a good clean fight and taking the electorate of Te Tai Tokerau or bringing it back to Labour,” Mr Davis says.

He says while there are some local issues, people's main concerns are the rising cost of living and the high rate of unemployment among Maori whanau in the north.


Green co-leader Meteria Turei says the government's national policy statement on fresh water does little for Maori aspirations to help manage the country's waterways.

She says the statement also doesn't help those councils who want to check the intensification of farming, which is leading to increased pollution of lakes and rivers.

“For Maori this just means even less control over protecting our waterways, it means they’re not engaged in the process, there’s no involvement of Maori. It’s a typical, very weak approach to protecting our freshwater resources by National,” Ms Turei says.


Ngapuhi kaumatua Ron Wihongi says there is outrage in the north at the removal of bones alleged to those of Hone Heke being removed from a cave on the outskirts of Pakaraka.

Auckland plumber David Rankin says he uplifted the bones to protect them from development and took them to a temporary location in Kaikohe.

Hone Heke was the first northern chief to sign the Treaty of Waitangi, but went to war with the Crown five years later because it did not produce the outcomes he expected.

Mr Wihongi says Mr Rankin has no authority to interfere with burial caves.

“He hasn't the authority and he hasn’t the right people to do those sorts of things. There should be a tohunga and there are very few Maori tohunga around, not just an ordinary minister, but a tohunga that is able to do those things, to exhume bones and things,” Mr Wihongi says.

He says if similar action had happened with a European leader the person who did it would be jailed.


Labour's Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis wants the forthcoming by-election to be about issues, but for his leader it's about personality.

Phil Goff has fired his first shots of the campaign by attacking incumbent Hone Harawira, who tendered his resignation to the speaker yesterday.

He says despite forming a new Mana Party, Mr Harawira is looking increasingly isolated.

“He's burnt off the Maori Party. The Green Party don’t want to work with him. I don’t want to work with him. National doesn’t want to work with him. To have effective representation in the north you’ve got to have a member of Parliament that can work with a group and use collective strength to do the things that need to happen for the north and the Maori people of Te Tai Tokerau,” Mr Goff says.

Kelvin Davis is likely to come through the middle if the Maori Party splits off some of Mr Harawira's vote.


Auckland University of Technology chancellor Sir Paul Reeves says AUT's 14th annual Maori expo will present the positive face of young Maori.

Up to 20,000 rangatahi are expected at Auckland Vector arena today.

Sir Paul says they will be exposed to the best of Maori fashion, political debates of the highest order and demonstrations of the full range of young Maori talent.

Sir Paul says the expo celebrates Maori success and aims to encourage young Maori to enter tertiary education.


An Auckland man is thanking police and the city council for helping make his one-man protest against the sale of offensive souvenirs a success.

John Kairau, who offers tourists the chance to have their photo taken with a live Maori, says he approached all the souvenir shops in the Queen Street area and asked them to stop selling images of Maori ancestors.

He says there was one defiant outlet, which caved as he was about to mount a round-the-clock vigil outside the store when the police advised them to take the pictures off display.


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