Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Maori business positioned for uplift

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says Maori enterprises should benefit from any strengthening of the economy.

Mr English told today's Maori economic summit in Auckland that the growing interest in business by Maori represents a great opportunity for the country.

He says Maori businesses stand to benefit from the rebalancing of the economy his government is attempting, especially if they focus on exporting.

“The world wants what a lot of Maori businesses produce and that is food and the forestry interests. The commodity process are very high. They are probability going to go up and down. But there is no doubt when you look across the Asia Pacific region, they want more of what we produce as their incomes rise,” Mr English says.

He says there will also be opportunities for Maori enterprises to benefit if National is re-elected and sells off state assets.


Mana party leader Hone Harawira is defending his mihi to Osama Bin Laden on Maori Television's Native Affairs show.

Mr Harawira says it's a time-honoured Maori tradition to acknowledge someone who has died.

He's upset by the response to his poroporoaki.

“If Don Brash was to fall over and die right now and the media came to me I would mihi to him. It’s a time honoured tradition. It’s a Maori thing that you do. It’s still kind of heartbreaking to open the Herald this morning and see ‘Harawira salutes Bin Laden.’ It’s racism in the media. I haven’t said ‘I love Bin Laden,” Mr Harawira says.

As the leader of the new Mana movement he needs to be more careful about what he says in the future.


Iwi in Golden Bay have created a mataitai or customary fishing reserve at Paturai in a bid to restore paua stocks.

John Ward-Holmes says paua and other species have been under pressure from commercial, recreational and customary fishing.

He says the management of Mohua ki te Tai Tapu Mataitai will be shared between Te Atiawa, Ngati Tama, Ngati Rarua and the wider community.
The mataitai covers two sections of coastline and extends up to a kilometre offshore.


BERL economist Ganesh Nana says the Maori economy has grown 18 percent over the past four years, but a much smarter approach to resources is needed to make the growth sustainable.

Dr Nana told today's Maori economic summit the Maori asset base is now more than $36 million, including $4 billion held by land trusts and incorporations and $6 billion in other entities like iwi.

He says while some of the increase on an earlier estimate of $16 billion was due to inflation and different assumptions, there had been real growth of 4.3 percent a year because increased commodity prices mean Maori primary sector businesses are earning more.

“The key is to make sure that continues and to leverage off those gains so those commodity prices, use that income to invest in the science and the innovation and the skill building and the capacity building so the gains are not frittered away, the gains are set for further gains and further expansion over the longer term,” Dr Nana says.

Investment in science and innovation in the Maori economy could create up to 150,000 new jobs by 2061 - while doing nothing will lead to a reduction in jobs.


Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira says he would not work in any coalition that includes the Maori Party.

Mr Harawira says he finds it horrifying to hear his former leader, Pita Sharples, saying he would work with ACT leader Don Brash.

He says National, ACT and the Maori Party are now clearly a team.

“That deal is already sewn up. The Maori Party is now the party of the right. I have no plans on going there at all. So I would rather be on the cross benches than sit at the table with Don Brash,” Mr Harawira says.

While John Key has ruled him out, he's confident if National is a few votes short of forming a coalition he would receive a call.


The co-chair of Te Aute Trust Board says the historic Hawkes Bay Maori boarding school is not about to close.

Whatarangi Winiata says a newspaper report that receivers were about to be called in was based on a year old report.

He says an injection of $1.5 million by supporters cleared much of the long term debt, and the challenge now is to put the college's long term funding on a more sustainable basis.

“Regrettably the Te Aute Trust Board itself, which invested in a farm that wasn’t such a great idea, that has cost them a lot of money. Now the task is to try to restore their commercial activities. The college will be open this year and next year and the year after, we’ve secured funding to make sure that will be the case,” Professor Winiata says.


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