Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Harawira blamed for poverty inaction

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the $600 million the party has won for Maori through its coalition with National is a fraction of what is needed.

Mrs Turia says the Te Tai Tokerau by-election highlighted the appalling conditions Maori are contending with in the north.

She says Hone Harawira, who won back the seat for his new Mana Party, could have done more for his constituents during his five years as a Maori Party MP.

“The housing situation is appalling. The impoverishment is appalling, and there’s 67 percent of young people under the age of 25 who are unemployed in the north. That is an indictment on those members of parliament who frankly should have been serving the interests of that community,” Mrs Turia says.

She says Maori communities in other regions like the Bay of Plenty are also suffering in the current economic climate.


A meeting house held at the national museum could soon be on its way home to the Bay of Plenty.

Rongowhakaata negotiator Willie te Aho says the iwi intends to initial the settlement of its treaty claims at Te Papa on July 8.

He says the house is a significant part of the claims.

“Te Aute Turanga is the premier whare tupuna at Te Papa. It was confiscated from Ngati Kaipoho and Rongowhakaata iwi at the time of the raupatu in the late 1860s, no question about it being confiscated.
Mr Te Aho says.

He says if Te Aute Turanga is returned to Poverty Bay, it could become part of a museum complex that also honours C Company of the 28 Maori Battallion.

The Rongowhakaata negotiations have been split from those of neighbour Te Aitanga a Maahiki, which were thrown into turmoil last month by a Supreme Court ruling that the Mangatu Incorporation could make a separate claim to land taken for erosion control in the 1960s.


A South Auckland teacher says a proposed cultural competency programme should improve achievement in the classroom.

Associate education Minister Pita Sharples wants to roll out the Tataiako programme to help secondary teachers to communicate better with Maori students.

Sara Harrison of Nga Puhi and Ngati Maniapoto says relationships are critical.

“The kids aren't going to do anything for you unless they know that you care for them, and that is the biggest thing for Maori and Pacific. If you don’t understand that, it takes you 10 times longer get anybody to do anything for you in the classroom,” she says.


Labour MP Shane Jones is calling for mobile voting booths to address low turnout in the Maori electorates.

Only 40 percent of eligible voters turned out in the te Tai Tokerau by-election on Saturday, compared with 63 percent in the 2008 general election ... and an overall average in 2008 of 79 percent.

Mr Jones says the Maori seats will not survive unless there is a consistently high turnout.

“It’s important that those of us who want to improve Maori turn out find innovative ways so we can take the voting facilities to where the people are, to sports fixtures and other gatherings perhaps even of a cultural nature and capture the people there so voting becomes user-friendly and we go beyond what we’ve got now. The reality is of the 32,00 people enrolled to vote, Hone has got less than 15 percent. It’s hardly a resounding mandate,” he says.

Mr Jones says there were several hundred potential voters at the dawn launch of a replica Maori village at Te Hana on Saturday morning who could have benefited from a mobile booth.


Meanwhile, Mana Party interim president Matt McCarten says if the Mana and Maori parties don't co-operate, Labour could win back Maori seats.

Mr McCarten says he's disappointed with the Maori Party's promise to again contest Te Tai Tokerau, despite the collapse of its vote in Saturday's by-election.

He says Mana leader Hone Harawira will offer to work for the re-election of sitting Maori Party MPs, in exchange for a clear run at the other three Maori seats.

“If it doesn't run in the seats, then the way it will win additional seats is through the party list and if the Maori party win their four seats or keep their four seats then the list becomes surplus to them and so we have an agreement that can be reached around that where we say ‘you don’t run a list, we run a list and we will help you on the Maori seats,’” Mr McCarten says.

He says Labour's Kelvin Davis will struggle to get media attention if he runs again in November, so Hone Harawira should be considered impregnable in Te Tai Tokerau.


National's plan to move on at least 4000 state tenants has brought hope to one South Auckland solo mother.

Housing Minister Phil Heatley says Housing New Zealand tenants who are paying full market rent should find places in the private market and make way for desperate families who need homes.

Tamalane Russell of Ngai Tuhoe and Nga Puhi says at the communal emergency housing unit where she is living with her two children, families have to wait up to six months to get a state home.

“That's not fair because we could live there in a house we can afford while they can live in another house that is a big higher for them but they can afford in their budget,” Ms Russell says.


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