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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Race commissioner steps up council push

Race Relations commisioner Joris de Bres says if local authorities continue to reject his call to establish Maori seats, he will recommend it be done as part of the constitutional reform process.

Mr de Bres says Bay of Plenty Regional Council has demonstrated how Maori wards are an effective way of getting Maori involved in the decisions that affect them.

He's concerned at the offhand way councils like Rotorua and New Plymouth have treated the issue.

“If councils overall reject the option that is available to them, then I think we’ll fed that into the constitutional debate because it may be at that point that we say look, the real flaw in this provision is that Maori as a minority are totally dependent on the goodwill of the majority and shouldn’t councils be obliged to introduce this into their electoral system if Maori want it,” Mr de Bres says.

He hopes other councils which are still debating the issue will respond positively.


Former Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira says cuts recommended by the government's welfare working group will be disastrous for Maori in the north.

Mr Harawira, who is trying to win back the seat for his new Mana Party, says the Maori Party will struggle to defend the welfare reforms its coalition partner is planning.

He says people in the north are starving now, and further cuts will make it worse.

“There’s 50 percent of children in the north living below the poverty line and probably about 70 percent of Maori children below the poverty line so when the Maori Party says it is going to support benefit cuts in 2011, I’m glad to be free of those guys, I’m glad to be in a position where I can fight against it and do my best to make changes,” Mr Harawira says.


New Zealand Post expects strong demand from collectors around the world for this year's Matariki stamps.

The six stamps on the theme of hei matau or fish hooks were developed in collaboration with Maori designers and artists.

Marketing manager Simon Allison says previous issues marking the Maori new year have been popular overseas, as seen from web orders and the response at stamp expos round the world.

The matariki series is available from today.


The Council of Trade Unions says it's time for the solicitor general to withdraw charges laid after the so called terror raids in Te Urewera in 2007.

The trial of the 15 defendants was due to start this week, but it has been delayed until early next year because of Supreme Court appeals about some of the evidence.

Maori vice president Syd Keepa says after more than four years, it was unfair to persist.

“These people have been out on the margins waiting for what is going to happen to them. Some of those people can’t get jobs, some of them have to give up their jobs because they don’t know what the hell is going to happen to them and now they have come up with the situation it is going to be another year before those charges can be heard,” he says.

Mr Keepa says the stress of the case continues to affect the Maori community at Ruatoki, which was locked down by armed police during the raids.


Labour's Te Tai Tokerau by-election candidate, Kelvin Davis, says the government's plan for welfare reform shows it has no plan to create jobs and economic growth.

Prime Minister John Key has asked his ministers to turn the Welfare Working Group's February report into policies that will cut the number of beneficiaries.

Mr Davis says National's punitive approach to welfare is doomed to fail.

“This is classic behaviour from a National Government is to blame and bash the people who are their most desperate and I can’t see anything the government is doing or proposing that is going to help people on low and middle incomes,” he says.

Mr Davis says Government ministers have no understanding of the conditions faced by beneficiaries in Te Tai Tokerau, where Maori unemployment is near record levels.


Ngati Paoa today lays to rest Hariata Gordon, who reestablished the iwi as a force to be reckoned with in Auckland and Hauraki affairs.

Mrs Gordon led a 1984 protest and subsequent Waitangi Tribunal claim over the leasing of a Maori affairs farm on Waihere Island, which led to a finding that the Crown had breached the treaty by leaving the tribe landless.

Pita Turei from the Ngati Paoa Whanau Trust says she will be missed by many in the tribe.

“She was a kuia. She was a wahine toa. She was a taniwha. She made a lot of people angry along the way but she achieved something in her time. When we think about Bastion Point, we think of the forgotten occupation over there on Waiheke where through the actions of Hariata and others, Ngati Paoa was able to elevate itself from being a landless people on Waiheke,” Mr Turei says.

The funeral for Hariata Gordon is at 11 this morning at Waiti Marae in Tahuna.


Blogger marangamai said...

by cursing "get a life" and "bullshit" to the youth in Kaitaia says Mereana who heard the Maori Party say these words as she stood in close proximity by them.
SHAME is this the future of disrespect.
Mereana was sadden to hear such korero coming from two people whom hold high positions in the Maori Party.

11:06 pm  

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