Monday, October 31, 2011

sharples desperate

Sharples the Maori Party co-leader has told supporters at the party's campaign launch at the weekend that Mana only purported to stand for Maori. 

"Rubbish. How can John Minto speak for you? Sue Bradford, how can she speak for kaupapa Maori?," he asked.

What he fails to understand that HE doesn't speak for Māori, as evidenced by the Foreshore and Seabed Repeal. Turia already saying she will not stand again and may not even make it through the next term. Hey Pita you should have taken my advice and retired but too late now and all downhill for you and your party. You supported key and all of the sick things he has done to denigrate Māori, like make it harder for whānau, making jokes about Tuhoe, drilling and exploiting our land and sea for money - you stood at his side while he did all these things and no one is going to forget it.  

Remember "we will listen to our people" well you didn't listen but in a few weeks you will hear.

Sue Bradford states it well
Mana was a "Maori-led, Maori-focused political movement", she said. It was led by Hone Harawira and Maori lawyer Annette Sykes and stood on a principle of upholding the Treaty of Waitangi as the constitutional basis for New Zealand. "Mana also invites anyone to join Mana or to support it or to vote for it." Mana wanted every New Zealander to have access to education, good health care and the things that made life full and valuable, Bradford said. "No one should miss out because they are not rich or white or lucky. "Everyone deserves a chance and Mana is there for everyone and that's why I'm in Mana," she said.
Sharples - I voted for your party last time and this time Mana gets both my votes.

hey - what about us?

A lot has been said about the respective approaches that National and Labour have taken to their opening addresses and I agree with it. I listened to them both on the radio and they were a stark contrast indeed. What a bunch of overconfident gnats we have, resting everything on the key. He hasn't got it, he never had it and it is all starting to go crock for them. Good on labour for making a go of it with their historical approach - hell it may even snag some of those 'middle' voters both partys crave so much. It was glaring obvious from them both that tangata whenua were invisible. I have posted about the retirement age inequality and labour have shown their true colours over that - they don't care about the inequality. Well frankly i don't care about them, or the gnats. They are interchangable and the problem. The promises are coming thick and fast now and tangata whenua have heard it all before, as have many thinking people. The minor parties are where I am focused. The Mana Party is where my votes, support and energy are going. 

I agree with everything Andrew Geddis says in this post on Pundit.
That point is "John Key is National, and National is John Key". I can't recall him once mentioning anyone else in his Government in the entire 20 minutes. But I guess when you've got such a winner on your hands,
I also agree with QoT on this guestpost on The Standard
those of us clinging to a phantom hope of a Labour/Green/Mana-or-Maori coalition actually delivering good outcomes for women, non-whites, queers et al can surely, at this point, take it as read that your party gives not a shit for us if we’re in the way of taking power.
The whole goff 'we've got the balls' line is foul and deliberately contrived - you can bet Māori will be used too, if they think they can get votes from it. The election is on and heating up.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

the wall hit

I'm sorry but I have hit the wall with blogging. As an older student the financial stress is overwhelming and with trying to be there for my family, just isn't working well for me.

I'm not sure when I will be back maybe tomorrow, maybe never.

So after 1429 posts since March 2009 I'm hanging my keyboard up for a while.

I think...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

a video on our occupy

There has been good debate about the Occupy movement around the internet. On The Standard Bill has posted a provocative piece on Occupy Dunedin with pete george popping up a bit with his personal vendetta. 

Ana has posted up this video and it is awesome and really speaks the truth. I am in total agreement with Marama.

Marama Davidson a member of Te Wharepora Hou

and I must add these great blogs in too.


Hat tip Ana at Whenua, Fenua, Enua, Vanua

Friday, October 21, 2011

good call from Mana

An awesome Press Release from the Mana Party on oil exploitation and the gnats, entitled "National: The Party of Irresponsibility and Greed" summed up by Mana Party Ikaroa Rawhiti candidate Tawhai McClutchie, who is calling for a complete cancellation on oil and gas development in New Zealand. I agree and support this call and for all the reasons listed by Tawhai

what we have iis the irresponsible behaviour of National tendering to the highest bidder for more ways to compromise our environment. Their greed is insatiable.
The people of Ikaroa Rawhiti should be concerned with the evidence in Tauranga. We see a Maritime Authority sorely unprepared to deal with oil spills. A government proving that they don’t know how to prevent a spill don’t know how to stop a spill and don’t know how to clean up a spill. And yet they’re planning to sell more oil permits?
Tauranga Moana needs to be a wake-up call. Our country should be developing more widespread, community-based sustainable energy alternatives. Not only does it behove this country’s clean, green image, such sustainable energy alternatives help break our habit of oil dependence, puts power back into our people’s hands, and it is healthier for the environment and wildlife. All future oil operations must stop!
Yes the arguements for further exploitation are based on selfishness and greed and the myth of unending growth, which is false and illusory - it just isn't going to happen - peak oil and the effects of climate change are happening now and the world as we have known it is changing, drastically.  Community and connection are the only answer to their lies and this Press Release is part of the solution to the problems many refuse to acknowledge.

visual poem - sitting infinity

Shards of sand merge
into a softness felt
in your belly
Sitting infinity 
you are relaxed.

Are tarapunga discrete?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

the twist of hate

TV3 are shocking with their completely misleading headline saying, "Harawira: Hang Rena captain - or Steven Joyce" They say
Controversial MP Hone Harawira's calling for the captain of the stricken vessel the Rena to be hanged over the environmental disaster the ship has caused in the Bay of Plenty.
This is what Hone actually said
Mana Party leader Mr Harawira wants a strong punishment for the Rena's captain. "Hanging the poor bugger might sound a bit harsh, but somebody should pay," he said. "Maybe we can send the Rena captain home with a stern warning and put [Transport Minister] Steven Joyce up on the gallows in his place."
As Rob on The Standard notes
Clearly is Harawira is joking.  He’s angry (we all are) – but he’s taking the piss.
Of course he is and it is obvious but TV3 have for some reason decided to go the inciting racial hatred way. Expect more of this as the election looms closer.

Hat tip The Standard

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lower the Māori retirement age

This post will outline the point of my latest essay.

There are some stark facts that jump out at when you investigate how retirement and Māori interact. These facts show inequity for Māori at every level of the debate and retirement reality. Let’s just lay them out:

Non-Māori males life expectancy at birth is around 79.0 years, and for male Māori, 70.4 years. Female non-Māori 83.0 years compared to female Māori of 75.1 years. So Māori can expect on average to live shorter lives than non-Māori – that’s a fact, and although life expectancy is increasing for everyone, the gain for Māori was less than for non-Māori when compared between, 1985 – 1987 and 2005 – 2007.

Okay what about leading up to retirement – what’s the story there?

Māori on average earn less than non-Māori and even when the qualifications were similar, the median incomes were still lower for Māori.

The are a number of measures of Māori participation in employment and the current information shows that the labour force participation rate for all people, in the year ending June 2011, was 68.3% compared to 66.1% for Māori. The unemployment rate for the same period for all people was 6.5% against 13.5% for Māori. They are facts, Māori earn less and a higher number are unemployed and that means disadvantage in the ability to save for retirement but other factors also need to be mentioned.

Māori are also a younger population, with higher birth rates, more dependants and less disposable income. Any surplus is often directed towards the younger generation which reduces again, the opportunities to save.

All of these facts result in a higher percentage of Māori indicating NZSuper as their sole income. The crucial years of saving from around 50 upwards, for many of the population, is when the mortgage is paid off, the kids have left home. But the facts show that 67% of Māori have achieved home ownership, with or without a mortgage, by the age of 65, which contrasts with non-Māori at 81%.

Every part of the retirement debate ignores the cultural interactions and responsibilities that come for many older Māori and these often begin well before retirement and they incur a financial cost for older Māori. A cost that is not applicable to non-Māori, and after retirement the inequality is just as apparent, and not just in longevity.

The ‘Living standards of older Māori’ study (2002 reported that 15% of older Māori, compared with 10% of non-Māori, face some financial difficulties with a further 20% of older Māori facing severe difficulties, in stark contrast to a further 6% for the older population generally. Added to this is the knowledge that single older Māori tend to be in a worse situation financially, often the death of a spouse is a major contributor to this, with older Māori women being particularly vulnerable.

Within a whānau, older Māori support, and are supported, with 78% of respondents providing care for their whānau and most saying they received care from whānau. (Waldon, 2004). I am not going to go into iwi initiatives to support and help older Māori because I’m looking at the structural inequalities and as the facts show there is no equality for Māori.

I blame the Government and their abuse of Māori in not actualising the Treaty of Waitangi, specifically Article 2 and 3. Even today scant regard is paid to tangata whenua and their specific circumstances. It is not good enough to treat Māori as a sub-group of the general population, the facts burn the eyes, yet the powers that be, refuse to see. They prefer Māori to be disadvantaged, it is deliberate. The facts are known, they are the Governments own facts FFS.

There are other aspects I could describe like the relationship between financial literacy, self determination and the management of iwi pūtea – the management outsourced for most, to non-iwi members.

These inequities are wrong and shameful for this country and our Government yesterday, and today, and show one of the reasons tino rangatiratanga is needed – there is no alternative. Māori should have fairness and equality throughout life and that all needs to be fixed. One small but significant step that Government could do to really help Māori today, is that the payment for NZSuper should kick in earlier for Māori, the retirement age for Māori should be lowered.

There should be an equal partnership between the Crown and Māori, and the role of older Māori, as kaumātua and custodians of knowledge should be exalted. Not all Māori wish to or are able to fulfil that role, but many are involved with their whānau and knowledge is being imparted. Reducing the retirement age for kaumātua would allow them to fulfil their cultural function and responsibilities without the current financial cost, and dismantling that barrier to participation for older Māori could create an upsurge in marae activity and show an honest movement from the Government towards equality for Māori. This would actualise the treaty and the partnership inherent within that document.

This aligns with tino rangatiratanga and provides even more opportunities and responsibilities culturally for older Māori, leading to richer more rewarding lives. in later life for them, including better health outcomes.

Reducing the retirement age for Māori would alleviate some of the stressors for older Māori and add real benefits for the individual retirees, their whānau, hapū and iwi, the Māori Nation and the country as a whole.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Māori representation and tino rangatiratanga

Phew! I have finished 2 essays and 1 research project over recent days and one of the best aspects of writing essays is it really gets you thinking.

One essay I entitled “The Mana Party and self determination: a journey and a destination.” As you might expect I am quite keen on The Mana Party and I wanted to assess how the party moves tino rangatiratanga forward.

To do that required a bit of analysis of Effective Māori Representation (EMR) and whether the Māori Party had achieved that, because as we know the Mana Party has formed out of that party. This post offers my view of that area.

Supporters of The Māori Party believe that being in Government and therefore in power, is the best way to achieve incremental gains for Māori self determination and this view ties into EMR, described by the Electoral System report (1986) as, “effective and fair representation of Māori and Māori views”, and represented within the MMP system by the number of Māori MP’s, their political leverage in terms of advancing Māori self determination, the cultural improvements to parliament itself by having more Māori MP’s, and the actual ability of Māori MP’s to influence and lead improvements for Māori.

There can be no doubt that the Māori Party have sat at the table but the key term within EMR is representation and when we look at the flagship policy of the Māori Party, namely repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act we can see that they did not represent the views of the vast majority of Māori who submitted in opposition to their solution, the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act (2011).

Foucault analysed the relationships between power, rights and truth and how the discourses generated hide the true intention of the dominant partner in the relationship, which is to reinforce the dominance. Foucault’s idea of a ‘right’ is that it is given by those in power seemingly as a positive development but actually reaffirming the power dynamic of the dominant relationship. (Foucault, 1976)

The National Government has bestowed a ‘right’ to Māori by repealing the Foreshore and Seabed Act, and on one level it was fulfilling its obligation to its coalition partner the Māori Party, but at a deeper level it was reinforcing authority and the ability to bestow ‘rights’. The idea of a truth from Foucault is a discourse from those with power that supports the normalising of the dominance, which is similar to Gramsci’s idea of ‘common sense’ where the discourse is designed to normalise the dominant relationship and behaviours.

The Māori Party have created a discourse where their ‘truth’ is that they have achieved the goal of repeal and that is what they promised. Certainly the repeal was the impetus for the formation of the Māori Party and it has been completed, but the gains for Māori self determination are non-evident. The National Government have described the repeal and new Act as “recognising the rights of all New Zealanders in the common marine and coastal area” and this view is not consistent with tino rangatiratanga.

The Māori Party discourses have allied with the National Government discourses and their truths are presented as ‘common sense’ and this legitimises the declared truths supporting the continued dominance. The repeal and new Act have reinforced the unequal power relationship between Māori and the Government and offers no advances to Māori self determination.

The Mana Party and its supporters reject these discourses and oppose the power relationship where the Government is dominant. Gramsci’s analysis suggests that the way to overcome the common sense discourses from the dominators is to develop counter discourses that take away the dominant groups spiritual prestige and power. The Mana Party dismisses the hegemony of the dominating group and instead forms part of a counter hegemony where the right of Māori to self determination is accepted as normal.

Obviously the essay has a bit more to it than this précis, for instance I looked at the aspect of silencing.

The attempted silencing of Hone Harawira by the Māori Party suggests aspects of Freire’s ‘culture of silence’ concept where a dependent/object society (Māori) is silent in the face of the metropolis/director society (NZ) and often echos the dominant society, because as Freire notes, “The silence of the object society in relation to the director society is repeated in the relationships within the object society itself. Its power elites, silent in the face of the metropolis, silence there own people in turn.”

So my conclusion was clear, EMR has not occurred from the Māori Party, which is why the Mana Party has formed. There have been some discussions recently on The Mana party and what it is all about and my final word is dedicated to that.

The Mana Party has momentum, and the potential to advance Māori self determination because everything within The Mana Party endorses tino rangatiratanga and it is a perquisite for membership. You cannot support The Mana Party and oppose tino rangatiratanga and when equality is welded to social justice issues, which negatively affect many Māori, you have a potent force for change. This force for change is inclusive and The Mana Party offers representation to Māori and non-Māori.

I’ll post about my other essay soon because it relates to this essay and was all about Māori and retirement and the inequity facing Māori throughout their working life, as they get close to retirement and after retirement. This inequity manifests in income, employment, and longevity and offers good evidence for lowering the retirement age for Māori to create equality.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

restless and edgy

This oil spill has got me edgy - I want to do something, anything, but down here there is little to do except look at the wetlands in front of me and consider the massive pollution and misery up north.

Hone and Mana are saying get out there and clean up the beaches but I can't see how putting people at risk through contamination with this toxic mess is going to help anyone. But it is impossible to do nothing, especially when you can see the destruction in front of your eyes. If I was up there I would be out there doing my bit too, so I fully understand the reasoning, the heart that says - we must do SOMETHING.

The Mana Party
“I am grateful to those MANA supporters who have already joined the clean-up crews and I am calling on our supporters to ignore the government’s calls and join the team at Papamoa to clean up our beaches”
All I can offer at this stage is a song

I met up with Aaron a few months ago here in the bay and as we looked out to sea he asked what the kai moana was like - ka pai I replied. I wish it was ka pai for the people and environment near Tauranga. I've got two assignments due tomorrow and my head is struggling because my heart is torn and raw and hurt. We must stop this happening again and stop their plans for more destruction and exploitation. We have no choice - we just have to do it, we have to stop them.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

oil nightmare

It seems pretty clear that the Rena stuck on the Astrolabe reef off Tauranga will break up and the question really is, how bad can it get? So far it is horrendous with oil washing up on beaches, containers sinking and floating around and the destruction of wildlife, wetlands and lifestyles underway. There are multiple degrees of misery to come as the heavy oil spews and this is equivilant to another natural disaster - but it isn't natural - it's man made. Blame? I have plenty to blame but I'm not going to go there at this point, other than to say, as Environment Minster Smith said - this was inevitable. It is always inevitable and if we let the scum who would exploit our earth get their way, we become tainted. They want to drill for oil and gas and dig up our home and this utter disaster is a foretaste of their world. Reject it and reject them I say. I want to take the exploiters to the sick beaches and rub their noses in the foul toxic sludge and i'd spit in their faces, only it would wash off some of their guilt. But it is the time for support to the people, and environment now, the time for blame will come.

Morgan at Maui St has good posts here, here and here
The Rena disaster fucks me off, it fucks me off big time. It goes to show New Zealand does not have the capacity to respond to even the most minor of oil spills. New Zealand does not have the policy mechanisms or the capacity to deal with an actual spill and the consequences thereof - not even a minor spill. Hekia Parata should take note. If she approves oil extraction in the Raukumara this could end up happening to her moana and her whenua in Ngati Porou, but to the power of x1000.
Claire at Pundit
The rock the ship is on, the Astrolabe Reef, is deemed by the regional council to be of “significant conservation value”. Reports this week have described the waters, accurately, as “teeming with life”, “pristine”, with conservationists warning of a. “wildlife tragedy” that will affect whales and seals and many many seabirds - an international scale conservation incident, at the worst time of year.
Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn
This feeds into the second problem: the government's inaction highlights the gulf in values between them and ordinary kiwis. Ordinary New Zealanders regard the environment as a priority, especially where recreation opportunities are concerned. National does not. Witness their enthusiasm to dig up our national parks, their erosion of environmental standards, their foot-dragging on climate change. But now, that attitude is going to bite them, hard. People understand that a government which shared their concerns about the environment would have acted sooner. While this would not have prevented the disaster, it would likely have mitigated it somewhat. Which means that Tauranga residents wouldn't be needing masks to walk on the beach.
I feel gutted by this.

Monday, October 10, 2011

underreported struggles 54

More essential underreported struggles from Ahni at Intercontinetal Cry this month.

Burma's President announced that the Myitsone Dam on the Irrawaddy River would be halted "to respect the will of the people." Grace Mang, program coordinator at International Rivers, said: "The suspension of the Myitsone Dam is a great success for civil society groups in Burma and throughout the world. The decision shows that dam builders can no longer rely on dictatorial governments to push through projects that are rejected by their populations."

A Federal judge in Brazil suspended work on the controversial Belo Monte dam project, citing concerns that it would impact local fish stocks and harm indigenous peoples who rely on fishing. In his ruling, Judge Carlos Castro Martins explicitly forbade Norte Energia, the consortium behind the dam, from "building a port, using explosives, installing dikes, building canals and any other infrastructure work that would interfere with the natural flow of the Xingu river, thereby affecting local fish stocks".

In a huge win for Indigenous and forest dwelling peoples throughout Indonesia who are struggling to assert their customary land rights in the face of massive palm oil expansion, Chief Justice Mahfud M.D. ruled that two Articles of Indonesian law used to imprison community members are unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid. Articles 21 and 47 of Indonesia’s Plantation Act are responsible for the widespread criminalization of forest community members who often end up in jail for defending their land rights against the ever-encroaching expansion of oil palm plantations.

A northern Ontario First Nation is urgently calling on Premier Dalton McGuinty to stop gold mining exploration on a sacred burial site. KI First Nation explains that the Toronto-based company God's Lake Resources deliberately ignored their widely-publicized moratorium on exploration and overstepped their Indigenous rights to explore for gold in an area where multiple sacred KI graves are located. KI has since issued the company an eviction notice.

A top court in Costa Rica ruled that the ancestral lands of the Bri-bri indigenous people must be returned, handing one of the country’s most marginalized groups a legal victory. A lawyer for the indigenous group said that the ruling was “historic” and that the Bri-bri consider these lands to be sacred. Government agencies now have one month to decide which individuals living on the reserve will have to evacuate.

Visit Intercontinetal Cry to read about these issues and many others.

Friday, October 7, 2011

oil off Tauranga

We have a oil spill disaster happening now off Tauranga, where a container ship has ran aground and "haemorrhaging oil into the sea off Tauranga." A 5km oil slick has already killed wildlife, they tried a dispersant last night but it didn't work.The ship is carrying hazadous substances and the weather is due to get messy. This ship has 1700 tonnes of heavy oil on board.

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) pollution response service manager Andrew Berry told Radio New Zealand he was "very worried'' about the threat to the environment posed by the slick. "It has the potential to be very, very serious indeed, simply because of the age of the ship, the damage that she's sustained and the 1700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil on board.''
"We stand on the brink of disaster if the salvage goes wrong," said Shane Wasik, NZ Underwater Association president and a local diver.
Transport Minister Steven Joyce said the priority now was to remove the oil from the ship as quickly as possible. "The difficulty is that the situation is deteriorating and according to the advice I've received, there's the possibility it could break up and sink - it's certainly serious what's going on there," he told the Herald last night. "(Emergency response teams) are certainly moving as fast as they can - it's been a bit frustrating for everybody in terms of getting the right equipment to achieve the removal of the oil and containers."

This is a test case for the response teams and if this turns into more of an environmental danger it will be clear that we have little defence against these events - and they want more drilling for oil and more potential disasters. Sadly we will have to get expert at cleaning up oil spills and we will have to learn how to decontaminate birds and dispose of dead fish and animals, and we will have to learn how to clean oil out of sand and wetlands and of course, the open water. Yes, unless we stop their exploitation we will have to learn many new skills.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

forsdick - you don't fit in here

It’s hard to believe that there are still people in our community who have so little idea of Māori values and society that they don’t even understand moko. These people exclude Māori with moko and treat them as aliens and not of their society. Forsdick is an example where he kicked out a person wearing a moko - the pub had just been refurbished...

On Saturday, Tunahau Kohu went to the Parklands Tavern and Woodpecker Resturant (Christchurch), with his partner. He said he was approached by a member of staff as he sat down to watch Australia play Russia in a Rugby World Cup match at 3.30pm, and was told to leave because the business did not allow people with facial and neck tattoos on site.
'They said it is their policy that they don't allow people with facial tattoos.  I tried to explain that my moko isn't a facial tattoo - every line and circle has a meaning to it. ''They said if I didn't leave they would ring the police.  They weren't interested in my explanation of what it meant."
Of course they never considered the insult to the mana of Tunahau Kohu either because they are witless about that concept too. We get 2 or 3 of these incidents reported in the MSM every year and it happens every week in reality. Racial profiling and not just Māori who wear their moko but anyone brown as this news story showed. 

The explanation by the manager of the pub is illuminating
Following recent refurbishments Manager Allan Forsdick said he, and owner Louis Vieceli, had tightened the dress code, meaning nobody with facial or neck tattoos would be allowed into the establishment. He said "two or three people with facial tattoos were also asked to leave'' the premises on Saturday.
''This is not a racial issue.  This is about making our premises and our environment be one that is welcoming for all clientele.''
Yes no racial issue here and welcoming we will be, as long as you fit in of course. That’s the big joke forsdick – you don’t fit in here, your attitude is disgusting and your ignorance is no excuse. So what does your association say
New Zealand Hospitality Association chief executive Bruce Robertson said "bars are entitled to eject anyone they wish, although it can't be based on ethnicity, gender or disability". Asked whether mokos should be treated like regular facial tattoos in bars where there were policies against facial tattoos, Robertson said there were several factors that needed to be considered.
"It does depend. It depends on the nature of the moko, its authenticity and whether there were other issues involved."
Great – so bruce is going to authenticate moko now – give me a break! - Several factors to be considered? Hey here’s an idea – why don’t you get off your arse and learn something about Māori culture and moko - then you can improve your organisation and your members attitudes – you know, explain to them where they are and who tangata whenua are. But no, I doubt that will happen and the forsdicks of our world will continue to treat people as lessor because of their race and/or ethnicity.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

bad NZ Food Bill

The NZ Food Bill is a serious attack on everyones rights and it is a direct attack on Māori. The opposition to the Bill is wide and varied and Māori are leading because, as Dr Jessica Hutchings says, "This Bill is another example of the Crown eroding Māori rights and extending its reach of ownership into the fundamentals of life, that being food and seed”. Te Waka Kai Ora (the National Māori Organics Authority) state that

the law change will increase costs, bureaucracy and government control over our food taonga (treasures) and will ultimately undermine our tino rangatiratanga (self-determination).
Furthermore, the move is irresponsible in light of the obesity and diabetes epidemic facing Māori. The Food Bill will add further costs to food production system and may have flow on effects to the availability and price of healthy kai, and therefore health outcomes for Māori. There are also concerns around the inclusion of rongoa (medicines) within the definition of food, and this is of significant concern to the many Māori practitioners and communities that use natural remedies.
“Seed is sacred and it is to be nurtured, cared for, and then passed to future generations to ensure the survival of communities, we must be responsible for saving and caring for our seeds and as indigenous peoples this is our role”, concludes Dr Hutchings.
It cannot be denyed that this Bill is a specific threat to Māori. Of course everyone else who lives here is under threat too. This is another fundamental issue like the environment and drilling for oil and it cuts across all people in our society. And just like those issues, the lead must be, and is being, taken by tangata whenua as kaitiaki of the taonga. You cannot get a sharper point to the spear in our country and with everyone leaning in and doing our bit - we will penetrate and cause them to wonder if it is really worth it. This comment below sums up the concerns well

this Bill would put an end to a basic right: that of freely sharing our food, seeds, and natural remedies… anyone selling their own produce would be required to gain legal authorisation to do so, at a cost of course, and heres the clincher : small growers and sellers at say, farmers markets, will be hit with increased costs of compliance, that would of course push up food prices hurting the growers, sellers, and buyers of produce.
Not being legally allowed to share seeds without authorisation will discourage diversity of seeds, pushing heirloom varietys already rare into the too expensive basket, thus encouraging homogenisation of seed stock. This of course will provide massive market advantage? to multinational seed corporations such as Monsanto who not only can afford the costs of compliance but whose aims include narrowing and controlling the plants grown for consumption through Genetic Engineering, and controlling available seed stock by supplying seed for plants that will not self seed, thus enforcing our dependence on them.
NZ Food Security has a great breakdown of the Bill and its ramifications.

Petition opposing the bill here

One of the features of this world is that much is topsy turvy - organic food should be half as cheap as non organic not twice as expensive. Heirloom seeds and diversity should be cherished not blown away by monoculture and profit. It doesn’t get more fundamental than this and the Bill is almost ready to become law – all so that we can comply with agreements signed with the WTO. We must oppose this any way we can and the first place to start is to talk about it with others.  

I hope the rights guaranteed under the Treaty to Māori will provide the solution but we will continue to face these threats until the crown accepts the partnership and stops opposing tino rangatiratanga.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

99% are us

I am supportive of Occupy Wall St, the reasons behind the action and the action itself. This is people power and we need people to feel empowered because that is the way to build community and whichever way the world goes, we are going to need community. I watched this video ‘Nobody can predict the moment of revolution’ and looked at the people interviewed and I really felt for them, for us. There are so many people struggling and hurting out there, in this society we have created.

They are like us and we are like them. This struggle is for recognition of the 99% of people that are disenfranchised by our system.This is just the beginning.

Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.
Check out the 99% and you may recognise stories and situations pretty close to home here for us. We have an election in a month or so and who we choose to vote for will affect us all. I’m voting Mana because I cannot see any other party able to slow or stop the juggernaut – even they may not, but at least I know they will try. The occupiers of Wall St are trying too and I back them 199%.


Kim has raised a really good point in the comments about a differing view based upon the non-recognition of indigenous rights.  I had read the article and the letter before I posted this and I decided i wanted to keep the two issues seperate but that was a mistake. The basis of the protest is to accentuate the plight of the 99% by exposing the tyranny of the 1%, but there has to a recognition of the indigenous rights of the First Nations or it is a false consciousness. John Paul Montano says it best in his openletter to Occupy Wall St.

Open letter
Thank you for your courage. Thank you for making an attempt to improve the situation in what is now called the United States. Thank you for your commitment to peace and non-violence. Thank you for the sacrifices you are making. Thank you.

... I eagerly read your "one demand" statement. Hoping and believing that you enlightened folks fighting for justice and equality and an end to imperialism, etc., etc., would make mention of the fact that the very land upon which you are protesting does not belong to you - that you are guests upon that stolen indigenous land. I had hoped mention would be made of the indigenous nation whose land that is. I had hoped that you would address the centuries-long history that we indigenous peoples of this continent have endured being subject to the countless '-isms' of do-gooders claiming to be building a "more just society," a "better world," a "land of freedom" on top of our indigenous societies, on our indigenous lands, while destroying and/or ignoring our ways of life. I had hoped that you would acknowledge that, since you are settlers on indigenous land, you need and want our indigenous consent to your building anything on our land - never mind an entire society. See where I'm going with this? I hope you're still smiling. We're still friends, so don't sweat it. I believe your hearts are in the right place. I know that this whole genocide and colonization thing causes all of us lots of confusion sometimes. It just seems to me that you're unknowingly doing the same thing to us that all the colonizers before you have done: you want to do stuff on our land without asking our permission.
He offers some ideas to remedy the situation and i fully believe Occupy Wall St will follow the advice. 

1) Acknowledge that the United States of America is a colonial country, a country of settlers, built upon the land of indigenous nations; and/or...

2) Demand immediate freedom for indigenous political prisoner Leonard Peltier; and/or...

3) Demand that the colonial government of the United States of America honor all treaties signed with all indigenous nations whose lands are now collectively referred to as the "United States of America"; and/or...

4) Make some kind of mention that you are indeed aware that you are settlers and that you are not intending to repeat the mistakes of all of the settler do-gooders that have come before you. In other words, that you are willing to obtain the consent of indigenous people before you do anything on indigenous land.

Thanks Kim.

Hat tip - Racialicious