Sunday, August 28, 2011

open sore

The West Coast Regional Council has granted consent for Perth-based Bathurst Resources to mine 200 hectares in the Mt Rochfort Conservation Area on the Denniston Plateau, northeast of Westport via a open cast coal mine, that will be the 2nd biggest here. This decision is so shortsighted. Coal!?! Open cast mine!?! Conservation Area!?! - all for the fake short-term benefit of economic gain - what a crock. You are destroying this world and our children's future and you don't even care.

The three hearing commissioners granted the consent, "but not without some considerable reservations and anguish," they said. "The most and almost overwhelming factor that we had to consider is the enormous financial benefit that the mine will bring to the Buller district and the West Coast region."
Three fools - you have shown where you stand.

Fairdown/Whareatea Residents Association spokesman David Orchard said "The impact is absolutely appalling, the impact on health is bound to be considerable."
Coal Action Network said "Burning coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel activity on the planet and there are huge reserves of coal left worldwide. If we allow them to be burnt, we have no chance of avoiding a climate catastrophe," said spokeswoman Frances Mountier.
West Coast Environment Network said "The commissioners' decision had clearly been compromised by Department of Conservation (DOC) withholding detailed scientific evidence it had gathered on the impacts of the proposed mine", and "Any short-term economic benefit will be outweighed by the long-term impacts on communities and ecosystems of adapting to climatic change if large-scale coal mining continues."
A shocking decision that leads us down the road to ruin. And not the last shocking decsion that we will have to fight or accept as the gnats start selling everything off and digging everything up.

Friday, August 26, 2011

watching backs

When I heard the news that the maori party had selected Waihoroi Shortland to represent them not their unsuccessful Tai Tokerau byelection candidate Solomon Tipene I thought we may have some fallout.

We have had some fallout.

Solomon Tipene says
"Watch your back, lest it be bitten by the Maori Party dogs. I'm referring to the leaders - they did that to me and Hone Harawira."
Stong language and strong views from experience, from knowledge. Maori Party president Pem Bird doesn't get it
Mr Bird said he was disappointed by Mr Tipene's "inexcusable" outburst, given the time and resources the party had put into his campaign.
Ummm that was the point of his statement - fake support and buckling under pressure - just like the maori party have done with the gnats and their party agreement. It does not look good for the maori party although prime minister key has tossed out that he will have coalition party negotiations with his mates no matter how many votes they get. But how many will they get? Solomon Tipene has just echoed what Hone has said - this dysfunction within the maori party is systemic and is detremental to Māori self determination aspirations. Time for the sea anchor to be cut.

Hat tip The Standard

Thursday, August 25, 2011

mad, bad and sad

Evidence can be a terrible thing. We know that Māori and pasifika peoples are more likely to come to the attention of the police and now we also know that they get tazered by the police a lot more than others - how much more?

During the 11 months to August 9, police tasered 88 people including:
* Maori: 35
* Pacific Islanders: 16
* Europeans: 35
* Asians: 1
The introduction of Tasers was bitterly opposed by the Maori Party and the Greens with the Maori Party's Hone Harawira and the Greens' Mr Locke both raising concerns their use would reflect police "racism". Mr Locke yesterday said the latest statistics raised a number of issues about the weapons. "Certainly they're being fired disproportionately at Maori. The reasons for that are something we should look into."Mr Locke was also concerned that police were too quick to use Tasers on people with mental health issues - 58 during the 11-month period.
Mana Party spokeswoman Annette Sykes said that despite Mr Harawira's warning "there has been this disproportionate outcome for Maori and Polynesian individuals which is a sad indictment on us".
But police and their minister, Judith Collins, say the figures merely reflect the "sad fact" that Maori are over-represented in crime statistics.
Yes it is a 'sad fact' but what does that fact mean and where does it come from. For collins it means add more police, more weapons, more jails and more arrests but those responses do not address the issue. There is fundamental institutional racism at play here - and if you know that there is an issue and you choose to ignore it then you are actually supporting it. Governments know about this issue, highlighted by these tazer statistics, and have not addressed it because it does not suit their agenda to. They prefer this situation and you may wonder why - blame is one reason, it is always good to have a group to blame for things and the distorted history of this country offers the indigenous people as an established blameworthy group, as happens in many colonised countries. It is not us, it is them - it is those 'others'. To fix this situation requires more than a band aid.

I am sick to death of our people getting tazered and arrested, fingerprinted even though they have no conviction, and put in prison. I am sick to death of this institutional racism and the compounding effects of the Crowns continuted ignorance of their role as a true partner to Māori. We need to change some things and change them fast. Politically I am putting my faith in Mana - they will put a stick in the spokes to stop this and create opportunities to work on solutions. And I see constituitonal change as being essential.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

you have are and will always be bad

Good work by Rahui Katene, Maori Party MP for Te Tai Tonga in voicing good opposition to the secret Bill that fixes - that since 2008 it has been unlawful for police to retain identifying particulars of children and young people who have been through the youth justice system and subjected to a penalty less than conviction. This is not just about fixing that loophole. The secrecy apparently was so that no young person could take the Government to court. Labour did the deal with the gnats and The Maori Party, Chris Carter and The Greens opposed it today.

We know that Māori youth are arrested more and that part of this is due to racial profiling. Below-conviction-threshold options like family group conferences and restorative justice are there because they work and provide alternatives for rehabilitation. These young people have made mistakes but they have not breached the conviction threshold and therefore should not have their fingerprints and photos taken and stored in some database. 

Rahui is speaking strongly here
Our focus – in raising the questions we have – is to bring to the House the opportunity to talk about youth wellbeing rather than simply promoting yet another forum for politicians to talk about the perils of youth; and the need to hold the fingerprints of youth who have been admonished by a judge.
I would really recommend that Members look carefully at sections 283 (a) to (n) of the Children, Young Persons and their families Act. These provisions – for children to be admonished; for young parents to attend a parenting programme; for young people to attend a mentoring programme – are now provisions for which the fingerprints and photographs of these young people are kept.
And I would suggest in particular that Mr Hipkins looks at this detail – that these orders from a very good piece of legislation were always intended to focus on child and youth wellbeing – not fodder for this Policing Bill.
I have been greatly disappointed by the nature of the debate today which has tried to close down discussion on the impacts for youth and instead focus on the mistakes of the statute.
This Bill may appear to just be about a tidy up of some legislation but it really is about how we treat our youth, particularly Māori youth. You can see why many feel let down and alienated. This personal identifying information is kept even though they have not received a conviction – this is just wrong. I mean, what next? - just take the information at birth - you know, for the greater good. It doesn’t take much to connect the dots from this type of harassment to the high Māori youth suicide rate. The issues have to be faced up to instead of degrading the debate and focusing it on the technicalities. 

Our youth deserve more than platitudes and empty words. We have real issues because of how this society is constructed - this materialistic, individualistic approach based on capitalism is empty and dry - if you add in colonisation and patriarchy it can barely sustain life. It is our job to create the world for our children, not their job - blaming youth is pointless, stigmatising them is vindictive and counterproductive. We can make it better for our youth - it takes community and people, it takes culture and aroha. It takes listening.

Good on The Greens, Chris Carter, and The Maori Party (and I assume Mana as Hone’s proxy is still with the Greens I think) for opposing this and shame on Labour. The gnats have shown that money is their big driver yet again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

a country lesson

130 years a house was taken from its home and people, on 17 September 2011 the house comes home. Ngāti Awa and the Mātaatua confederation of tribes will celebrate the return and reopen 'the house that came home.' The story of the long journey of Mātaatua Wharenui is compelling, it encapsulates the truth of who we are and what has happened here. It is a story of loss, of hope, of disrespect, of redress, of mana, of honour, of people. It is our story and it is time we learned it.
Built as a symbol of the unity, strength and resilience of Ngāti Awa - a people who had suffered severely at the hands of colonisation and resulting land confiscation, the impressive Mātaatua Wharenui was originally opened in Whakatane in 1875.
Five years later, the intricately carved Māori house was uplifted by the New Zealand Government to represent the country at some of the most respected anthropological exhibitions of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
For well over a century, Mātaatua, the travelling house, would be lost to the people who needed it most. Despite calls by successive Ngāti Awa leaders to have the house returned to Whakatane, Mātaatua would remain alone, without its people and miles from home.
A 1996 Waitangi Tribunal Special Deed of Settlement finally saw Mātaatua returned to Ngāti Awa. The past 15 years have been dedicated to restoring Mātaatua to its original magnificence.

Tears well in my eyes - I am so happy this is happening. This is the way forward - I only wish the country would celebrate this too - it is a significant event that is bringing us together. 

Hat tip - Introducing Maori Lifestyles

Monday, August 15, 2011

stop pretending

I have been pretty busy with a couple of interesting assignments which has dampened my ability to blog. One of the assignments assessed Durie’s five point plan for Māori self determination. The five steps are forward planning, recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi, Māori Governance of Māori resources, the development of a Māori Assembly, and constitutional change. Another assignment has been on the policy cycle and understanding how issues get on the political agenda, get responded to, get decided upon, implemented via legislation and then eventually evaluated. My thoughts have been percolating around these areas and I have found that I have reached the same place for both assignments.

Constitutional change is where we need to direct energy.

“Over the years Māori have made plans, created assemblies, petitioned the Crown and protested for their right for self determination. This right can only be achieved with constitutional change that elevates the relationship into a true partnership, until then we will continue to see piecemeal, inadequate and illusory gains for Māori, as the Crown continues to pretend to accept their responsibilities to Māori as their Treaty partner.”

“Māori are not constitutionally recognised as partners to the Crown so Cabinet decides on Māori development based on many reasons, most of which are not related to Māori improvement but are politically pragmatic.”

“The political system, including the process and steps to forming policy, is designed for the advantage of the dominant cultural forces of colonisation, capitalism and globalisation. Minority indigenous cultures face extraordinary difficulties in influencing the political process because their successful development exposes the inequity of total system.”

I’ve also been having a discussion with vto here on similar themes.
It is sad that you don’t believe that people have the right to self determination – it isn’t seperatism as I have pointed out previously to you. Why are you so scared of empowering basic human rights – is it because of what you think you will lose. This “oh what about the muslims” leads me to wonder about you. Why can’t you argue your point honestly. Are muslims the indigenous people of this land? nah – didn’t think so. Got another group to analyse? push them up, it won’t take long. And that is the nub of the issue right there vto. Māori are not just another minority group shat on by the system, Māori are tangata whenua and for that and that reason alone Māori should have the opportunity to be true partners to the Crown, as agreed to in the Treaty, and add a unique voice to the solutions we need. That is not looking backwards, it is looking forward. It is not handout or grievance mode it is honestly dealing with the facts. The sooner you can just get over the fact that Māori are not going anywhere and that they are the partners with the Crown, the sooner we can all get on and build a country and society to be proud of.
I just see self determination as equality not separatism.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

you look like trouble

The use of Māori Wardens to target drunk Māori during the Rugby World Cup is racist and wrong and for reasons that are as obvious as the colour of your skin.

Wellington bar owners say drunk Maori will be specifically targeted during the World Cup, by a 50-year-old law that has been pulled from the archives by police and the city council.
The law allows Maori wardens to enter bars and remove drunk or violent Maori.
Many bar owners say it is a shameful, racist law and the Government now wants to take a look at it.
Bill in the comments on The Standard hits the nail on the head
Bill 10 August 2011 at 9:52 am
Since NZ doesn’t have identity cards; and since being Maori is not predicated on ‘how much Maori blood you have in you’, like in the U. States for example, where to ‘be’ or ‘designated’ or ‘recognised’ as Cherokee or whichever indigenous culture requires 25% (or whatever) ‘Cherokee blood’, then the whole thing would be impossible to implement.
A pale skinned red head person can be as Maori as the dark skinned, dark haired person next to them. Maybe even more so. Being Maori is largely about self identification, or culture here. Not appearance.
Which means attempts to enact the law would impact on all (young?) brown skinned people; not Maori.
This isn't about Māori - it is about brown skin and that is why it is racist and unacceptable.

Friday, August 5, 2011

underreported struggles 52

Ahni at Intercontinental Cry has some very important underreported struggles this month.
In recent months many Bangladeshi indigenous people have taken the streets holding meetings, human chains and rallies, demanding constitutional recognition of their population. The ongoing demand stems from an ‘indigenous' debate, in which many government representatives have denied that any Indigenous People are in the country. An illuminating talk by a Bengali citizen puts the debate into perspective.
The Ramu landowners in Papua New Guinea were shocked to learn a Judge decided to approve the controversial deep sea waste disposal plan for the Chinese-owned Ramu Nickel mine. The approval came only after the judge acknowledge the risk of irreversible harm to marine resources. The landowners say they are going to appeal against the court decision.
Chile's Aysén Environmental Review Commission approved the environmental assessment of a five dam proposal on two rivers. The approval, however, is marred in controversy and has set off protests in many cities, including Santiago. Critics say the series of dams will destroy a largely untouched region of Patagonia. Protests hit Coyhaique, the city where the vote occurred, with over 1,000 people marching. Clashes with police resulted in water canons and tear gas being used on protestors. Reportedly protestors were throwing rocks at commissioners' cars. Dozens were arrested. Similar clashes occurred in Santiago.
The Algonquins of Barriere Lake are celebrating a recent decision by Cartier Resources Inc. to suspend its mining exploration activities in the Algonquin community's traditional territory in northwestern Quebec. The decision sets an important precedent in Canada concerning the Right of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as defined by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
After struggling for more than 30 years to protect the Koongarra region from the threat of uranium mining, Kakadu Traditional owners can breathe a welcomed sigh of relief. The World Heritage Committee recently announced that it would redraw the borders of the Kakadu National Park to include Koongarra.
And many more - please visit Intercontinental Cry and read about these struggles.

reviewing what

I agree with Annette Sykes on the so called 'constitutional review' that it is actually an 'institutional review'. We can't deal with the issues unless we actually look at them and the terms of reference directs the panel in certain directions (even though they argue that this hasn't happened) - they may come up with great recommendations  but under this government, as evidence has shown, that will be it. Meanwhile our situation gets worse - how bad? Check this out.

Anyway back to Annette Sykes
"The only issues that will be explored by this panel will be what the term of office should be for the Government, the size of the electorates and whether or not there should be more Treaty provisions within future legislation. The parameters of the review stipulate that rather than recognising the Treaty of Waitangi as this country's constitution, the Crown would much rather tinker with what already exists, a system that was forced upon our people and gives Maori no voice as was envisaged under the Treaty. Our people will have certain expectations that will not be met due to the 'institutional' nature of the review".
The voices will be heard but will they be listened to - they certainly weren't when they changed the Foreshore and Seabed Act. It will be difficult for the members of the review to hear all the input, offer their recommendations - to see them fall by the wayside as the Government continues on it's merry way. 
Mr English says he hopes many Maori who have strong constitutional views take the opportunity to air them because often those types of discussions are held between the Crown and Maori.
That is a good point - that these discussions are held between the Crown and Māori - but which Māori, and do they represent the wide variety of views that Māori have. Luckily there is also another process occuring where the people can really give their views and have them heard, as Annette explains
"I would much rather our people engage with the Independent Constitutional Working Group - Aotearoa Matike Mai, being led by the most prominent Maori expert on constitutional matters, Moana Jackson. That process is Maori-led and will be able to fully explore the true potential of the Treaty of Waitangi as our country's constitution. MANA will encourage people to participate in hui that will be held around the country by the Independent Constitutional Working Group, rather than being disappointed because of the limitations of the Crown's process".
O'Sullivan (2003) in 'Beyond Biculturalism: The politics of an indigenous minority' sums it up well for me
"The absence of self determination is the foundational cause of resource alienation and collective political and economic marginalisation."... "Self determination challenges the systemic and ideological foundation of post-colonial notions of sovereignty and government. It aims to decolonise the indigenous relational status to the nation state. it seeks an equality that can only be achieved by the recognition of group rights and it requires the withdrawal of the state from domains in which it would prefer to intrude."

We need a constitutional review and we need it to be focus on the real issues. The maori party may claim another win for them in getting the review underway but it is a hollow victory and they know it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

protect it all

I am pleased that the Nature Heritage Fund has created two scenic reserves totalling 189 hectares at Whanganui Inlet near Kaihoka in Golden Bay. They paid the owners half a million. There is a proposal that all rural land on Golden Bay's northwest coast be given protection as an "outstanding natural landscape" but the owners of this sold land disagree with that because they say that, "Outstanding landscape is because of outstanding management" and they require compensation because they have maintained the outstanding landscape by not subdividing it, planting pine trees or neglecting it - I think they have the cart before the horse - the landscape is outstanding because it is outstanding, not because of some temporary owners activities. Neglecting the land, as in not commercialising it, may have been the best thing for it and has certainly helped other blocks that were too inaccessible or too hard to develop.

Nelson Mail

The purchase includes 12ha of unique, northern cedar forest on stabilised dunes adjoining the Kaihoka Lakes Scenic Reserve. The 177ha block to the north has a sequence of indigenous vegetation spanning lowland through to coastal vegetation on a variety of landforms. The larger block has a diverse array of regionally rare plant communities, including salt turfs on coastal cliffs, and others found on low-fertility conglomerate. The salt turfs are nationally rare and contain four plant species that are either nationally threatened or at risk, including native orchids. They also host wildlife like the South Island fernbird and Nelson green gecko.
 If we have to pay then let's pay and get these ecosystems protected.