Tuesday, January 31, 2012

heard it all before and didn't believe it then

Call me cynical but I don’t think the threats by The Māori Party to walk out of its relationship with the National Government holds water. It is bluster, maybe to get credibility with Māori, maybe to put the pressure on for the decision on Cabinet posts.

It is easy to see this because the same lines used here were used in the past with the disgraceful legislation pushed through by that party and the gnats on the Foreshore and Seabed. Remember they were going to ask the people and then do what the people wanted - but what happened? They didn’t listen and they didn’t follow the wishes of the people and that is why this latest attempt at spin is fake.

Mrs Turia says the party will take guidance from its constituents, as well as iwi leaders. She says the party will be vigilant and, if it comes down to the wire, the party will consider its position with the Government.
Her co-leader, Dr Pita Sharples later told Checkpoint that if the party's constituents tell it to walk away from its relationship with the National Party, it will do so.
He said the party was getting bombarded with calls about the matter.
I bet they are, but will they listen? We’ll find out soon enough and I expect they will squirm around and then get their cabinet posts and it will be business as usual. And if they do decide to represent Māori they still won’t get a pat on the back from me – too little, too late.

The prime mincer says he is confident nay extremely confident that The Māori Party will remain in the fold – that is a telling statement. And all of this coming so close to Waitangi Day – I don’t believe in coincidence in politics – that is deliberate.

The fact is that key and his mates will be selling everything they can this term, everything we value – the land, the infrastructure, and our environment – have no illusions they want to do it and they will do it – unless we, the people, stop them.

Morgan outlines who will be pushing the government line to iwi here and his take on The Māori Party drumming here.

Hone and Mana have come out with a statement which starts with

"The Treaty is stopping the government from flogging off the nation's assets, so they're gonna throw the Treaty out"
To the point and excruciatingly accurate. Yep the year has started and the battle is on and we fight for ourselves and our children and our children’s children.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

and our children grow

On a personal level it has been an eventful start to 2012 and most of the events have been difficult. A lot has also been happening in the real world too - here are some of my thoughts...

I've talked about TAG Oil before on this blog and at that time I highlighted their enthusiasm for exploitation of the East Coast, which they recently described as "the Texas of the south", "literally leaking oil and gas". Only the people can stop these exploiters - the government wants them to drill, but they will be stopped. It doesn't matter how many paid trips TAG Oil organise for the locals they will never win. The battlelines on this one are clear and everyone will have to make a decision about where they actually stand - I have faith that they will stand with us in opposition to their plans.

The Archdruid has put a great post up that really made me think about privilege and it relates to the paragraph above too because the decisions we make today ripple into our future.
... To understand the consequences of that awkward fact, it’s important to get past the rhetoric of victimization that fills so much space in discussions of social hierarchy these days. Of course the people at or near the upper end of the pyramid get a much larger share of the proceeds of the system than anybody else, and those at or near the bottom get crumbs; that’s not in question. The point that needs making is that a great many people in between those two extremes also benefit handsomely from the system. When those people criticize the system, their criticisms by and large focus on the barriers that keep them from having as large a share as the rich—not the ones that keep them from having as small a share as the poor, or to phrase things a little differently, that keep their privileged share from being distributed more fairly across the population as a whole.
We are community but we are also individuals and that is where change occurs. Reduction is the consequence of Peak Oil but we must begin to prepare and get used to less. To reduce. And for those of us bought up in western societies that is a difficult point to accept. Yet as JMG says everywhere else people do live with less. Always thought provoking and inspiring is JMG for me. Another writer and person that I hold in high esteem is Matt McCarten and he is writing very well in the NZH
The winners in our society have most of us convinced that they are financially successful because they are academically brighter, make the most of education opportunities and have superior personal qualities. Losers, on the other hand, are the opposite; with the added problems of criminal behaviour, addictions and family conflict.
But a major academic study that has tracked more than 1300 individuals was released this week. Children born to rich parents have a better chance in life to be happier, healthier and wealthier then those kids from poor backgrounds.
The mythology surrounding the poor is designed to perpetuate poorness.We must stand up for equality each and every time and I am pleased that the Mana Party are focusing on the poor. I see a real alignment with tino rangatiratanga in that approach. And great to see Hone and the Mana Party come out in support of the workers involved in the port dispute. The Standard has lots of posts on the dispute and well worth a read for the facts.

A brilliant article called 'The Exclusive Economic Zone: for sale' by Claire Browning
It says that if what you find out there in the EEZ is worth enough, it’s all for sale. What the Bill does is state its price. It does not set in place any bottom line – any fence, if you like, against risk of environmental destruction.
It is the Schedule 4 policy leftovers warmed up, in a more remote place, where the government hopes we will neither notice nor care.
Our environment is in serious danger and the government has opened the gate for the predators. They respect nothing except profit and they will try to eat us. That is what they do - they eat and shit money. But we can stop them, people can stop them and we will! Part of the way we can do it is communication and consultation - spreading the word, talking about it. Community is the answer but as I've noted earlier we, as individuals, must decide where we stand, what we believe in and what we love. It is not our place to exploit and desecrate Papatūānuku, Mother Earth - it has never been our place, yet here we are, today. And our children grow.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jarawa Tribe used for trophy photos in human safaris

The Jarawa Tribe of the Andaman Islands (owned by India) have only recently had contact with the outside world (1998) and that contact has been abused since then and has now descended into human safaris, where tourists hope to get a photo of one of the 403 tribal members. Evidence is now there that some police, who are supposed to protect the Jarawa people from this, are actually assisting the tourists in getting their trophy photos.

The Guardian/Observer
"Dance," the policeman instructed. The girls in front of him, naked from the waist up, obeyed. A tourist's camera panned round to another young woman, also naked and awkwardly holding a bag of grain in front of her. "Dance for me," the policeman commanded... The role of the police is to protect tribespeople from unwelcome and intrusive outsiders. But on this occasion the officer had accepted a £200 bribe to get the girls to perform. "I gave you food," he reminded them at the start of the video.
The Observer reporter noted
Tourists threw bananas and biscuits to the tribespeople at the roadside, as they would to animals in a safari park.
Too little has been done to date to protect these very vulnerable people
In an attempt to reduce contact, the authorities have cut the number of convoys to eight a day, but they will not close the road completely – as the supreme court ordered in 2002 – because they say too many people rely on it.
In 2007 the government established a buffer zone around the reserve, hoping to protect the tribe from further interaction with the outside world, in particular a luxury resort being constructed on the very edge of the reserve by the Barefoot India tour company. The company hired lawyers to fight the zone and the case is currently with India's supreme court: in the meantime the resort stands abandoned in a clearing near the shore of Constance Bay, on the west coast of the island. But the safaris go on, four each way, day in, day out, and the police admit they are powerless to prevent some contact between the tribe and the tourists.
The human rights group Survival International, which has been campaigning for the Jarawa for nearly 20 years, believes the current situation is precarious. "The Jarawa could easily be decimated or reduced to a state of dependency, as has happened to so many other tribes worldwide," says spokeswoman Sophie Grig. Survival argues that closing the road would at least allow the tribe to decide whether it has contact.
Visit Survival International to see how you can help the Jarawa Tribe. Pressure must be applied to protect these people and it must be applied quickly.

I have posted about the Jarawa Tribe before here

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

underreported struggles 57

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

After more than 6 months of research and preparation, Intercontinental Cry launched "Indigenous Peoples of the World" an online directory for all Indigenous Nations ever mentioned on the website. The directory, which you can access here, currently features 412 distinct populations in 78 countries.

The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), an Ogoni-based non-governmental, non-political organization for the Ogoni people of South-Eastern Nigeria, have announced the creation of a new Environmental Protection Agency to make sure that oil companies operating in Ogoniland, like Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell, are held accountable for their 'environmental crimes'.

Beowulf Mining, the British company behind the Kallak exploration project in Jokkmokk, Northern Sweden, was caught drilling on Saami lands in breach of the Swedish Minerals’ Act. Once this was pointed out to the Swedish Minerals Inspectorate by Saami representatives, the company had no choice but to stop drilling.

Traditional land owners won a major victory in their long-running battle against the proposed Woodside gas hub project at James Price Point on Western Australia's Kimberley coast. WA Supreme Court Justice Wayne Martin issued a ruling in favour of the Goolarabooloo Traditional owners, finding that the WA government acted illegally when it used 'compulsory acquisition' notices to take Goolarabooloo lands for the proposed gas hub. Unfortunately, the government does not seem the least bit phased by the decision.

The Tsilhqot'in people celebrated a B.C. Supreme Court judge's decision to grant an injunction against Taseko Mines Ltd, prohibiting the company from carrying out any more exploration work on Tsilhqot'in traditional lands for 90 days. Taseko had been seeking its own injunction and enforcement order to prevent anyone from blocking a road to the company's Prosperity mine project. The Supreme Court judge overruled the company's application.

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


I have quite wide musical taste and I enjoy pretty well most music as anyone checking out my music video posts could attest to. This song is really addictive and I find the emotion, lyrics and apparent simplicity of the music really gets under my skin. The first video is a cover of the song and the second is the original. It deserves to be high in the charts (whatever they are nowdays).

Monday, January 9, 2012

what is happening

I am enjoying time with my mother and son over the holidays. I love watching the generations together, 76 and 4 and me closer to mums age than Kahu’s. Mum was born into a family that lived in the Catlins, in what would be called now, a shed. Where will Kahu be when he is 76. I do believe we are heading towards tough times but I have hope. I believe in my son and the world he is growing into. I will do everything to make that world the best it can be for him and his peers.

Part of that is highlighting aspects of our society that are detrimental to the benefit of everyone. I was shocked to read this report about dairy farms and their voluntary (non) compliance with the Dairying and Clean Streams Accord

Under the latest accord figures published last month, 69 per cent of Fonterra Tasman dairy farmers told the company their stock was totally excluded from all permanent waterways on their properties deeper than a Red Band gumboot and wider than a stride. However, a representative audit conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture of 35 of those farms found that the actual figure was just 17 per cent, the second worst result behind Marlborough with 8 per cent. Nationally, MAF found 42 per cent of 587 farms inspected excluded stock from waterways, just half of what Fonterra's survey of farmers suggested.
69% to 17% is a disgrace and should be investigated thoroughly. There is something really wrong that farmers can misrepresent what is happening to the environment within their farms. These waterways flow and carry any shit, silt and mud downstream.
Neil Deans, Nelson Marlborough manager of the environmental group, which has long been critical of the policing of the accord, said the gap between what farmers said they did and what MAF had found was too big to put down to a mistake and it was clear some farmers were "pulling the wool".
Sadly a lot of dairy farmers, for all sorts of reasons, are letting us all down. We want the rivers to be clean and alive with strong mauri and plentiful life. The dairy farmers who are actively working against that should be ashamed, and they are making life more difficult in the future for our children – that should be reason enough for them to change their ways. But to date they have made the problems worse and changed little for the better.

The number of dairy cattle in New Zealand increased to 6.2 million at 30 June 2011, Statistics New Zealand said today. This provisional result from the 2011 Agricultural Production Survey was up 260,000 on the number in 2010. "This is the first time the number of dairy cattle in New Zealand has exceeded 6 million" agricultural statistics manager Hamish Hill said. "The dairy herd is now double the number it was 30 years ago."
Our environment should not be sacrificed for a small group to make money. The basic requirements are compliance even if it lacks teeth and is woefully inadequate. The fact that this simple requirement cannot be met should send shivers down our spines because what the hell is actually going on. How bad is it?