Thursday, March 31, 2011

under threat from pollution

I reprinting this open letter published on Frogblog.

Kia ora koutou,
I am writing this message with a heavy heart. I am also aware that the tragedy I refer to is far outweighed by recent events in Christchurch. Nonetheless I felt compelled to write it.
As many people know, our family sources rimurapa/bull-kelp for pōhā from Kaka Point. We pack preserved tītī/muttonbirds into these every April and May. We have visited Kaka Point for this purpose every year since the late 1970s. Before then we mostly got our kelp from the back beaches of Omaui, north-west of our hometown Bluff, until it died from pollution being washed down and dumped in the New River Estuary. The last year that kelp was got from Omaui, it looked fine to the naked eye and to the touch. It was thus opened, inflated and hung to dry as normal. However, when it was softened, it started to break down and rot. It started with little spots that grew and grew until the whole bag deteriorated. As a child, Tiny’s grandparents had warned him—in great detail—what happened when kelp got polluted. Everything they said came to pass, including its localized extinction: the following year every rock at Omaui was bare. It has never returned. The year before the kelp died at Omaui a significant community source of mussels also died there. The area’s Mussel Beach is no longer aptly named. Moreover, when kelp was got that last time at Omaui, the family observed a mass of dead shellfish that included cockles and bubus.
On Saturday 19 February, my poua/grandfather Tiny Metzger and myself, and my brother-in-law Michael “Bob” Bowen, along with Corey Bragg, Thomas Aerepo-Morgan and Delaney Ryan met at Kaka Point and got a large load of kelp. We got more kelp than usual and bigger bags than usual because Thomas and Delaney and some of their Bluff peers were helping Tiny to complete and launch a waka-pahi he had built, which was to be buoyed with large inflated kelp bags.
The kelp looked in really good condition. That said, we observed a large number of dead shellfish, including cockles and bubus. A few days later Tiny remembered the only other time he had seen such a thing. In any event, we sourced kelp from two bays at Kaka Point. The first one was our favoured location until the year 2000 when much of the kelp we cut from there rotted when it was softened, as had happened with the kelp from Omaui two decades earlier. Since then, even though kelp still grew there, we have pretty much got our kelp from a few bays over, nearer to Nugget Point, and further away from the burgeoning township of Kaka Point and where the Clutha River meets the sea. This other bay was the second bay we got kelp from this year.
Once back in Bluff, my Mum, Barbara Metzger, and sister, Lara Stevens, helped Tiny and Bob open and inflate the bags that we needed for this season’s muttonbirding. Although struck down by illness Tiny worked hard inflating, hanging and trimming the bags: they don’t wait for you; they have to be dealt with immediately. Unfortunately, almost all of the kelp from the first bay, and much of it from the second bay, started to show the same signs of pollution. Amazingly though, and even more depressing, it did not break down when it was being softened, but prior to this, when it was still hanging on the line. It was rotting before Tiny’s very eyes. This implies that the pollution that fouled it is recent, and possibly worse than any we’ve encountered before. Tiny has thus now resigned himself to believing that the kelp at Kaka Point is going to die too.
Society at large won’t care. We’re just a bunch of silly Maoris living in the past, right? But given that this kelp provides habitat and food for shellfish such as paua that many in the community have a taste for, more people should care. I’m not going to speculate about what the source or sources of pollution are at this point in time. Prior experience tells me that they probably won’t be investigated, or that if they are, they’ll be determined to be in “acceptable” quantities, or unfortunate but too difficult to do anything about. Whatever would “we” do if rivers and the ocean couldn’t be treated more or less as open sewers?
In the short-term our family is faced with the dilemma of not having any pōhā come off of our tītī island this year. This would be the first time in hundreds of years that that has happened. In the medium-term we are faced with having to try and get kelp from marginal places like Waipapa Point, a long drive to and from the likes of Shag Point, or a boat trip to and from Rakiura. In the long-term we are faced with not having anywhere left to go. Presumably, we can’t keep ahead of pollution forever. The alternative? Plastic buckets. Yay for petrochemicals. It probably doesn’t matter anyway. Compelling data suggests that the tītī population is an overall decline, and many of the reasons for this lie far beyond New Zealand. Soon enough we might all have nothing to worry about.
I’m not going to sign off with a famous pithy quote, a declaration about humanity going to hell in a handcart, or a call to arms. I’m just sad for my Poua; and my kids.
Michael J. Stevens, BA(Hons) LLB PhD (Otago)
Rangaputa – Postdoctoral Fellow
Te Tumu, School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies; School of Business, University of Otago
A powerful, heartbreaking kōrero. This is a tragedy unfolding in front of our eyes; the pollution that we spew everywhere. This Ngāi Tahu whānau, and the traditions they have maintained, must be supported and the kelp protected. It starts with demanding higher pollution standards and penalties - make them pay so much their eyes widen - when we find them discharging cow shit or industrial waste - make them pay. But it is too easy to blame 'them', the truth is it is up to each of us to reduce consumption and not buy in to their game. I am not sure what we can do to help - any ideas greatfully recieved.

Hat tip - Frogblog

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

being bouncy

Although there are many injustices around and they really get up my nose, I am reminding myself of the good things in life, the important things - like watching a boy learn to ride and jump on a scooter.

turn on the light

News that the Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court Ruling that the Urewera 18 are to be tried in front of a judge and not a jury, concerns me. The light of day needs to shine on the events of the terror raids, we do not need shadows.

Despite objections by the defence for the 18 accused, the Court of Appeal yesterday announced it would uphold the High Court ruling. Suppression orders prevent the publication of the reasons behind both courts' decisions. The 18 accused, including Tuhoe activist Tame Iti, face various charges under the Arms Act as a result of the 2007 raids.
I agree with John Minto's view
Political activist John Minto said the decision was dangerous. "I think it's really disappointing. It would be better for it to be left up to citizens to decide," he said. "A group of citizens independent of the state should make the call on these charges. I think it is [dangerous] in terms of public confidence. "There are big question marks over this case." Mr Minto said it was "widely regarded" that police overreacted in the raids and charges. "The police have put their credibility on the line in this case. It will be much better dealt with by ordinary citizens who will look at the evidence and make a reasoned judgment. There is a tendency for different parts of the state to protect others."
Idiot/Savant has blogged about it here, here and here.
I have not seen the ruling yet, but the same criticisms I made of the original decision apply: a jury is the primary signifier of a fair trial in this country. Without one, we can have no confidence in the verdict. And that ought to be deeply concerning, no matter whether you think the accused are innocent or guilty.
And Rob at the Standard has a good post up on the decision here
Given the controversy surrounding the original raids, the legal system should be bending over backwards to conduct a process that is above reproach. Instead, they are doing the exact opposite.

The case is surrounded by suppression orders so not much can be said about it but the truth about these terror raids needs to see the light of day. This trial is one way for the truth to come out but unfortunately...

courageous women

Courage - speaking the truth, even at great risk - being afraid and doing it anyway. I remember another saying that I'm going to redo - a display of courage worries the weak and inspires the strong. Be inspired by the courage of Veena Malik

From Archive Fire
What is truly amazing is that, in Pakistan, Malik is probably risking her life not only speaking to a mullah this way, but completely ripping through his illogical rants with undeniable passion and intelligence. What a courageous person:

I agree with Michael.

There are some truths we struggle to accept and oppression of women is one. Patriarchy is insidiously everywhere - here, as well as there. It is so much a part of the fabric of our society that we hardly notice it - men that is, women notice it of course, because they are living under it's oppression every day of the year. How can men support women in their struggle for equal rights? Listen and learn is my advice - don't think that your view is required - I know it is hard, men often believe that it is an expression of empathy to talk about how they feel about it, but that is not correct actually. It is a derailing technique that men often unconsciously use. I find if you read the comments and listen to the arguments you can learn a lot.

This post from QoT on The Standard is worth reading to learn about an issue that, as men we may not have considered and that is - that women have the absolute right to have control over their bodies, just as men do. The absolute right to be equal and make decisions for themselves. It is the bottom line. I recommend  QoT's blog it is awesome.

Of course there is a place for men's views in debates like this, but many of the points raised by men are red herrings and irrelevant - read the post from QoT and see if you can spot men who support the right of women to be equal and those who derail - such as raising the 'tone argument' - "you're angry, you're emotional, you are hurting your cause, you are alienating allies" and so on. I really recommend reading 'derailing for dummies' - it is a must-read for bloggers and commenters.

I cannot half-support equality - it is not my nature. As men we need to front up to the privilege we enjoy as men, in our patriarchal society. It takes women of courage to open our ears and close our mouths.

Friday, March 25, 2011

water-born protest

Great initiative from Te Whanau a Apanui in organising this flotilla against Petrobras. I hope many join in to show opposition against this exploitation. And isn't it refreshing to hear these unequivical statements
Te Whanau a Apanui has put out the call for a water-borne protest against Brazilian oil giant Petrobras's plans to prospect in the Raukumara basin.
Spokesperson Dayle Takitimu says vessels with links to the Nuclear Free Flotilla, Greenpeace, Forest and Bird, and Coromandel Watchdog are expected to be part of a flotilla leaving Auckland for Cape Runaway on Sunday in the hope of encountering Petrobras survey boats.
She says unlike some other iwi, Te Whanau a Apanui isn't interested in deals with miners.
“It's not about the money or greater ability to invest or joint venture with these companies. Whanau a Apanui just don’t want this activity occurring on our back doorstep when there is so much risk involved,” Ms Takitimu says.
She says all New Zealand is under-threat if there is an oil spill from the drilling.
If you can support this, please do so.

Hat tip Waatea News

never understand

After all the pleading and all the evidence the maori party today made their vote against maori interests. They have enshrined discrimination against maori into the law. They have said it is up to others to right the wrongs of the legislation - they have left it to our mokopuna to sort it out. The maori party have failed - they are failures. I feel quite angry to tell you the truth.

Angry enough to bring out the Reid boys. Be warned this song is like a good chutney - to hot to take and too sweet to resist.

Lyrics for 'Never Understand'- Jesus and Mary Chain

The sun comes up another day begins
And I don't even worry about the state I'm in
Head so heavy and I'm looking thin
But when the sun goes down I wanna start again

You never understandin'
You never understand me

Don't turn around until you look at me
Why don't you take a second and tell me what you see
Things I see you only disagree
You never understand that's what I want to be

You never understandin'
You never understand me

Not wishing to hide but you just can't see me
I tell you the truth but you don't believe me
Thinking of love but I can't hear what you're saying
Tomorrow I'm leaving

Cause I'm not understanding you

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

open letter from Hone

This open letter from Hone to the maori party is a sign of strength from him. I wish that Tariana, Pita, Te Ururoa and Rahui would just accept the truth that they are wrong, I wish they would listen to Hone.
Dear Tariana, Pete, Te Ururoa and Rahui,
I know you guys are probably still pissed off with me, but this Marine and Coastal Area Bill is bigger than all of us, so I’m writing to ask you to withdraw your support for it, for the very simple reason that it is bad for Maori.
I know it, I know that you guys know it too – because all of you at one time or another has said that “we know it’s not what our people want”, and that “our kids will have to fix it when they come along” and that “it’s the best that we can get”. And that’s no reason to support it.
And I know Chris Finlayson has put a lot of time and energy into drafting this bill, but so what? It still doesn’t include any of the things our people really want in it.
I had a look at the bill, and sure, I saw things like mana tuku iho and tikanga and all that, but when you look a bit deeper, the bill actually limits those principles rather than validates them, and locks them into a pakeha legal framework where they will die.
And it’s not just that. It’s the fact that the big stuff, like tupuna title, is missing.
I remember when Moana Jackson told us about it, how you smiled like “that’s what we’ve been lookin’ for”. I remember because I was grinning like an idiot, because it was so simple and yet I didn’t even see it, and I looked around to see if I was the only one, and I saw that you’d got it too.
And that’s where that stupid ‘burden of proof’ argument should have ended, because tupuna title is based on the simple line that “if the whole world knows we were here first, how come we have to go to court to prove it?”
But we let our useless bloody officials take tupuna title off the table, and next thing you know, we’re having to go to court to prove that we’re tangata whenua and that the takutaimoana was ours.
Yes, there’s a whole bunch of concessions in the bill, but that’s not we marched for. We marched for the big stuff. We marched to get our title to the foreshore and seabed back.
And that’s why I’m appealing to you guys to please, please let this go.
Go and see John Key and tell him -
“Sorry mate, but we just can’t do this. It’s not what we marched for in 2004, and it’s not what our people want in 2011. Our iwi leaders don’t like it, 95% of Maori submissions were against it, and truth be told John, we’re having a hell of a time getting anybody apart from Api to say anything nice about it at all. And if you want us to be around for the next coalition, then you got to let us off the hook on this one.”
And then give the man an out too -
“Tell you what John. Let’s announce that we will repeal the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act? Everyone will love us for that. And then we announce a moratorium on all foreshore and seabed development for 2 years to give Maori the opportunity to come up with a better deal than this. That way, the issue gets taken off the table in election year, everybody gets something out of it, and nobody has to back down.”
Repeal, moratorium, 2 year conversation.
C’mon team. That’s a decent compromise for everyone, and one that just might help you come election time.
See you in the house …
Yours sincerely,
Hone Harawira
Te Reo Motuhake o Te Tai Tokerau
Good words and a solution that's worth considering - leadership we need, in action.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

silent footsteps

A brilliant and beautiful report about the hikoi from Morgan at Maui St.
... It was incredibly moving both watching the hikoi and then joining it at Parliament. You could feel that the people walked with the wairua of their tupuna and this gave them strength.
Thanks Morgan and everyone who joined and supported the hikoi.

they know but still continue

The truth does come out, but it can take some effort. The greens have had to use the OIA to get the official truth about the Bill to replace the Foreshore and Seabed Act and the information recieved confirms what we have been saying - that the Bill is discriminatory against Māori. And not only that but the Government knows it and that means the maori party knows it. They will vote for a Bill that they know discriminates against Māori.

(my emphasis) "In relation to the spatial definition of the shared marine space, the exclusion of private titles creates a double standard whereby pre-existing Maori rights (e.g. customary title) are within the shared marine space, while the rights of private title holders are left outside it. This approach continues the discriminatory effect of the 2004 Act."
The Ministry of Justice refused to release this information on the basis that it was legally privileged. It was only released after a complaint was made to the Ombudsmen. The original request for information was made in October 2010, the relevant excerpt of the cabinet paper was provided yesterday.
As Metiria says,
"The cabinet paper we have received under the OIA confirms that the Government knows this bill creates a double standard and discriminates against Maori but they have done nothing to change it," added Mrs Turei.

Why, why are they doing it? They know but still continue - why? This great article from Rawiri Taonui tells us the answer
The Maori Party is supporting a bill because it has become too wedded to the idea of obtaining utu over Labour for what it did in 2004, overly wedded to the relationship with National and the charismatic John Key, and simply wedded to power.

Rawiri also discusses the hikoi and the diference between this and the last one. This is Māori against Māori is his answer and I agree, this is a silent hikoi of shock.
Maori Party support for the bill has stunned Maori into silence rather than action upon an execration for mobilising against other Maori.

Some may believe that the maori party can survive this but not me.

Monday, March 21, 2011

now we are all crying

The hikoi against the replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act reaches Wellington tomorrow - big day coming up. The hikoi has made good time and the opposition have stalled the government, so the 3rd reading has not happened yet. The goal is to shame the maori party into changing and not voting for the Bill. That won't work but it will be the worst day in the world for the maori party MP's - they will be crying inside and out. But they have had their chances, they have had plenty of chances and they still refuse to listen to the people, instead they fawn over key, they back racist and unjust legislation - it will be a hard day for them, as they deserve I'm sad to say.

Hone says
“Now unfortunately that hikoi is going to get to town before the third reading so I think what this is all about is maintaining pressure on the Maori Party, positive pressure I would like to think, positive and polite pressure,” Mr Harawira says. He’s written to his former Maori Party colleagues asking them to withdraw their support for the bill.
But there is more happening tomorrow for the maori party
A contingent of Kaumatua, Kuia, Pakeke,& Rangatahi from the Kaipara & Tamaki Makaurau will be arriving at Parliament tomorrow between 1-2 with the express purpose of uplifting, retrieving, and returning a 6ft hook (Matau) and anchor (punga) which was gifted to celebrate the Maori Party’s 1st year in parliament, and express support for their mangai MP Hone Harawira. The group has asked that the taonga be placed below the steps of Parliament so that they may ensure the easy return of these taonga.

This is part of their statement
“It was perhaps a HUGE error on our behalf to assume, that the party would uphold such values as manaakitanga, in order to respond to Taikokerau’s concerns re this bill. And that the party would also continue also to fight to restore our TINO RANGATIRA status (as guaranteed in article two of Te Tiriti 1840) but now recognise that , that will not be the case, being that the party, expelled our MP for merely voicing the Tai Tokerau’s concerns, and that they (The Maori Party) have blatantly ignored over 90% of the submissions re: this bill, and endorsed a piece of legislation that may well be the catalyst for TOTALLY nullifying and or extinguishing our ancestral rights of GUARDIANSHIP, CHIEFTENSHIP, AND TOTAL AUTHORITY over our taonga (Wenua, Ngahere, Moana Katoa!)

If that doesn't make them cry, nothing will. I appreciate that the maori party leadership thinks they are doing the right thing, but they promised to listen to the people and they haven't - and worse they have ignored and disrespected the Māori submissions, so it is just not good enough, not by a long shot. I think the maori party leadership should retire and that the other two members should step down and that new people who are not tainted can come in. But that is up to them - i am fully supporting a new left Māori party led by Hone and backed by all people, from any background, who believe in tino rangatiratanga, fairness, equality, kaitiakitanga and support for the less advantaged. Join us we are going to make history.

Hat tip - Waatea News and tangatawhenua com

visual poem

at waitangi once,
when Rangatira didn't
say go! wildeyed,
they wanted their land.
the good had gone,
dead, shot, sick or
sobbing. Breath to
breath they looked
at them, and they
walked away hungry.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

we need them home

I have a real problem with this story about the British Museum producing a new book, "Taonga Maori in the British Museum". The book is okay, it catalogues mainly taonga appropriated since cook's first visit. The plight of these taonga is not okay. All of these taonga should come home - it is not right that they are overseas, we need them home. Holding onto these taonga is a form of colonisation, it demeans all parties and mocks any ideas of equality we might have. There is not one good reason why these taonga should not be repatriated.
The taonga collection has more than 2300 items and comes out of a promise the museum made after a major 1998 exhibition that Maori should know what was held in London. Everything from waka, lintels, hei-tiki, treasure boxes, kete and clothes to weapons, tools, burial chests and models of pataka (storehouses) is shown photographically, with research about what is known of the history and provenance of the piece.
Te Papa's director of Matauranga Maori, Arapata Hakiwai, said going through the collection was spine-tingling. "These things are old. They're a real part of our cultural heritage, and yet they have been unknown for so long. "What this does is bring them back into the world of light," he said. "Not only are they exquisite in terms of works of art, but the histories and the encounters that they represent are really significant. I think all Maori are going to really, really love it."
Which is all true but he then says that they provide a virtual repatriation and that some taonga can serve as ambassadors overseas - here we part company - they should all come home. No if's, but's or maybe's - all home with their people, we need them home as much as they need to be home. 

And if you need further confirmation, read this
There is such scant information about some objects, including the mokomokai, that curators and academics have been left with a historical record full of holes. They know it originates from the west coast of the North Island and the authors note it that may have been given to the museum by a John Lubbock. In a letter dated April 6, but with no year, Mr Lubbock wrote to a museum scholar and benefactor: "My dear Franks, I have sent the Museum a New Zealand head which I believe rather a good specimen of tattooing. If however you do not care to keep it, perhaps you will advise me next time I see you where I had better send it."
There is no good reason for these institutions to keep our taonga, to keep our people - it is cruel and totally inappropriate.

support for our struggle

The Aboriginal News Group is a group I am proud to be a member of. 
The ANG is an international people-powered indigenous-led news guild that exists to provide support and inspiration to independent Aboriginal bloggers, journalists and activists who report on news items of importance and interest to First Nations/Original Peoples.
Both the ANG and its international news-wire the Aboriginal Press News Service (APNS) are cashless, state-less entities that operate without a budget, contributors are not compensated and as a general rule we always use Internet services that provide freely available services to anyone regardless of nationality, race/ethnicity, geographic location or economic capability. We do this to provide an example to First Nations communities and activists without means that it is possible to produce informational media that can educate the international public about their issues and concerns.
Our struggles to achieve tino rangatiratanga are posted on the ANG site for the world to see. Our struggle is the same struggle that many indigenous peoples have - we are not alone - our voices rise up in harmony - our brothers and sisters join our chorus - inclusive and open we welcome all people to support us - we are all on the same waka and we need your voice.
For Immediate Release
ANG Statement of Support For Maori-Led Takutaimoana Hikoi To Parliament In Opposition To the Marine and Coastal Area Bill
At this time, the Aboriginal News Group (ANG) wishes to offer its support to the Maori people of Aotearoa with a statement of Indigenous solidarity and unity with those involved with the 2011 Hikoi (march) on the New Zealand government. We support their right to demand an end to discriminatory legislation and the ongoing colonial subversion of the Maori people and their ancestral territories.
Many of the original people of Aotearoa believe that the proposed 'Marine and Coastal Areas' legislation is unjustly slanted against their community and have chosen to take their grievances to the seat of colonial governance. While this bill ostensibly restores the 'right' under colonialist law for Maori to challenge state ownership of foreshore and seabed regions, it does not extend to the Maori people full, unrestricted ownership of said territories. So in effect, non-Maori interests will still have access to land areas that should rightfully be returned to and maintained by its original owners. A political state of affairs very common, and very detrimental to many Indigenous peoples across the Fourth World.
Before the arrival of Europeans, all of Occupied New Zealand was in the control and stewardship of the Maori and they have never relinquished their claim to Aotearoa. We support their struggle to demand full redress and compensation for their territorial and cultural disenfranchisement and we also commend those non-Maori who realise that by supporting the Maori people they are also standing up for their own best interests and better relations with the Original Peoples of Aotearoa.
We ask that all the peoples of the Fourth World and others of conscience support this peaceful action in defence of Indigenous/First Nations territorial and human rights.
The Takutaimoana Hikoi is due to reach Parliament on March 22nd.
For additional information about this release please contact: Aboriginal News Group (ANG)
As we support stuggles overseas, so our struggles are supported from overseas.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

the river doesn't deserve this

The Dominion Post deadtree edition had a story from Diane Joyce which really needs to be told. Would you allow your grandchildren to swim in the Wairoa River, that is recieving more than 400 times the level of dumped waste from a meatworks, even with a diffuser working? Well AFFCO's General Manager would.
"he would be happy for his grandchildren to swim in the river" 
AFFCO have been in negotiations with the Hawke's Bay Regional Council after their 10 year lease to (pollute) consent expired. While it is being sorted out in the courts AFFCO continues to
be allowed to record 110,000 colony forming units per millileters of water, compared to a safe recreational limit of 260. Hawke's Bay Health considered anything over 550cfu/100ml should trigger a health warning.
The regional council has had to let them continue to pollute, meanwhile the company argues
because its waste was unlikely to contain disease, faecal codiforms should not be used as an indicator of harmful pollution.
That's the mentality of fools - the diffuser is designed to spread the pollution and "more effectively mix the treated discharge at the point of entry", so it cannot be noticed - it does nothing to reduce the discharge - just hides it. I'm against using children as political pawns or putting them in danger so, mate don't worry about letting your grandkids get in the water - we believe you.

Friday, March 18, 2011

protect the Kaipara

Our energy question cannot be answered by building water turbines, as tall as a 747 areoplane is long, and placing them at the entrance to Kaipara harbour - one of the largest and beautiful natural harbours in the world, with potential risks to Maui Dolphins and the major hatchery for West Coast snapper, and against the wishes of the local community and māori worried about sacred sites and kaitiakitanga.

That is not the answer but will only cause more problems.

The answer is reduction of energy demand. I'm afraid it is the only answer really, in combination with energy projects that are in harmony with the land, sea and people. The environmental effects of putting the initial 3 turbines in (total expected 200), over 2 years will be monitored. They don't get it - it will be too late to mitigate the environmental and ecosystem effects after they have occured. Once things are gone they never come back, at least not in the way they were. Too much risk and too much at stake - for what? To light up auckland's advertising signs?

I've posted about this before.
So just a little recap. 98% of snapper on the westcoast of te Ika a Maui are spawned in the Kaipara. 98%. The Five-story high turbines would have no environmental effect says Crest. They want exclusive occupancy for the entrance of the harbour.
Māori oppose the turbines
Mikaira Miru, a spokesman for the sub tribe Te Uri O Hau, fears the proposal will have a detrimental effect on the sea and coastal areas sacred to his people. He says ancient burial sites could also be at risk and encourages residents to make their voices heard before the deal is signed off. Mr Miru says there are 3000 pa sites on the Pouto Peninsula and a number are considered sacred. "Many areas are wahi tapu with the scattered remnants of our people all over the place." He is also concerned about the marine life. "There are huge holes in the Kaipara Harbour where there are snapper – yet they are talking about putting 25 metre high turbines in there," he says. "And they say the effects on the environment are minimal? It's an absolute joke," he says. "We've got money men playing their games in our backyard and there's no way I'm going to let them do that."
Mr Miru is among opponents to Crest Energy's proposal to set up 200 submerged turbines around the harbour's entrance at an estimated cost of $600m over ten years. He joined 500 people who filled the Dargaville Town Hall to express their concerns during a public meeting this month.
The minister has said yes to the proposal
Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson granted approval yesterday for Crest Energy to begin installation of up to 200 tidal turbine generators in an 8-square-kilometre submarine field in Northland's Kaipara Harbour.
It's not over yet - the community is opposed - they don't want the turbines and we are getting to action time.

Some will say we need renewable energy to get away from oil and gas and yes that is true. This massive project does not stack up, it puts at risk the environment and ecosystem and disregards the wishes of the community, particuarily tangata whenua. It is supposed to benefit the people not alienate or override them.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I can hardly see you

They are going to ram the Bill replacing the Foreshore and Seabed Act through parliment over the next few days and when they do the maori party will stand guilty of lowering rights for maori. One aspect of this legislation is to solidify that maori rights are lessor than other rights and they do this by creating Customary Title. The stipulations around Customary Title are only for maori not for any other owner of the foreshore and seabed. Those private owners have wider rights than maori and the maori party will create and vote for that position. It is all over for them.

A good press release from Green Party Co-leader, Metiria Turei.

The hikoi that is making its way down the country highlights that National’s foreshore Bill is the same as the deeply flawed and unjust 2004 Act, said the Green Party today. “I would to acknowledge and pay my respect to the hikoi takutaimoana that is making its way into Auckland today... Maori have been denied representation in the super city, and this new foreshore bill discriminates against Māori. This cannot go on, it is time for the voices of Maori to be heard. This bill should not go forward as it is.”
“This bill is unfair as it does nothing to change the status of the 12,500 existing private titles in the foreshore and seabed. This creates a double standard which treats Māori rights as inferior. “Nothing in this bill will stop owners of private title stopping access or selling the foreshore into foreign ownership,” said Mrs Turei.
This point is also explained well by Moana Jackson in his primer
... However that “Maori customary title” is not the title exercised by Iwi and Hapu prior to 1840. Neither is it the full and exclusive title guaranteed in the Treaty of Waitangi. Rather it is a limited bundle of rights subject ultimately to the presumed authority of the Crown to define their limit and extent. They are necessarily subordinate rights. For example they are less than those that might be held by a Pakeha person with land contiguous to the foreshore and seabed. Indeed the Crown has stated several times that while they are a “property interest” they are something less than a freehold title. That is not only discriminatory but a blatant redefinition of tino rangatiratanga and any accepted understanding of mana tuku iho.
The maori party will let us down in the worst way - they are becoming smaller as they move away from the people.

the stirrings counter

The hikoi to oppose the racist replacement legislation to the hated Foreshore and Seabed Act has begun. Great footage and links from Ana here and here and here. It is likely that the hikoi will get to Wellington after the new Act has been passed - that will be an opportunity to show them what Māori think of it. We oppose it, vigorously. Kim has a great post on the hikoi and the reasons behind it - awesome links and analysis.

The hikoi comes at a time when the haters are getting bolder. Who would believe that we can live in a country where at a political party conference an interjector can advocate bringing in shooting the natives and that the response from the delegates is laughter. Not one politician had denounced this heinous statement and response - not one! Bloggers are leading the way -

Lew from Kiwipolitico
... the delegates in attendance at the ACT party laughed. At the suggestion that New Zealand implement a system of genocide against its indigenous people which, even back in 1840, was a source of shame for Australia, those in attendance at the annual conference of a New Zealand government party whose ranks include two ministers of the crown laughed.
Idiot/Savant from No Right Turn
... This little blurt is very revealing about where ACT is now: deeply racist, willing to voice the previously unthinkable: that people should be murdered based on the colour of their skin to prevent them from irritating rich white people with their demands for justice.
 Eddie from The Standard
3-time election loser Don Brash spoke at the ACT conference on the weekend. It was an attempt to revive the Owera days with an anti-Maori speech. When he made a ‘they don’t know how lucky they are’ reference to how Australians used to “shoot the natives”, a ACT member yelled “bring that back” and the audience laughed.

and Morgan at Maui Street
... I wonder how well Brash’s Maori bashing will go down this time. A considerable amount of New Zealanders hate Maori culture (rather than Maori people), however in light of the Chch earthquake and the disaster unfolding in Japan issues such as karakia before public functions appear terribly insignificant.
This is the tamest line in an awesomely accurate description of brash from Morgan.

We are lucky to have such strong voices out there. Thank you all.

community, people and connection during dark days

I am not trying to freak people out but the situation in Japan is turning even worse - if that can be imagined. The chance of a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear complex is increasing. There has been a fourth explosion. Radiation has/is already entering the atmosphere. It may not be the worst scenario come to life - we just don't know - but everything has changed - the world has changed.

What to do - send our love and hearts to the Japanese people and everyone else that will be affected. Make contact with our neighbours, friends and family - keep the communication strong and support each other - we need each other more than ever. Community, people and connection.

Aljazeera Net
5:59am Just before midnight, we reported that the ongoing crisis at Fukushima nuclear plant had been upgraded to a level 6 on the 7-point International Nuclear Events Scale. Andre-Claude Lacoste, president of France's ASN nuclear safety authority said:
We are now in a situation that is different from yesterday's. It is very clear that we are at a level six, which is an intermediate level between what happened at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. We are clearly in a catastrophe

Monday, March 14, 2011


You have to wonder about phil goff - languishing leader of the labour party. He has stated in the past that he wouldn't even talk with Hone after the election. Then he changed his story to a principled "let the people speak first" and now he has stated once again that - No! working with Hone or any party he may form. Grow up goff you are fooling no one. As Hone says, (NZH)
Mr Harawira said he doubted Mr Goff would hold his resolve if Labour found itself in a position to govern. "I absolutely guarantee you that if I form a new party and we have the seats to make a difference, he'll be ringing me as fast as he possibly can."
I feel a bit sorry for goff - he is out of his depth and floundering and the polls keep going down...

Good to see a poll showing strong support for Hone to set up a new maori party.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

a great idea and aroha for Japan

A great idea from Bill on The Standard
Why not retrofit school buildings in NZ to an extra-ordinary high standard and have them double up as emergency centers in the event of a natural disaster? So for example, why not have schools fitted with a number of land lines given that cell phone networks appear to be somewhat fragile in the face of quakes? And why not install sizable septic tanks that sewerage could be diverted to when sewerage systems break? And have robust fresh water storage facilities on site? And independent power supply capabilities? Why not designate schools as permanant repositories of disaster provisions (water, deydrated or tinned food, blankets, tents, toileteries etc)?

Go and read the whole post, it makes a lot of sense and Bill's idea is innovative and positive - just what we need to strengthen our communities.

I'm sending aroha to everyone affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan - what an absolute horror - my heart goes out to you all.

Friday, March 11, 2011

left is the answer

An alternative māori party is beginning to build momentum (Radio NZ) - this is good but I hasten to add that it must be a party that is inclusive and respectful of all people. It will be very important to focus on injustice and inequity - none of this, "It's all your own fault, bullshit." None of the right-wing lines used to reduce people and none of the exploitive, capitalist's who put money above everything. Don't fill the party up with ex-MP's! Don't fill the party up with people that call women "front-bums". A lot of don'ts I suppose but that is why I entitled my alternative māori party as a left māori party. Go left and look after people - that is my advice. Fill the party list with new people - there are plenty out there. Use the activist base to source good people. There are many working with the poor and disadvantaged, there are many commited to the environment and kaitiakitanga and they are quality and voters will vote for them. Go to our kaumatua and ask them. Watch out for those who will ride you as the māori party has been ridden.

Please note that exceptions can be made where appropriate - Sandra Lee is awesome and I rate her very highly and I have time for Willie Jackson too.

Update - I have just listened to Annette Sykes on the radio talking about supporting the alternative māori party - Ae! Kei te koa rawa atu au.

(I'm trying to use more te reo māori in mars2earth now and macrons - I'm following kaua e whakama. Karawhiua! Don't be shy. Give it a go. If you already know our sacred language feel free to help me when you can)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

frack off exploiters

Fracking or frac'ing - it doesn't really matter how we spell it because it spells trouble. They are drilling at Waitangi Hill near Gisbourne and they have made some exciting (for them) discoveries. Our water, our land and our people are under threat. They say the water is protected, they say they meet stringent environmental standards but Iwi and hapū and others are opposing these exploiters - we must support them and help them.

What is fracking?

From John Pfahlert Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of NZ Executive Office Gisbourne Herald 3 march 2011

Hydraulic fracture stimulation, or “frac’ing”, is used to stimulate underground hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs to increase the flow capacity of the rock to gas and oil. “Frac fluid”, which primarily consists of a water or hydrocarbon base and sand, is pumped down the wellbore into a designated section of the well at high pressure to fracture the reservoir rock. The sand is a washed and sieved quartz sand or man-made ceramic particles. The sand is used to hold the fracture open to provide a pathway for the fluids to flow into the wellbore for extraction at the surface.
Frac’ing currently being undertaken in New Zealand is at depths well below the deepest groundwater aquifers that are used for drinking water or irrigation. Therefore, any proposed frac’ing operations cannot affect groundwater. Shallow aquifers are protected by installing a steel casing or liner into the wellbore below the depth of the deepest freshwater aquifer to be encountered by the wellbore. The casing or liner is cemented into place, isolating the surrounding rock and aquifers from any of the fluids entering the wellbore.
The East Coast of this country has the exploiters quite excited 
March 30, 2010 - New Zealand oil and gas producer and explorer TAG Oil Ltd. (TSX-V: TAO) announced today that the first stratigraphic well in TAG's initial three-well Waitangi Hill program has been drilled to a total depth of 171m. The results, including "free oil" in core samples, further indicate Waitangi Hill as an area of active oil and gas generation and expulsion. The Waitangi Hill-2 well is located within TAG's 530,000-acre permit area in the northern East Coast Basin of New Zealand, where TAG is pursuing both conventional and unconventional fractured oil shale prospects. The objective of these Waitangi Hill stratigraphic wells is to begin collecting the modern data needed to enhance the Company's ability to appraise a conventional development of the historical Waitangi Hill shallow oil discovery, and more importantly, to further assess the viability of the underlying Waipawa Black Shale and Whangai Shale source rock formations as unconventional targets.
Who are TAG Oil?
TAG Oil Ltd. is a Canadian-based company with international operations in New Zealand. The Company holds a drill-ready prospect inventory that covers more than 3,500 sections of land in the Taranaki and East Coast basins, including a 100% interest in the producing Cheal oil and gas discoveries now under appraisal and development. In the East Coast Basin, TAG is planning a drilling campaign to further investigate the major unconventional resource potential that has been demonstrated in the Waipawa and Whangai fractured shale source-rock formations that are widespread across the Company’s acreage. The geological characteristics of these formations compare favourably to oil-rich shale formations such as the Bakken Shale in the Williston Basin and Liassic Shale in the Paris Basin.
Check this video out from TAG Oil - they are very excited about 'the whole area'. Not just Waitangi Hill but all of the Waipawa and Whangai country.

We should be very alarmed by this as this letter writer to the paper in Gisbourne has said
You seem to be missing the point, John. You have a lot of facts about this oil and gas business yet you have no facts about the East Coast people (iwi/hapu) who live in these areas and may be affected by any mining or drilling.
I’ll tell you some facts. It is a fact that two of my rangatira Koia-uru-te-rangi and Rawiri-Rangi-Katia signed the East Coast Treaty (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) and the Treaty they signed with the Crown protected the people, culture, lands and sea.
They did not sign a Treaty that would allow their people to be murdered, their lands stolen, their culture destroyed and their rights as tangata whenua taken away.
Governments have never honoured the East Coast Treaty because they are not worthy. Instead, through history, they have changed Acts and laws to justify their mistreatment of the Treaty partner.
Today we are still protecting our culture, lands and sea, John, because Maori are the land, mountains, rivers and sea. That is the culture that makes us who we are.
Mining and drilling may place our way of life at risk.
This crazy National Government has forgotten the written agreement between Maori and the monarch of Britain. But us Coasties have not forgoten, John. It is our right under Te Tiriti o Waitangi to say NO to drilling and mining along the East Coast. Just because an out-of-control government gives out permits does not mean they can trample over a legal document between a Queen and East Coast Maori.

All of us must support iwi and hapū fighting against mining and gas and petroleum exploration. And we will join them in stopping this abomination. What consequences can we expect if they go ahead - they say it is safe, they say the water will be protected, they say no one will even notice. They say lots of things and they say them so that they can exploit and make money. The consequences are too high to contemplate. This award winning documentary teaser for Gasland doesn't pull any punches.

Won't happen here? Can't happen here? Just watch them go hard to make more money and destroy more land and people. The only thing stopping them is us.

Hat tip - Archive Fire

commitment to promises

I suppose Tariana didn't like Hone's speech very much - why would she when it smashed her weak effort. So she has come out with these comments on Hone missing the vote on the 2nd reading of the bill to replace the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says Hone Harawira should be embarrassed about forgetting to vote on the foreshore bill.
She said Harawira's failure to vote puts into question his commitment. "You're either genuine and you're here to represent a particular viewpoint and as such you're here to cast a vote saying that you support that viewpoint."
Yes so true, we remember all of the votes you have made Tariana supporting the gnats and making life harder for the people - yes your voting record says it all so I wouldn't be too indignant about Hone's mistake. Especially when a new poll of maori shows that only 11% support your Bill. That is not a mandate no matter how much spin you put on it. Will you keep your promise to follow the wishes of maori? Will you keep that promise?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

bloated mining profits

We know who makes money from mining and this confirms it. The big corporations and meanwhile the land and people pay the price.

Green/Left Weekly
Mining company BHP Billiton’s whopping $10.5 billion profit for the second half of 2010 highlights the shameless greed of those making a fortune out of Australia’s valuable resources... Now BHP is on track to break an Australian record. Its profit for this financial year will likely be more than $20 billion. Rio Tinto and Xstrata have also announced huge profits.
The big corporations are always trying to convince us that high profits are good for everyone. The argument goes that the more they make, the more they’ll share around. But as the mining giants have shown, the more they make, the more they line their pockets. It’s true that some mining workers earn relatively high wages. But these wages, often for dangerous and difficult work, are peanuts compared with mining super-profits.
The mining of our land is about to step up and we must fight them and show the truth - that this exploitation is for money and it is obscene.

bill deserves contempt and dismissal

Although Hone is being justly lambasted for missing the vote on the 2nd reading of the Bill to replace the Foreshore and Seabed Act - he did make a speech and the speech was excellent.

Excerpts from Scoop
...Because Mr Speaker, when the Minister of Treaty Settlements says that “Maori will have to show that they held exclusive use and occupation of the area since 1840, without substantial interruption, and that the area in question was held in accordance with tikanga”, then what he is saying is that the National Party / Maori Party government intends to use exactly the same test in 2011 that 50,000 Maori marched against in 2004.
And when Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister says that “customary title is not going to be easier to achieve, but it’s not the government’s job to make the tests easier…” then what he is doing is spitting in the eye of the Maori Party for backing a deal that is likely to break their backs at the next election.
And when Mr Speaker, the Maori Party actually says in their video, and I quote: "if we were negotiating on what is fair, just and moral, then we would have a very different outcome," then Mr Speaker, please let it be known to all who care to notice, that I am glad that I am no longer a member of a caucus that has finally realised that the price of their coalition with National, is their support for a bill that is unfair, unjust and immoral.
And when Mr Speaker, the Maori Party says “that is the choice facing Maori people, and we will be guided by them” then I have to ask, which people is it that they are talking about?
And when Mr Speaker, the leadership of the Maori Party moves to force me out so that they can say that the Maori Party unanimously supports this racist piece of legislation, do they seriously think that the 50,000 who marched against the confiscation of their rights in 2004 are going to accept the ongoing confiscation of those rights in 2011?
Because this I know Mr Speaker …
1. All 4 Maori Party MPs who voted for this racist piece of legislation, did so without going back to ask their constituents what they thought about it;
2. All 4 Maori Party MPs who voted for this racist piece of legislation, have publicly expressed grave doubts about the bill itself;
3. All 4 Maori Party MPs who voted for this racist piece of legislation, have been told in no uncertain terms by their constituents that they do not support it; and
4. All 4 Maori Party MPs who voted for this racist piece of legislation, have been called upon by iwi in their electorates to withdraw their support for it
And Mr Speaker, the analysis of the submissions makes it quite clear why Maori do not support this bill –
1. it fails to properly recognise and provide for the mana of hapū and iwi
2. it continues the original confiscation via vesting in the ‘common space’
3. it sets the use and occupation tests too high
4. it limits the content of a customary marine title
5. it introduces a costly, adversarial and complicated court process;
6. it remains discriminatory to Māori, and
7. it continues to breach Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Tikanga Māori, common law principles, and international human rights standards, including the United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Mr Speaker, this bill is deserving of nothing but contempt and dismissal, for it preys on the desperation of the Maori Party to be seen to be doing something about the issue from which it was born, while highlighting the determination of the National Party to ensure that Maori will actually get nothing from the same piece of legislation.

Now that is a speech and an eye-watering contrast to the weak and apologetic speeches from Turia and Sharples. The māori party are dreaming - do they forget that Ngāi Tahu have said we will fight the racist bill for generations, as we fought Te Kerēme.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

conservation refugees

It is important that we recognise the struggles of indigenous peoples all around the world because it is 2011 and this should not be happening in today's world. It is unbelieveable that indigenous peoples, including Māori, get treated like they are less than others, that their rights, their way of life, beliefs and uniqueness are less important. Often they are weighed less important by the dominant cultures and the exploitation activities of oil, mines, timber, and agriculture. There is also another reason that indigenous peoples are displaced from their homelands and that is for land and wildlife conservation via national parks.

This award-winning documentary "Conservation Refugees - Expelled from Paradise" shows how devestating this is for the peoples being displaced - often with nowhere for them to go.

Conservation Refugees - Expelled from Paradise from Steffen Keulig, Marketfilm on Vimeo.

Some might believe that Māori gifted all of the land into our national parks - I am not one of those people.

Hat tip - Intercontinental Cry

tide receding

The māori party have supported the 2nd reading of the replacement to the Foreshore and Seabed Act as expected. I recieved an email before the 2nd reading saying,
Kia ora marty, nga mihi nui kia koe. Maori Party co-leaders Tariana Turia and Dr Pita Sharples will be speaking on the second reading of the Marine and Coastal Areas (Takutai Moana) Bill today. Mrs Turia is scheduled to speak between 3.50pm and 4.15pm or immediately after question time while Dr Sharples is expected to speak an hour after Mrs Turia. marty, if you have the time to tune in, please do so.
I was not able to listen but I have read the speech now and it is similar to the video. One series of statements needs clarification
There is also a very interesting provision, tucked away in clause 105, the burden of proof clause which states explicitly that “it is presumed, in the absence of proof to the contrary, that a customary interest has not been extinguished”.
In other words, it will be up to the Crown to prove that any interest has been extinguished- rather than placing the onus for proof on the whanau, hapu and iwi.
Is this a panacea for all ills? I think not.
I think not too and I think this point needs to be analysed because it is not my understanding and I hope I am proven wrong.

These points in the speech were interesting too
We have vigorously fought the case against too high a threshold being applied to the tests for customary marine titles – a concern which whanau, hapu and iwi have consistently raised with us. And we appreciate also the concern of many Maori who seek a new Treaty based ‘longer conversation’ to safeguard the mana of hapu and iwi. This was a resounding theme of the 72 submissions received by the Maori Affairs select committee from marae, hapu, iwi, Maori land owners, organizations and collectives. It is a theme that we have certainly heard, and we will continue to give voice to, in every sphere of political activity that we are engaged in.
There has been some statements made in public about the ‘overwhelming opposition’ to the Bill demonstrated in the select committee process. I think that comment should be balanced by the fact that less than 2% of the 5700 submissions received were in fact from Maori – the great majority of submitters coming from within lobby groups the like of the Coastal Coalition
The opposition is mainly from Pākehā - who'd have thunk it.

I notice that Hone didn't vote - that was a mistake, he should have voted against it IMO. It appears he gave his proxy to the greens and it wasn't used ??? He forgot to vote - and whilst mistakes can happen, this was a big one.

The finalish word to Tariana
This is our bill – a Bill which the National Party was prepared to back.
I wonder why.

This is an excerpt from Hone's speech
"With all my heart and soul I beg the Maori Party to recognise the fact that they have been sold down the river by the National Party and to accept the reality that they occupy a cold and lonely place in the hearts and minds of their people," he said. "This is racist legislation and thousands will walk away from the Maori Party."
Very powerful - "a cold and lonely place in the hearts and minds of their people" - whū! That is very hard hitting.

be part of history

Hone is happy to be free and I am happy for him too. I support Hone and this new movement 100% because i believe that what is good for Māori is good for all people of this country. This IS the historic beginnings of a movement that will empower Māori and move us toward tino rangatiratanga and this movement will bring people together to promote fairness and equality. Go for it Hone and deliver the mandate of leadership that the people are bestowing - that is the mark of a rangatira and that is mana.
... being independent means I am no longer constrained by a party that got a bit lost at the first sniff of power, I’m no longer shackled to dull, boring policies written by bureaucrats to please the Nats rather than promote the hopes and aspirations of our people, and I no longer have to accept crumbs and the continued theft of the foreshore and seabed as the price of coalition.
And more importantly, being independent means that I am free -
Free to speak out against government policies that focus on the rich get richer while the poor get shafted and the lives of ordinary Kiwis get destroyed in the process;
Free to develop the argument that “what is good for Maori is good for the country” and that spending real money on getting rid of the Maori underclass, makes good economic and political sense for everyone;
Free to highlight the state of inequality that Maori people face in their homeland, to propose new ways of dealing with those issues and to work with any other MP or political party that is courageous enough to say why not;
Free to speak of bold new ideas, to develop the political will to grow those ideas, and to help define the goals, the teams and the structures required to turn those ideas into a genuine reality rather than the jaded, faded bureaucratic washouts that government departments thrive on and ordinary people hate;
Free to travel the north to build on the support that the people have always given me to raise the issues as openly and as honestly as I can;
Free to road-test those messages in a national tour over the next few weeks;
And free to talk to all the well-meaning people, Maori, Pasifika, Pakeha and others as well who have given me truckloads of support over the past few weeks about what it is they want to see in parliament.
Yes bring people together - that is the answer. We are in this waka together and this movement, led by Hone, and devoted to tino rangatiratanga is a movement we can all support and we must support it because look around at the alternatives - notwithstanding the greens, what options are out there - not many, if any.

can't run from the truth

Idiot/Savant from No Right Turn is an amazing blogger who does the hard yards better than anyone by seeking information from ministers based on the OIA (Official Information Act). Some may wonder why i am so hard on gerry brownlee - I/S has uncovered one of the reasons - he makes it up as he goes along.

No Right Turn
Last year, when the government was making a lot of noise about its goal of "closing the gap" with Australia, we were confronted with the odd sight of Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee claiming in the House to have targets and milestones for this goal, but refusing to say what they were.
Since then I've been engaged in a prolonged OIA battle with the Minister to force him to produce the advice on which these "milestones" were based.
The answer?
Despite being given numerous interesting but irrelevant documents, its been clear from the beginning that there was no such advice - that Brownlee made up his "milestones", and in the process lied to Parliament. And today, I received confirmation of this, in the form of the Ombudsman's preliminary views on a complaint I lodged about Brownlee's answers. The Ombudsman has formed the view that Brownlee should have refused my request, on the grounds of section 18(g) of the Act - basically, that it does not exist. Why? Because the Minister had admitted it
My investigator met with the relevant officials from the Ministers office. She was advised that the answer given in the House was not based on specific advice received by Mr Brownlee either from the Ministry of Economic Development, or from the advisors in his office... It has become apparent during my investigation that there are no source documents for the answers given in the House on 27 July and 5 August 2010.
It doesn't get plainer than that and what a disgrace this minister is. He makes it up as he goes along and he cannot be trusted.
Thank you I/S for all your hard work in uncovering these incompetents.
Hat tip - The Standard

Monday, March 7, 2011

Kaiwhakahaere message

I am reproducing this message from Mark Solomon, Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, about the Christchurch earthquake.

Tātangi nei te reo o apakura ki ōku taringa
He aituā e kukume i ngā taura o ngākau mōmotu
i te kukumetanga mai o Rūaumoko i ōna here ki te mata o te whenua
Nei te tangi ki ngā tini aituā kua wehe ki te pae o ngaromanga
Waiho mā mātou nei e apakura tū te ao, tū te pō
Nā reira nei te mihi ki a tātou Ngāi Mōrehu
Me pakahiwitahi tātou kia kiia ahakoa te taumahatanga o te wā
Āe rawa atu nei, kei te ora tonu te manaakitanga me te aroha ki tēnei whenua
 It has been such a tragic week and my thoughts are with all those who have lost family and friends in this earthquake. I also wish to acknowledge those who are, injured, unable to live in their homes, are living in damaged homes and so on. All residents of Christchurch, Canterbury and in the wider community have been affected in some way.
So far this website has been used to convey only essential-service messages and information about marae accommodation and respite. However, today there is a lot more resource around and a few extra minutes to dedicate to a quick update.
About 30 Te Rūnanga Group staff are working furiously at the new Wigram Hub to re-establish our core businesses and operations. This includes the Tahu FM crew. We are here because we have no access to Te Waipounamu House in the Central Business District. We do not expect to have access for many more weeks, possibly months to come. But this has not stopped us from delivering the mahi required at this time. The Ngāi Tahu/Iwi Katoa/Te Puni Kōkiri/Māori organisation relief effort is a combined and coordinated effort and linked in with the greater Civil Defence relief effort across the city. Many people are inputting into this effort whether from their homes, marae, or from the Ngāi Tahu Wigram Hub.
There are many from outside the city and all across the country who are also contributing and I thank all Iwi, Māori organisations, and all others for their generous donations. I also thank the many Cantabrians, New Zealanders and international citizens who are here on the ground doing their utmost to help us recover. The Red Cross Emergency and Hardship Grant is helping to address the immediate and dire needs of whānau who are without water, power or sewerage services. It is hard to adequately express how proud I am of our whānau and our wider community, you are simply extraordinary.
Over the days and weeks ahead, there will be time to report on this relief effort and I will post regular updates in this space, in the meantime, continue to take care of each other.
 Aroha ki te tangata

Mark Solomon.
We must look after the people - that is the priority.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

dull knife can't cut butter

I'm not really too worried about brownlee and his plan to knock all heritage buildings down and the reason is that he is a very dull knife indeed IMO as evidenced by these proclaimations

The Minister, Gerry Brownlee, told a media briefing this afternoon that if he had his way, most of Christchurch's heritage buildings would be bowled tomorrow. He says the old buildings killed people when they toppled during the earthquake and they can not remain.
"While they are part of our past history, they have no place in our future history. As I've said repeatedly, heritage is both forward and back and from this point on, we decide what the heritage of this city will be," he said.
Oh dear gerry - past history is a little redundant and future history - well I know what you are trying to say but you aren't actually saying it with those words. I think the 'we' in the last sentence indicates the royal 'we'.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

nor is this all

I have missed studying but now I am back into it and filled with anticipation. Some of my first readings have been excellent and I will endeavour to put up insights I get as I go along. A paper I am excited about is a Treaty of Waitangi paper - so much has been written about this Treaty and it's place in our history and cultural ethos. The versions, the misuse of words, the haste, the falsification and deliberate misleading - it is all there.

I'm sure over time we will get to all of those issues but I want to talk a bit about Lord Normanby's instructions to Hobson. (My emphasis below)
... the increase of national wealth and power promised by the aquisition of New Zealand, would be a most inadequate compensation for the injury which must be inflicted on this Kingdom itself, by embarking in a measure essentially unjust, and but too certainly fraught with calamity to a numerous and inoffensive people, whose title to the soil and to the Sovereignty of New Zealand is indisputable, and has been solemnly recognised by the British Government ...
... The Queen... disclaims for herself and for her Subjects, every pretension to sieze on the Islands of New Zealand, or to govern them as part of the Dominion of Great Britian unless the free and intelligent consent of the Natives, expressed according to their established usages, shall be first obtained...
... All dealings with the Aborigines for their lands must be conducted on the same principles of sincerity, justice, and good faith as must govern your transactions with them for the recognition of Her Majesty's Sovereignty in the Islands. Nor is this all. They must not be permitted to enter into any Contracts in which they might be ignorant and unintentional authors of injuries to themselves...
Lord Normanby's instructions were barely followed. The free and informed consent according to established usages and the principles of sincerity, justice and good faith were not followed. In fact these are the same issues facing Māori today. Tino rangatiratanga is about free and informed consent and sincerity, justice and good faith. There are numerous reasons that the Treaty, between the indisputable Sovereigns of the land - Māori, and the Crown, did not live up to the intent of Lord Normanby's instructions. What has happened, has happened - the point is, what do we do about it.

Telling the truth is a good start - stop the pretending and self delusions that we hide behind - front up to how we have got to where we are. All of those aspects are part of resetting the foundations of this country and it starts and ends with recognition of Māori and the right to self determination. That is the way we change all of the negative statistics that reflect the plagues on Māori. The plagues that have arisen from the disease of colonisation and it's siblings - capitalism, exploitation and patriarchy. The tokenism has to stop and the context must be there. For instance, why would a presenter talk through the radio broadcast of the karakia before the memorial service for the victims of the Christchurch earthquake when the christian prayers are heard in silence?  I don't personally blame the presenter because it is endemic in our society - this disregard for Māori culture and the misunderstandings because of lack of context. This is important because we are in this waka together and that connection for us all is beyond dispute.

Everyone can connect but we need the indigenous rights of Māori to be recognised, acclaimed and empowered for the true value of those connections to be realised. This country didn't begin in 1840 - there is a deep and rich history and knowledge within the real story of this country and as we accept the truth of that story, we connect and become part of that story. It becomes our story too no matter where we are from. That is the great gift awaiting us.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

old dungas get blame

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has said that the old buildings in Christchurch will be pulled down so that they can no longer claim lives in earthquakes.

Quite frankly people have died in this last earthquake trying to save old buildings. We're not going to do that any more. My absolutely strong position is that the old dungas, no matter what their connection, are going under the hammer."
"Old stuff, if it's got any damage at all, needs to be got down and got out, because it's dangerous and we don't need it."
No one would put a building above someone's life but there are some major inconsistancies with brownlee's statement. The two modernish buildings that came down killed more people than the heritage buildings. If you do this in Christchurch, which used to be considered a low earthquake risk compared to some other other cities in this country, then what about Wellington or somewhere else?

I am not opposed to bringing down damaged or dangerous buildings but let's do it with the proper mindset. Heritage buildings are about culture not just the bricks and buildings can be more than just buildings and that has to be considered. We do need them.

Good discussion in comments on Dim Post

no one's laughing

Tim at Tumeke has a great post about a hui he attended where Te Ururoa Flavell defended the repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act.
... After a rough session where we remained unconvinced this bill would do anything other than legitimise all the mining and drilling that is planned by the Crown and will lock in the confiscations that have happened all the way to 2011, Te Ururoa breezily attempted to use the same old bullshit line about being open to ideas. This was too much. They cut the process short and say they will do all the changes at committee stage/2nd reading, but we won't have any chance to object to it then. We can't properly tell him yes or no now to the bill because we don't know what the law will say - and neither does he. It is preposterous.
I said I had put forward ideas at select committee stage but had seen no evidence that anything I or anyone else that wasn't a big infrastructure company had said was taken on board. So how long have we got to get back to him with our ideas that he will be listening to (before the caucus votes for whatever the Nats put in anyway?) I asked. Realistically, I said, how long have we got to email you our ideas on this bill before it's too late. I had my pen poised over my pad and I kept looking at it as he struggled to find an answer. All I could hear was the ticking of the clock and him shuffling papers around for what seemed like an age. I didn't look up at him, just at the tip of the pen. The meeting waited in silence. Then he finally said: "a week." I took a long blink, looked up and repeated, slowly: a week. Maybe it was my unchecked expression of derision that did it, maybe it was the laughter from the others, maybe it was the earlier exchange over Hone and who would be the next male leader of the party now "you pulled the pin on him" that had something to do with it, but he seemed a little irked. "A week," he repeated. "One week" I repeated in disbelief. "You wanted a time: a week." - he reiterated tersely. There was more silence as the bad punchline to an even worse joke sunk in. No one had to say anything - it's a farce.
That week has started running which reinforces the 'farce' - it is a joke but no one's laughing.