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Flip-Flop Fumbling Acts against Maori Interests

Government Flip-Flop Fumbling Acts against Interests of Maori

Maori Party Environment Spokesperson, Te Ururoa Flavell

Tuesday 19 December 2006

The Government’s disastrous reversal of the decisions associated with the Whangamata Marina shatters any illusion that the Government takes the concerns of tangata whenua seriously, believes Environment spokesperson for the Maori Party, Te Ururoa Flavell.

“Today’s back-sliding snubs the dedicated commitment of Hauraki Maori Trust Board, Te Kupenga o Ngati Hako, Te Runanga o Ngati Puu, Ngati Whanaunga, Te Runanga a Iwi o Ngati Tamatera, and the Whangamata Maori Komiti who have invested years in fighting to preserve the environment in and around Whangamata” said Mr Flavell.

“Tangata whenua have spoken about the risks the marina would pose in the area where their traditional kaimoana grounds are, due to significant and ongoing dredging of the channel” said Mr Flavell.

“Those harbours and estuaries are the essential breeding, nursery and feeding grounds for kaimoana such as patiki, matamata and kuaka” said Mr Flavell.

“They had also warned that the proposed car-park would destroy one of the few remaining wetlands in the area, a salt marsh which is home to important bird life”.

“Although today’s decisions makes reference to providing copies of construction certificates, draft plans, records of dredged material and other such matters to iwi representatives, it is up in the air as to how much say tangata whenua will actually have in ensuring their concerns are addressed” said Mr Flavell.

“Paying heed to Maori protocol” is one thing – working alongside tangata whenua in a respectful and effective partnership is quite another”.

“The announcement today is not only a matter of gross political humiliation” said Mr Flavell.

“It is yet another example of the damage that this Government is willing to do for the sake of popularity polls – being prepared to run riot through iwi traditional values; to destroy the environment; and to privatise the foreshore and seabed; - Maori are saying, here we go again”.

“I am reminded of the analysis Dr Rawiri Taonui presented last week, when talking about the Government’s fatal Maori Purposes Bill” said Mr Flavell. “Dr Taonui concluded that the Government’s action “denigrates the progress we have made as a country by dishonouring partnership”. Today’s decision confirms his words".

ends

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