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Harawira: Maori Purposes Bill

Harawira: Maori Purposes Bill

Maori Purposes Bill (no 2)

Hone Harawira, Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau

Tuesday 15 April 2008; 8.00pm

I just wanted to first of all pay my respects and say my farewells on behalf of all of the Maori Members of Parliament to those two who have passed on today, Alec Philips from Manu Ariki and Mahinaarangi Tocker, one of the great singers from the Maori world. Their loss is felt by all of us.

I welcome the whanau from Tuwharetoa who are here this evening.

This Bill has a number of points that are easy for us to support. The Maori Party is happy to support the proposal to allow eighteen year olds to vote under the terms of the Maori Trust Boards Act, given that 65% of those who do not bother to vote in general elections are those aged between 18 and 24. For Maori those figures are even more important because nearly 50% of our population is under 19 anyway.

Our experience as a new party tells us that young Maori are interested in politics, that they have a good understanding of how voting works, and overwhelmingly they are coming to the Maori Party as New Zealand’s party of hope and party of genuine change.

We also know that in the past they have not bothered voting because they did not think that anyone was listening. We know that the emergence of the Maori Party has changed their thinking at a national level and maybe changing the Maori Trust Boards Act to encourage them to participate in tribal affairs will show them how keen we are for them to be part of Maori development at a tribal level, as well.

The Maori Party is also happy to support the proposal to increase the numbers on the Waitangi Tribunal from sixteen to twenty. We have always supported increased resourcing for the Tribunal and support an increase in the Tribunal’s membership if that will make its job easier to do, as well.

Thirdly, the Maori Party is very keen to support the proposal enabling Tuwharetoa to finally repeal the revenue sharing arrangements with the Crown – and might we add, not before time. It is 81 years since the Crown passed legislation to give itself ownership over Lake Taupo. It is sixteen years since the Crown agreed to return the title to the Trust Board for the benefit of its beneficiaries and only now has it agreed to allow full revenues to be assumed by Tuwharetoa.

We congratulate Tuwharetoa on this day. We wish Tuwharetoa well in their dealings over the outstanding issue of ownership of water and we send a clear warning to the Crown that if indeed it is proper – and it is proper – that Tuwharetoa be granted title to their lakes, so too will we continue the fight to have title to the foreshore and seabed eventually returned to Maori.

However, the section dealing with the changes to the Maniapoto Maori Trust Board Act to enable Kawhia marae to have representation on the Trust Board is not so clear. It seems that a difference of opinion had arisen between sections within Maniapoto Maori Trust Board and Te Runanganui o Ngati Hikairo in respect of tribal boundaries, marae affiliation and even iwi representation.

The Maori Party recognises the right of all marae to declare their links to more than one iwi and to honour the whakapapa they may share with more than one tupuna. But we recognise also that a dispute of this nature needs to be resolves before legislation can comfortably progress through this House. Given outstanding differences we would normally ask that the Minister take a call to advise how any likely differences might be resolved, but we are happy to hear that the various parties have themselves agreed to meet to work out how best to deal with this matter. On that basis, the Maori Party is happy to support this bill at its second reading.


ENDS

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