Ae Marika! 11 December 2012

Posted on December 11, 2012 by admin in Ae Marika

The biggest problem for Maori in 2012 has been government’s commitment to the “free market”. That attitude has allowed businesses like Ports of Auckland, Pike River and AFFCO to reduce safety standards, shift companies offshore, and cut wages in their drive for profits.

Unemployment has risen and more and more people have been driven onto benefits as they struggle to cope.

Government has exacerbated the problem by slashing youth benefits, assistance to young mothers and unemployment benefits, and ruthlessly cutting back on state housing in Glen Innes and evicting families from state houses in Otangarei.

Working people and those who can’t find work have responded by walking away from New Zealand and seeking a new life in Australia. And the real scary thing about it is that this government doesn’t care.

They remain committed to the sale of NZ-owned power companies, despite massive public opposition and a Tribunal claim over the water.

Instead of learning from Petrobras being forced to withdraw from a badly planned deep sea oil drilling programme, government has simply opened up the Reinga Basin for more drilling.

And they expect charities to feed 270,000 children living below the poverty line when teachers and child care experts (and MANA of course) recommend a simple Feed the Kids in Schools programme.

MANA has been prominent in all of these issues and I look forward to our continuing to provide leadership in these and other areas 2013.

The far north has witnessed three historical settlements – Aupouri, Ngaitakoto and Te Rarawa; Ngati Kuri and Ngati Kahu have yet to sign and whether they do so soon or not at all is entirely in their hands.

One thing that will change immediately though as a result of the settlements, is that Iwi / Maori will become the most resource-rich entities outside of the Crown in the Far North and will likely want a say in how decisions are made at local body level. Ngapuhi of course, will also be a major player in local body politics if and when they choose to settle …

ON the other hand, there have been some ugly rumours that some Far North District Council members want to raise forestry land rates by some 500% now that the “Maoris” have gotten their forestry back. I hope that rumour proves to be as unfounded as it is both racist and foolish. The days of a small group of mostly white guys making decisions that impact the lives of everyone in the district (45% of whom are Maori) are over and the sooner that people recognise that reality the better.

On the plus side though, FNDC Mayor Wayne Brown has been surprisingly positive about recognising the new paradigm and his proposal that any new unitary authority should include Iwi / Maori seats, is to be commended. The reality might not end up being quite as affirmative as the proposal suggests, but it beats the Northland Regional Council’s proposal which is to ignore Maori seats completely.

There have been hard times and that will continue, but there have also been positive moves which, if Maori stand together, will likely lead to a better outlook for 2013 and the years ahead.

Enjoy the whanau, enjoy the far north, and a MANA KIRIHIMETE to you all!!!

AE MARIKA is an article written every week by Hone Harawira, leader of the MANA Movement and Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau. You are welcome to use any of the comments and to ascribe them to Mr Harawira. The full range of Hone’s articles can be found on the MANA website at