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General Matters and Māori News for the Week Ending 17 June 2016 (20/2016)

General Matters and Māori News for the Week Ending 17 June 2016 (20/2016)

 

  • Yesterday the Minister for Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell, released Māori me te Ao Hangarau 2015; The Māori ICT Report 2015.   This research report has been produced under the branding of the Government’s Māori economic strategy and Panel, He Kai Kei Aku Ringa.  (Although it reads as if it was prepared by officials for the Panel, rather than by Panelists themselves.)  The report makes the point that there are gaps in Māori uptake of ICT in comparison to others (few Māori working in the sector, lower levels of home internet and broadband, etc).  We will provide a full review in Pānui edition 21/2016 next week.

    http://www.mbie.govt.nz/publications-research/publications/economic-development/maori-ict-report-2015.pdf/view

  • Last week we advised that the Minister for Social Housing, Paula Bennett, was visiting Te Puea Marae to discuss the respite housing support the marae is providing.  This was incorrect – as the Minister later clarified that she was “too busy” to go to the marae itself, but was instead meeting with the marae chairperson, Hurimoana Dennis, at a café.  However, perhaps noting the negative publicly her “too busy” statement caused in the media, and also the visit to the marae by Labour Party Leader Andrew Little, on Monday this week Minister Bennett did manage to adjust her diary and find time to visit the marae itself, where she talked with one person without housing.  As an outcome, some officials will now be located at the marae on occasion, to better assist whānau with housing needs.   After the visit, however, Minister Bennett was then required to call and apologise to Mr Dennis because her office had advised the media that Mr Dennis is a senior police officer who is currently stood down, while being investigated. (Mr Dennis held the role of National Māori Strategic Advisor within the Police.  Last week he disclosed to Minister Bennett that he was being investigated.  The matter being investigated is not public.  Minister Bennett considers the information leakage was inadvertent, although there is some speculation that it was a more deliberate ‘smear’ campaign.)
  • As previously advised, this week the outgoing Mayor of New Plymouth, Andrew Judd, is undertaking a 44-kilometre ‘peace walk’ from New Plymouth to Parihaka, with supporters (starting at circa 300 people).
  • On Wednesday the Minister for Justice, Amy Adams, announced that on the balance of probabilities Teina Pora is innocent of the charges for which he was convicted, and that the Government now accepts that.  She advised that Cabinet has accepted a recommendation from retired High Court Judge Rodney Hansen QC, to provide just over $2.5 million in compensation to Mr Pora, given his wrongful convictions and imprisonment for twenty years.  She also advised that she has written to Mr Pora to acknowledge his innocence and unreservedly apologise to him.

    [By way of background, in 1994 Mr Pora was found guilty of the 1992 rape and murder of Ms Susan Burdett, on the basis of his confessions to the crimes.  However, two years later, in 1996, scientific (DNA) evidence linked Malcolm Rewa to the rape of Ms Burdett.  In 1998 Mr Rewa – who was already a convicted serial rapist – was then found guilty of Ms Burdett’s rape, but not her murder (there was a hung jury on that charge).  Following this, Mr Pora’s case was then reheard, however in 2000 he was again found guilty of the rape and murder of Ms Burdett (i.e. that he was with Mr Rewa).  This conviction ultimately led to the appeal to the Privy Council, which centred on both the reliability of Mr Pora’s confessions – given at age 17 after alleged duress from police officers – and on the fact that another person had already been convicted of the rape.    In 2015 the Privy Council quashed the convictions of Teina Pora.  The Law Lords found that the effects of Pora’s foetal alcohol disorder meant reliance on his confessions gave rise to the risk of a miscarriage of justice.  Mr Pora was released at that time.]

  • Last Thursday the Supreme Court issued its judgements in regards to the March 2014 sale of the Whārere farm by Landcorp to Micro Farms Ltd, against the wishes of Ngāti Whakahemo.  The Supreme Court was unanimous in agreeing with the High Court and Appeal Court that Landcorp – via its board representative Traci Houpapa – did not act in bad faith towards Ngāti Whakahemo.[1]

    However, the Court found (by majority 3-2) that Landcorp’s decision to sell Whārere was susceptible to judicial review, and that the decision of Ministers not to intervene in 2013 to prevent the sale constituted a wrongful exercise of public power – because Ministers relied on incorrect advice from the Office of Treaty Settlements.   Despite that finding, the Court (by majority 3-2) determined not to set aside the Landcorp/Micro sale, as doing so now would inappropriately impact on an innocent third party (Micro).  Given this outcome, a spokesperson for Ngāti Whakahemo, Willie Te Aho, has now indicated the iwi may seek a binding ruling from the Waitangi Tribunal for the resumption of the land.

    [By way of further background, in 2013 Ngāti Whakahemo was interested in purchasing this farm, but at the time the Office of Treaty Settlements considered that all of the iwi’s historic Treaty of Waitangi claims had been extinguished, and therefore advised both Landcorp and shareholding Ministers that the property was not required for Treaty settlement purposes, (effectively allowing the property could be sold on the open market).  The Office of Treaty Settlements now accepts this was erroneous advice.

    Accordingly, Landcorp progressed the tender process to sell the property in late 2013.  At this time another iwi, Ngāti Mākino, begun discussing the possible purchase of Whārere in the course of their Treaty settlement negotiations.  To that end, and because of Ministerial intervention, after the tender closed (with the highest bid being from Micro Farms), Ngāti Mākino was given a circa 10-week window to determine whether they could purchase the property, with a consortium, at the market price.   Ngāti Whakahemo was engaged in these discussions, but not made aware of the final deadline.  Ultimately Ngāti Mākino determined not to pursue the property, and Landcorp thereby resumed the sales process with Micro, which was concluded on 5 March 2014.

    Ngāti Whakahemo, however, was not aware of the sale proceeding until after the fact, and had felt that they were still in negotiations for the property with Landcorp.  Accordingly, they alleged ‘bad faith’ from Landcorp in this regard.  Their various High Court, Appeal Court and Supreme Court claims centred on both the actions of Landcorp, and their view that Landcorp shareholding Ministers had the power to prevent the sale but did not, because of the incorrect advice from the Office of Treaty Settlements.

    https://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/from/decisions/judgments-supreme/supreme-court-decisions-2016

  • On Wednesday the Health Research Council announced the projects, programmes and emerging researchers it would provide grants to from 2016.  Circa $60 million of funding was allocated, and we estimate circa 20% ($11.8 million) was allocated to research focused specifically on Māori.[2]   Māori focused initiatives are summarised in the table below.

Health Research Council – 2016 Funding Grants

Dr Margaret Dudley

University of Auckland

A Māori approach to the assessment and management of dementia

$1,056,270

48 months

Lay summary

  • Dr Lis Ellison-Loschmann

Massey University

Cancer support programmes for Māori whānau

$1,036,429

36 months

Lay summary

 

  • Dr Cameron Lacey

University of Otago, Christchurch

Māori and bipolar disorder

$1,181,030

36 months

Lay summary

 

  • Dr Leonie Pihama

University of Waikato

He oranga ngākau: Māori and trauma informed care

$1,190,130

36 months

Lay summary

 

  • Dr Leonie Pihama

University of Waikato

Honour project Aotearoa

$1,186,804

36 months

Lay summary

 

  • Mr Andrew Waa

University of Otago, Wellington

Te ara auahi kore

$1,189,413

48 months

Lay summary

 

  • Associate Professor Beverley Lawton

University of Otago, Wellington

Whānau manaaki

$4,697,066

60 months

Lay summary

Dr Mihi Ratima

Te Pou Tiringa Incorporated

Te Kura Mai I Tawhiti

$150,000

12 months

Lay summary

 

  • Dr Anneka Anderson

University of Auckland

Māori experiences of antenatal care in Tāmaki Makarau

$149,947

30 months

Lay summary

 



[1] More precisely the Supreme Court found such claims were not sustainable.

[2] Note Māori will, of course, likely benefit from all success research projects.

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