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Salient Māori News Items for the Week to 16 March Edition 8/ 2018

Salient Māori News Items for the Week to 16 March Edition 8/ 2018

  • On Wednesday the sale of plain packaging tobacco products came into force. Plain packaging is a measure introduced under the Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Standardised Packaging) Amendment Act. The potential benefit of plain packaging should be disproportionally positive for Māori.  This is because the smoking rate amongst Māori is double that of the overall population, and tobacco consumption is believed to account for a significant portion of the life expectancy differential between Māori and non-Māori.[1]More than 600 Māori are said to die ‘prematurely’ each year from smoking related illnesses.  Former Associate Minister for Health, Tariana Turia, should rightly be acknowledged as a driving force behind this legislative change now coming into effect.
  • [1] Ministry of Health research
  • A petition by Renae Maihi asking the Prime Minister to strip Sir Robert Jones of his Knighthood on the basis of alleged inflammatory comments made about Māori has now reached 66,000 people in support. Ms Maihi and her supporters plan to present the petition to Labour MP Kiritapu Allan at Parliament on Tuesday 27th March 2018.  (Note if a petition is formally received at Parliament by a Member of Parliament, then it can be announced to the House, and sent to a Select Committee for formal reporting on.  Having Ms Allan indicate she will do this means it is likely the matter will go further.)   There is a challenge of course, in removing Knighthoods, as that is not something any New Zealand Government has done before – and at present the Government (like the last one) is taking a long time to respond to a request to rescind the Knighthood bestowed upon Sir Ngatata Love for Services to Māori; (given the High Court has found he committed fraudulent activities against his iwi.)  In this context, Ms Maihi’s petition essentially places perceived offences against Māori on a continuum, and could actually make the current considerations regarding Sir Ngatata more challenging.  The petition can be seen here:

https://www.change.org/p/rt-hon-jacinda-ardern-strip-racist-sir-bob-jones-of-his-knighthood-read-his-vile-rant-here.

  • Last weekend the inaugural national commemoration of the New Zealand Wars, He Rā Maumahara, was held in the Bay of Islands.
  • Last week an Environment Court hearing between Maungaharuru-Tangitu Trust and the Hastings District Council was held. The hearing was regarding the Hastings District Council’s decision to grant resource consent on costal land considered to be wahi taonga, and is required as direct discussions and mediation on the matter have both failed.
  • The Iwi Chairs’ Forum are holding a climate change summit in Wellington on March 24 and 25.

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