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Periodic Tenancy Reviews of Public Housing Tenants
- Last Thursday the Minister of Housing, Phil Twyford, announced that periodic tenancy reviews of public housing tenants would be paused (until the end of June), while the Minister considers whether the groups of tenants exempt from the process should be widened. Tenancy reviews determine whether a person or family still require public housing and whether the public house they are in meets their current needs. The pause is likely to have an impact on the 36% Māori public housing tenants, 44% Māori on the public housing register, or Māori awaiting transfer to a more suitable dwelling.
- The Electoral Commission commenced the Māori Electoral Option campaign this week. The campaign encourages Māori who are registered on the electoral roll to choose the option to be on the Māori roll, or to stay on the General roll (but to make a conscious choice) for the next two General Elections. The number of Māori on the Māori electoral roll determines the number of Māori representative seats in Parliament, so the campaign is an important contribution to that.
- Te Wānanga o Aotearoa have developed two social media applications Including a 3D tiki filter on Snapchat, and the kirituhi camera effect on Facebook. The apps which have had mixed responses (positive and negative) from tikanga and cultural commentators are targeted at rangatahi/ youth.
- Last week Saul Roberts was sentenced to eight months home detention and ordered to pay reparations of circa $165,000 for taking a bribe of $45,000 in 2009 – in return for withdrawing a submission from his iwi around a district plan change. Mr Roberts has also admitted taking financial ‘kickbacks’ of $160,000 from his former employment at Te Roopu Taurima O Manukau Trust, a Māori disability provider.
- Last week MBIE released a report on Public Engagement with Science and Technology. The report provides a summary of findings from a 2017 science and technology survey. Of the 3,300 survey respondents:
- 42% agreed that Mātauranga Māori has a role in science;
- 51% agreed that Māori involvement in leadership in science and technology is important in New Zealand; and
- 48% are interested in learning about how Mātauranga Māori relates to science.
 Under the existing criteria public housing tenants are exempt from periodic tenancy reviews are: (i) 75 years and older; (ii) people whose house is modified for their needs such as wheelchair access; (iii) households working with a Children’s Team in the Ministry for Children Oranga Tamariki; and (iv) those with an agreed lifetime tenure with Housing New Zealand.
Appointments and Awards
- Kingi Kiriona (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Apa) has been appointed to the Māori Television board.
- The Department of Conservation re-opened the nomination process for 45 Conservation Board members. This follows a statement by Minister Eugenie Sage, that the boards need to reflect the diverse communities they service. (I.e. clearly the Minister is seeking greater gender and ethnic diversity on these boards.) Nominations now close on 14 April. See link below.
- Miro Limited Partnership (which is a grouping of Māori land trusts) has entered into a joint venture with Plant and Food Research to breed new high value berry varieties, such as blueberries. The new berries will be grown, harvested, and sold by Miro, with support from BerryCo NZ. To do this Miro landowners plan to develop circa 20 hectares of orchards over the next 12 months, where the berries will be grown in tunnel houses.
- Next month ‘The Moko Foundation’ will send a delegation of 12 rangatahi (youth) to New York to attend a United Nations Indigenous forum, focused on collective rights to lands, territories and resources. Dr Lance O’ Sullivan is the founder of the foundation, and will be a guest speaker at the forum.
- This week the Minister for Crown/Māori Relations, Kelvin Davis, publicly announced a series of public hui will be held to receive input onto the proposed scope of his portfolio. Subscribers will recall last week’s Pānui provided a detailed briefing on this matter, including the proposal to Cabinet to filter all major Crown/Māori interactions through this new office (within the Ministry of Justice). Pānui 8/2018 provides details. The consultation hui schedule is provided below, and interested parties are encouraged to RSVP to:
|Location||Day and Date||Venue|
|Kaitaia||Sat 7 April, 8.30am||Kaitaia College, Redan Rd, Kaitaia|
|Whangarei||Sun 8 April, 11.00am||Terenga Paraoa Marae, 10 Porowini Ave, Morningside, Whangarei|
|Nelson||Sat 14 April, 10.30am||Tahuna Function Centre, 70 Beach Rd, Tahunanui, Nelson|
|Christchurch||Sun 15 April, 11.30am||Ngā hau e wha Marae, 250 Pages Rd, Aranui, Christchurch|
|Gisborne||Sat 21 April, 10.00am||Manutuke Marae, 73A Whakato Rd, Manutuke 4072|
|Hastings||Sun 22 April, 10.00am||Omahu Marae, 1857 State Highway 50, Fernhill, Hastings|
|Thames||Sat 28 April, 3.00pm||Mataiwhetu Marae, 12 Ngati Maru Highway, Kopu|
|Hamilton||Sat 28 April||(time and location to be confirmed)|
|Rotorua||Sun 29 April, 11.00am||Te Papaiouru Marae, Mataiawhea Street, Ohinemutu|
|Whanganui||Fri 4 May, 2.00pm||Whanganui Function Centre, 19 Purnell st, Whanganui|
|New Plymouth||Sat 5 May, 11.00am||Owae Marae (Manukorihi Pa), 16 North Street, Waitara|
|Auckland||Sun 6 May, 10am||Nga Whare Wātea, 31 Calthorp Cl, Favona, Auckland|
|Wellington||Thurs 10 May, 4.30pm||Nau mai room, Te Puni Kōkiri, 143 Lambton Quay|
|Invercargill||Sat 12 May, 9.30am||Murihiku Marae, 408 Tramway Rd, Heidelberg, Invercargill|
- 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.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.
-  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:
- 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.
Tuaropaki Trust has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Obayashi Corporation (a Japanese company) to pilot the use of geothermal power as an energy source to make hydrogen.
The Ministry of Education has today released Iwi Education Profiles. We will review these next week, but note that with the release the Associate Minister of Education, Kelvin Davis, has indicated that he sees room to improve information being supplied to iwi. (I.e. on the one hand he is positively releasing the data and saying it will be of some use to iwi, and on the other hand stating that it relates to the previous administration and better work can be done in future.)
This week Te Mātāwai opened an online Māori language survey, called He Reo Ora. A focus of He Ora Reo is to better understand current Māori language activities and resources available. The survey closes 6 April: it can be completed here:
Salient Māori News Items for the Week to 23 February 2018
- New Zealander of the Year Awards were held last night; two Māori were honoured:
- Kim Workman (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Rangitāne), Senior New Zealander of the Year, for public advocacy, policy and research focused on justice sector reforms [E te karanga pāpā, ka nui te mihi ki a koe nā tō whanau]; and
- Ricky Houghton (Te Paatu, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Whātua) New Zealand Local Hero of the Year for housing relief and support initiatives for communities in the Far North.
- Whetu Fala and Te Rau Kupenga have been appointed to the Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision Board.
- Ōnuku Māori Lands Trust (Rotorua) and the Māwhera Incorporation have been announced as the finalists for this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy (which has a dairy sector focus).
- Māori Party members elected Che Wilson as the party’s new president; and Te Ururoa Flavell and Kapua Smith were elected co-vice presidents. No new party leader has been named as yet.
- Bill English has resigned as the leader of the National Party, sparking a leadership race. In addition, the National Party has decided to vote on the position of Deputy Leader (currently held by Hon Paula Bennett). Simon Bridges (Ngāti Maniapoto) has announced his candidacy for the position of leader, along with four other contenders. He joins other Mārama Davidson of the Green Party as another Māori MP with leadership aspirations.
- Applications for the Ministry of Health Hauora Māori Scholarships 2018 are now open. This year 520 scholarships across 11 categories will be awarded. Scholarship applications close 28 March 2018. https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/populations/maori-health/hauora-maori-scholarships-2018/scholarship-categories
- Statistics New Zealand has released a survey on cultural participation, with interesting results, such as data showing wide spread use of Māori words and phrases by both Māori and non-Māori. (71% of Māori reportedly use Te Reo words every week.) We will provide a fuller brief on this item next week. https://www.stats.govt.nz/reports/kiwis-participation-in-cultural-and-recreational-activities
- A petition by Renae Maihi asking the Prime Minister to strip Sir Robert Jones of his Knighthood on the basis of inflammatory comments made about Māori earlier this month has now reached 58,000 people in support. (Pānui 3/2018 provides details on this matter.) 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
- Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated have launched a low priced funeral package for Iwi members through an agreement with Simplicity Bereavement Services, Hastings. The package is designed to reduce the financial burden of funerals for registered iwi members.
 Underlining added.
Parliamentary Items of Note
- On Wednesday the Minister for Education, Chris Hipkins, announced an overhaul of the education system, commencing with a three-year work plan for change. One of the ten main components is a continuous focus on raising Māori learner achievements. The associated Cabinet paper indicates:
- “there has been significant growth in early learning participation, particularly for Māori, Pasifika and children from lower socio-economic communities. However, participation rates don’t automatically equate to regular attendance, progress or achievement, nor do they take into account the quality of learning opportunities available to children;
- In English medium schooling, Māori and Pasifika children have poorer educational outcomes than their peers. Research has confirmed that teacher unconscious bias and low expectations are significant issues in New Zealand for Māori and Pasifika children and young people, and that this has an ongoing negative impact.
- In Māori medium schooling, Māori children and young people are experiencing educational success as Māori. However this pathway requires strengthening to address significant teacher workforce limitations, retention and capacity issues.”
(We intend to provide a focused review of Māori education in the coming months, and will further draw upon this policy work for that.)
- Last week the Child Poverty Reduction Bill was read for a first time in Parliament, refer to the article above for details.
- This week the Families Commission Act Repeal Bill was read for a first time and referred onto the Social Services and Community Select Committee. This bill, if enacted, will disestablish the Commission (operating as Superu), with its functions mainly shifting to the Ministry of Social Development. Subscribers may recall that over the last few years this Commission has delved into whānau wellbeing research, and last year ultimately concluded its work with the enlightening (sic) statement that:
“supporting and strengthening whānau wellbeing requires a multifaceted approach that includes social and human resource potential factors, as well as economic factors.”
(We described this work as well-meaning but odd-ball stuff; hence we are not completely surprised to see the beginnings of the end for this agency, refer Pānui 12/2017 for the research details).
Today applications open for the Māori digital technology fund, Ka Hao, (formally called the Māori ICT Development Fund). The funding is focused on creating high value employment and business ventures for Māori within the digital (information technology) sector. Use the link below for application information, and note the three current funding priorities are:
- Improving digital skills and pathways for Māori in digital technologies;
- Growing digital technologies businesses; and
- Enhancing new Māori language and culture initiatives through digital technologies.
- The Auckland iwi Te Kawerau a Maki and the Auckland Council seem to be at loggerheads over whether a rāhui to protect kauri trees within the Waitakere Ngāhere should be for the whole forest (iwi viewpoint) or particular areas/tracks (council view). The situation was not helped this week with a council economic agency promoting a Waitangi day walk on a track that was clearly prohibited in order to protect the trees. An apology was issued.
- The Ministry of Primary Industries is consulting on five proposed bylaws to protect freshwater fish species within 13 Rotorua lakes. If enacted the new regulations would protect tuna, īnanga, kākahi, kōaro, kōura and mōrihana, under the Mahire Whakahaere Fisheries Management Plan. Proposed protections include closure of kōaro (meaning no further catches), return of accidentally caught fish of all five specifies, restrictions on harvesting, a ban on scuba gear use, and for Te Arawa to have access to fish species for cultural and customary use. Consultation closes 16 March.
- A grouping of Māori land trusts in the Bay of Plenty are looking to establish a milk processing plant in Kawerau, in partnership with Imanaka (a Japanese company). The plant will be built on land owned by Putauaki Trust, and supplied with geothermal energy from Ngāti Tūwharetoa Geothermal Assets. Imanaka will have a one-third shareholding via a subsidiary, Cedenco.
- Green Party Member of Parliament, Marama Davidson, has confirmed she is seeking election as Party Co-leader.
- Sir Robert Jones has written an opinion piece for the National Business Review mocking Waitangi Day, and Māori. He calls for Māori to provide a day of gratitude to non-Māori, by washing cars and the like, apparently because he considers there are no ‘full-blooded Māori’. The item was deliberately inflammatory, and Sir Robert has received the (presumably) desired reaction of disdain and condemnation. Our only comment regards the National Business Review – why it thought such a column was appropriate for a reputable business magazine is as yet unexplained, although we suspect they will have some explaining to do to the Race Relations Office in the near future, as complaints about the article present.
[Note we will add Sir Robert as a contender for our ūpoko-kumara award, to be announced at Mātāriki. Other contenders we have identified so far include Sir William Gallagher, Professor Paul Moon, and Dr Don Brash, although for clarity eligibility is not restricted to older white males].
 Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).
 Note eligibility for this award is open to all, not just older white males.
- Pauline Waiti is one of seven people appointed by the Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, to review the NCEA system.
- Tui Ruwhiu, from the Directors and Editors Guild has been appointed to the Film Industry Working Group. This group will be reviewing worker’s rights in the film production industry (most film production workers are presently considered ‘independent contractors’ not employees, hence the review).
- Erina Tamepo, from Ngā Aho Whakaari has also been appointed to the Film Industry Working Group.
Parliament resumed for the calendar year this week. Some items of note were:
- On Wednesday the Child Poverty Reduction Bill was introduced to Parliament (see article above.)
- On Tuesday the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill was read a first time and referred to the Health Committee. This is a Labour Party bill that proposes amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act, allowing terminally ill people to use cannabis-based products, and to legalize and regulate medical cannabidiol (CBD) products. A supplementary Green Party Bill introduced on Wednesday that sought to allow people suffering from a debilitating condition to use cannabis if supported by a registered medical practitioner failed at its first reading, and will not be considered further. (I.e. the Labour Party bill is centered on developing and regulating cannabis-based medicine, the Green Party bill had been centered on allowing usage of cannabis (quality and quantity unknown) by anyone with a medical certificate. We have included the issue here given the Māori population has a high cannabis usage rate. (The New Zealand Health Survey indicates up to 25% of Māori adults used cannabis at least once within a twelve month period.)
- On Tuesday the Employment Relations Amendment Bill was introduced. According to the Government the purpose of the bill is to “restore key minimum standards and protections for employees, and to implement a suite of changes to promote and strengthen collective bargaining and union rights in the workplace.” Pānui edition 1/2018 advised many of the changes proposed will support low income workers, and Māori are over-represented in that area. e. one-in-five Māori (circa 50,000) are in ‘low skilled occupations’, such as labourers.
- On Tuesday the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill was read a first time and referred to the Justice Committee. This bill aims to prevent a person from remaining in Parliament if they leave the Party in which they stood for. We note National’s Māori Development spokesperson Nuk Korako, has advised he considers this ‘waka jumping bill’ to be bad for Māori representation, and Māori MPs have a duty not just to their party, but also to act in the best interests of Māori, and this bill could prevent that.
Last year a round of debates started on the value and place of the Māori language in New Zealand, particularly after the widespread use by mainstream media of Māori language words and phrases during Māori language week in September. (For example the weather map on Television One was shown with Māori place names). The debate reached a low point in early December, with Don Brash stating that Te Reo had no place in mainstream media, and was of no interest to most people, and Māori should essentially go away and speak Te Reo on their own. Following on from that, this month Professor Paul Moon from Auckland University of Technology released a book that is said to claim, amongst other things, that compulsory Māori language in schools will negatively affect the language: and then the Leader of the Opposition, Bill English, was reported as saying “you can’t rely on a Government and a bureaucracy to save someone else’s language”. For each of these items a peer rebuke has been issued: Kim Hill taking on Don Brash, Professor Pou Temara and also Hēmi Kelly taking on Professor Moon, and former Māori Party candidate Rāhui Papa taking on Bill English.
Accordingly, later this month we will provide an extended and specific briefing on the nature of these types of Māori language debates, and on the actual health of the Māori language. First, however, our assessment of these three individual (white males) comments is as follows.
- Don Brash is now the leader of ‘Hobson’s Choice’ – a lobby group that believes Māori are being given unwarranted group rights in New Zealand, and that should be stopped. In our view Mr Brash’s comments on Te Reo present as ideologically inconsistent with his core political views – i.e. his focus solely on acknowledging individual rights should mean people can speak Māori wherever and whenever they please, as their individual right should not be suppressed by the group demands of others (i.e. the people like him who ‘don’t want to hear’ Te Reo). Given Mr Brash is highly articulate and well educated he is most likely to be aware of this inconsistency. Accordingly, perhaps he has tapped into the Te Reo debate primarily as a means to extend his audience and promote his lobbying entity and its causes; which at present is focused on seeking to have any local government decisions to have a Māori ward overturned. (They are campaigning in Whakatāne presently.) The 2 December Radio NZ debate between Mr Brash and Ms Hill however is a firey exchange worth listening to (in part at least) particularly given its polite yet impolite format.
- Professor Moon is a professor of history and not an academic in areas such as linguistics, socio-linguistics, or language revitalisation theory. Nor is he proficient in Te Reo, so his (lack of) creditability to publish in this area is noteworthy. His newly released book is called Killing Te Reo Māori: An Indigenous Language Facing Extinction, and has now been reviewed by Hēmi Kelly, a Te Reo educator at the same university. Mr Kelly essentially finds Professor Moon’s work to inflate the negatives in language learning and revitalisation, ignoring the positives, and fundamentally wrong in its conclusions around Te Reo being more at risk than previously. In our view Professor Moon’s press release extracts used to promote this work are strongly worded negative statements, without academic research in support, and thus present as designed solely to attract attention and facilitate book sales. We would recommend people read both the blurb and the review by Mr Kelly before purchasing this item. Mr Kelly’s comments are freely available here:
- Whilst we opine that Mr Brash and Professor Moon are, at least to a degree, deliberately seeking media sensationalism around Te Reo for their own personal causes, Mr English’s comments appear to be of a different ilk. What he actually said was more comprehensive than people may have grasped, namely:
“the Government has some obligations through the Treaty. It’s met them in my view. We’ve spent a lot of money on TV, on resources for schools and so on. Probably a bit more can be done with resources for schools and teachers, but in the end it needs people who want to speak it … the owners of it need to speak it and that is people in their households. You can’t rely on a Government and a bureaucracy to save someone else’s language”.
- In this statement, we consider Mr English has got it right in stating that Government is doing the type of activities it should to support the Māori language – although he missed out that many services (such as Māori radio and television) arose out of obligation, not care, and often developed off the back of litigation and protest by Māori. He has also downplayed the quality (or not) of service implementation by Government. Is it possible some services are weak, e.g. is there sufficient Māori language teacher training available? These are shortcomings, but his basic message that the Government is undertaking a reasonable range of action to support Te Reo Māori is correct, as is his thinking that Māori people speaking more Te Reo is essential too. But where Mr English erred gravely was with the three word phrase “someone else’s language” – as if Māori are not part of real New Zealand society, or included in Government processes. That was a mistake, but we suspect simply ‘poor English by English’ (sic) rather than a political statement against the Māori language, as it has subsequently been portrayed.
Overall we note this type of dialogue is occurring on a regular basis in the mainstream media now, and it gives rise to some obvious policy questions, such as: (a) what is the actual health of the Māori language – is it okay or not; and (b) are the right interventions to enhance Te Reo in place, and do they work? As advised, we are undertaking a detailed assessment on these matters which will be provided later this month.
[Subscribers should also note we consider there is an ongoing confusion around Māori language words and phrases within English – i.e. should all schools teach some Te Reo to ensure improved pronunciation and better Māori cultural knowledge, versus increasing the use of Te Reo as the primary means of communication within Māori whānau households and communities. This means media commentators are quite often talking about two quite different concepts within this debate, which adds some confusion.]
 Subscribers will note we only review material freely available in the public domain so that sources can be reviewed directly.