- On Wednesday the Education (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Amendment Bill was read for a first time in parliament. The bill was voted down by the National, Act and United Future parties (61-59) and will therefore not proceed further. By way of background, this Member’s Bill was initially introduced by Hone Harawira, and then sponsored by Green Party MP Metira Turei, following Mr Harawira’s departure from parliament. The bill sought to amend the Education Act 1989 to provide for the introduction of state-funded breakfast and lunch programmes in designated schools (Pānui 18/2014 refers). Also voted down at its first reading was a similar bill, the Education (Food in Schools) Amendment Bill, which was proposed by David Shearer.
- Yesterday Dame Tariana Turia received an Outstanding Community Services Award, in the 2015 Luther L. Terry Awards for Exemplary Leadership in Tobacco Control. (By way of background the awards, held triennially, are named in honour of the late United States Surgeon General Luther Terry, who led a landmark 1964 report that conclusively connected tobacco use to lung cancer and other illnesses.) Dame Tariana received the award in Abu Dhabi.
- Wakatū Incorporation-owned Aronui Wines has won the trophy for champion Pinot Gris at the Royal Easter Wine Show Awards.
- On Saturday Ngāti Hine signed the ‘E Tu Whānau’ Charter of Commitment. E Tu Whānau provides resources to assist whānau, iwi and rangatahi to live without violence.
- This week the Prime Minister, John Key, is leading a ministerial delegation in Taranaki, with the purpose of meeting with local whānau, hapū, iwi, and Māori organisations to discuss issues that are presenting for them. The hui are part of the Relationship Accord, Te Tatau ki te Paerangi, agreed between the Māori and National parties.
- The Building and Housing Minister, Nick Smith, has announced that legislation will be introduced to allow 33 hectares of the 123 hectare Riccarton Racecourse reserve land to be converted into a housing development. The legislation will provide for Ngāti Tahu to be offered the first right of purchase over the land; as provided for within the Treaty settlement between the Crown and Ngāti Tahu. In effect this proposal will allow Ngāti Tahu to be the developer of the new subdivision.
- This week voting as to whether the Far North District Council should establish dedicated Māori Wards closed. The results were 9,315 votes against the introduction of Māori wards, and 4,309 for the proposal.
- The Minister of Māori Affairs, Te Ururoa Flavell, has been criticised by the Chairperson of Te Pou Matakana, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, for retaining funding for Māori social housing within Te Puni Kōkiri. Te Pou Matakana is the northern Whānau Ora commissioning agency. Mrs Raukawa-Tait is of the view the funding should be directly administered by Te Pou Matakana, as she considers they can perform better than Te Puni Kōkiri in this sector.
- Yesterday Venture Taranaki released a report on the oil and gas industry. The report entitled, ‘The Wealth Beneath Our Feet’, claims the industry is valued at $2.79 billion dollars, with over 11,700 people employed in the sector. Within the report there is a one-page outline of differing Māori perspectives relating to this sector, prepared by Dion Tuuta (refer page 28). The report can be found here: