Wednesday, 23 November 2011

D Thompson: A suggestion for the Maori Party...

By D Thompson.

I have a suggestion to make - as someone who is not on the Maori roll but is an interested bystander ... 

1.  In 2008 the Maori MPs asked their people whether they should have  an understanding with the National Party, who had won the 2008 election.  Te Ururoa had stated on several occasions that "something  was better than nothing" i.e. this was a compromise but it was  important to be able to get SOME things accomplished, rather than nothing.

This morning I heard Hone Harawira on the radio (being interviewed)  and he implied that the Maori Party were not being true to their  original principles (but he was), that they had worked against Maori  interests by aligning themselves with National - and he mentioned  "principles" and, ironically, "compromise". But this seems contrary to what many of us believe represents "compromise"... and Hone Harawira seems to forget several important items,  including (#2., 3., and 4.).

2.  ACT PARTY - there have been several ACT ads.  One (presumably put  together by John Ansell) showed that the Maori Party have made several  gains important to Maori.  Which Ansell/Brash didn't approve of.(Sorry don't have a copy, electronic or otherwise).

3.  CONSERVATIVE PARTY - In my letterbox today is another flyer by Colin Craig of the Conservative Party, which has 'unity' as a theme.
And is against:
a) Maori seats - wants one electoral system - says National shouldn't be maintaining Maori seats
b) allowing selected iwi to gain control of the Foreshore and Seabed - against National passing the 2011 act renouncing crown ownership
c) National arranging to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of  Indigenous Peoples in secret and without any mandate from the people

4.  NZ is a democracy - rather than autocracy.  There are currently 120 MPs - including 50 list MPs.  For a Bill to become an Act it needs  a majority of MPs to vote for it to become legislation.  Yet Hone  Harawira has said there are only 21 MPs.  Many of whom are MPs for  different parties.  It seems that it wasn't until Sue Bradford and  John Minto became part of the Mana Party that Hone Harawira has  moderated his (seeming) Maori focus - to now include 'the poor'.

Given that we all live in 'the real world', why are so many Maori  choosing to believe that what Hone Harawira and Annette Sykes are  saying is achievable?

Maori represent less than 20% of NZ residents i.e. those who are able  to vote.  Many Maori are not on the electoral roll.  Probably some because debt collectors such as Baycorp use the electoral roll to track people down. There are multitudes of Chinese and Indians in the world - both are ancient civilisations.  Pākeha in NZ may themselves be outnumbered in NZ by other ethnicities by 2025.  Times have changed. So in a logistical and practical sense, the Mana Party doesn't make sense. I think they are offering many Maori false hope.  At least the Maori  Party is prepared to truly compromise.  I'm surprised that so many  Maori locally just don't seem 'to get it'.  Or maybe choose not to.

John Key said to Phil Goff "show me the money".  I think Hone Harawira  and Annette Sykes should be made to show Maori HOW their policies  would work - taking in the 'big picture' i.e.
a) how they will get a  majority of MPs voting for their Bill or policy and
b) how they can  provide breakfast and lunches to 'children in need' when many parents  are struggling but ensure their children have breakfast and a lunch

Do children have to compete with each other for a free breakfast or lunch? What about the proud ones?  Who is expected to enforce that some children will get free food and others will not?  Or will ALL children  in a low decile school get a free breakfast and lunch?  What about  children at other schools?  Will they become aware of that and mock  children at low decile schools?  Children can be harsh.

I don't think that the Mana Party, although possibly well intentioned,  have thought through some of what they are saying. I also think they are offering false hope to many.  And what of those who are already extremely stressed?  How will they feel if they have  assisted in the Mana campaign and belatedly discover that, ultimately, they are no better off?  Is that fair?

So I think the Maori Party could do a TV ad flicking a scanned copy of  the ACT ad - think it was in the NZ Herald? - and the Conservative  Party ad just out and could say that two other parties have noticed  that the Maori Party have made some gains.  To make gains you have to  sit at the top table.  You might not like everything that happens, but you get to say what you want. And you compromise.  That's necessary in any successful relationship -  politics, working life and personal relationships.  The Maori Party  still has principles. A possible analogy might be that in 1860 the young bloods of Tainui  went to Taranaki to fight against the loss of Maori land.  The NZ govt  passed an act (think in 1863?) and in 1863 Tainui fought against the  NZ army and lost much of the fertile Waikato land.  It might have been  different if handled differently.  Maybe not.

If the Maori Party get (say) 4 or 5 seats (hopefully more) then they  may be the power broker in the 2011 election - which may be a closer  race than currently thought.  The Maori voters could ensure that.

Perhaps they should think about what has been gained - and how important it is to have some power - rather than being in a position where you are too radical for either large party to be prepared to work with you as you're too volatile and they don't trust you.

Just a suggestion ...

Monday, 21 November 2011

Eugene Carnachan: Doctor Sharples & Whare Oranga Ake

By Eugene Carnachan

In the run up to the election campaign Maori Party co-leader and associate minister of Maori affairs, associate Minister of Education and Corrections is calling for a review of our entire justice system.

Doctor Sharples wants to see a "restructure of the Justice system upon the basis of the Treaty of Waitangi and the foundation of partnership".

Doctor Sharples has an initimate knowledge of our prison system having in the 1970s-80s taught Kapa Haka to inmates in some of the countries toughest prisons.

It is in this time Doctor Sharples identified the pathways that lead Maori in to the prison system; Whanau breakdown, petty crime, borstals, adult judicial jurisdiciton, prison.

A pathway that has unfortunately wreaked havoc on Maori communities New Zealand over a pathway that for many leads to becoming institutionalized whereby prison is the place they feel most comfortable in life.

Everyone has heard the often cited statistics of Maori comprising half of New Zealand's eight thousand seven hundred and fifty five (8755) prisoners (2011).

It is obvious something has to be done.

Doctor Sharples cites that "the mainstream model isn't working in reducing the numbers of Maori within our prison system or we wouldn't be building more to house a growing prison population".

Doctor Sharples wants change so that Maori can be contributors at all levels of New Zealand's judicial framework so that the tenets of partnership based on the Treaty of Waitangi are part of the system that contributes to reducing Maori numbers within our prisons.

This year Doctor Sharples gained some traction in Tikanga Maori becoming a party of the solution when he oversaw the opening of 'Whare Oranga Ake' two Maori focus units at Spring Hill prison, Waikato and Hawkes Bay prison.

In the Whare Oranga Ake Maori focus unit's prisoners are supported by community providers and local Maori in reconnecting with their culture, identity and community.

Central to the kaupapa of Whare Oranga Ake programme focuses are -
  • Employment
  • Education and training
  • Accommodation
  • Reconnecting with iwi/hapu and community
Whare Oranga Ake has Maori involvement at all levels of governance in helping prisoners acquire the skills for successful transition in to mainstream society.

Doctor Sharples knows from his years as a social advocate that if you can get people out of the prison system it is a win-win situation.

If prisoners can be successfully rehabilitated and transitioned in to broader society they can begin to plan a life as constructive members of their whanau and broader society and that is vitally important in stopping the pathways that lead to prison.

Tax paying New Zealanders win in that they don't have to foot the one hundred thousand ($100,000) a year it costs to keep a prisoner incarcerated, a cost that further blows out when the social and financial cost to victims, policing and courts are taken in to account.

There are real upsides in reducing our prison population and Doctor Sharples knows it.

Broader to Doctor Sharples work with corrections he is too acutely aware that reducing prison numbers is much broader than working with prisoners and the roll out of Whanau Ora "restoring the essence of who we are - putting the vibrant traditions of our people at the heart of our whanau" is pivotal at the top of the cliff.

Doctor Sharples a long time advocate of Whanau, Hapu, Iwi, Community and his co-leader of the Maori Party Tariana Turia being the cheif architect of Whanau Ora understands that to ultimately arrest the flow of Maori in to prison it is all about strengthening that which is central to being Maori - whanau.

However Doctor Sharples is unwilling to give up on those who have fallen through the cracks and his conviction to rehabilitation and reintegration through being a part of the solution remains core to fixing the problem of our growing prison population.

TeRata Rangi Hikairo: Vote for Whanau, Vote for tikanga. Vote for YOU... Vote Maori Party

By TeRata Rangi Hikairo

I was raised in a strong whanau where we did EVERYTHING we could to get along and also to make sure that those around us could. I grew up knowing that if I needed something that my whanau may not easily provide, my community could show me how to access it. I grew up with a love of my education and knew that one day it would make me better. I grew up rurally and knew how awesome it was that I could get fruit off trees and vegies out of the ground.
I also had whanau who treated prison like a revolving door, going in and out, in fact spending more time in prison than out.
I also grew up annoyed at different people NOT pronouncing my name correctly and not properly acknowledging the tikanga that I was raised with.
My heart ached when I heard more and more of how my people weren't getting a fair run and legislation after legislation, government after government, things just got worse and although we as a people we're trying, things weren't working out.

In 2008, that all changed.

It was my first election and I knew that I could have a say and so I did. I gave two ticks to the Maori Party and its candidate in my electorate.
The best part about that was that it meant something and actually made a difference.
Whanau Ora was implemented to put whanau in charge of whanau.
Kaitoko Whanau helped whanau to access the resources they needed to get through.
Reading programs have uplifted literacy rates of the most vulnerable tamariki.
Maara Kai is what's given marae and whanau a chance to feed themselves, they whay we always have.
And then Whare Oranga Ake were opened to help rehabilitate prisoners so that they become better people and help their community.
On top of this Tataiako is being rolled out to make sure that te reo me ona tikanga are upheld in the schools where most of our kids are.

I was proud to give my vote to the Maori Party because I KNOW what it's done.... now with a full review of th Justice System, a tikanga-based overhaul of ALL government departments and a review of our nations constitution... it's again an easy choice as to where my votes go this time around.

Vote for whanau, vote for tikanga.
Vote for YOU... Vote Maori Party.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Grant Potae: Preying on the ignorant

With the increase of online Maori participation, comes the increase of predatory behaviour by certain members of our community. And I’m not talking about the usual suspects; scammers, fraudsters etc. I’m talking bloggers. Bloggers who have nothing to lose and are out to manipulate perception so that our people are brainwashed into thinking a certain way about certain people, parties or kaupapa. It is manipulation at its finest, and it goes against Tino Rangatiratanga. Waihoroi explained it best, “if you keep telling a lie over and over again, one day it will become the truth.”
So when you keep saying that Te Whanau a Apanui can’t stand the Maori Party, then eventually, people will believe that Te Whanau a Apanui can’t stand the Maori Party. Nevermind that Te Whanau a Apanui have a voice of their own and a mind of their own. Nevermind that speaking on behalf of Te Whanau a Apanui, when you have no links whatsoever, diminishes their rangatiratanga. Or releases like ‘Maori Party ignores the Maori Women’s Welfare League’.  As I see this release move from one online community to another and readers looking over it without actually reading it properly, the title becomes reality and our whanau actually believe that the Maori Party does not support the Maori Women’s Welfare League.
Preying on the ignorant is what they do. Publishing lies to deceive our people out of following a certain kaupapa. I remember coming across a blog about the Mataatua Whare opening and how Te Ururoa was there all alone, walking aimlessly around as if he was lost and out of touch with the people and their goings-on. Well, having been a part of the opening, and having spent the whole morning and mid-afternoon watching the festivities I am at clear odds to what the blog is trying to portray. Let’s just say, it was the complete opposite, and who the blogger is; nobody knows. But that’s quite typical of the predator blogger. They all fit the same description. No links to their ahi-ka, disconnected, nothing to lose. That’s why it so easy for them to tell lies. They do not have a hapu’s reputation to uphold. They do not spend every tangihanga helping in the kitchen at their marae to be fully aware of how the people think and who they are.
My advice; trust the one who says nothing, they’re probably the one’s who are too busy getting the work done.

Davina Murray: Maori Party Policy – RETURN TO PREFERRED LAWYER

 By Davina Murray, Maori Party List Candidate

Returning to the system that worked – “Choosing your own lawyer” is paramount in ensuring that justice occurs and is maintained.

How it works on the ground
When someone is arrested, they are given the option to pay for their own criminal defence lawyer, or make an application for legal aid. The person allegedly charged, who cannot afford to instruct their own private lawyer must fulfill certain criteria before an automatic grant of legal aid is awarded. The grant of legal aid is balanced on the seriousness of the alleged offending (will they go to jail) and the defendant’s financial circumstances. When and if legal aid is approved, historically the defendant could choose any criminal legal aid approved lawyer. However the National government passed legislation this year to removing the right of choosing what lawyer the defendant can choose. It is now a lucky dip situation – you get who you get.

The first issue with this is the approved legal aid defendant, does not have access to the lawyer they choose at the point of arrest. The system prevents this from happening, because their application for legal aid is not submitted until their first appearance in court. This means, that they then have to return to court again, when their legal aid has been approved or not. It is fair to say this clogs up the court system. Furthermore, it is a fundamental human right to be able to get legal advice when being arrested. Of course, a list of lawyers are presented at arrest to the alleged offender however this is insufficient as the continuity of relationship between an alleged offender and their criminal defence lawyer is critical when a person is taken into custody by the police.

50%  of all legal aid assignments go to the PUBLIC DEFENCE SERVICE and the remaining 50% go to Criminal Barristers approved to do legal aid assignments
The new legislation ensures 50% of legal aid assignments go automatically go to the Public Defence Service “(PDS”). The PDS is a government run firm which employs lawyers to represent those charged with criminal offences. The PDS offices are located near all criminal courts, and more PDS offices been rolled out this year to the minor centres. The result of which is the State prosecuting the defendant and the State defending the defendant. This isn’t right. Nor is the discrepancies in salaries. State prosecutors get paid more that State defence lawyers. So, it is arguable to draw the conclusion, based on the disparity between the salaries, that the commitment of this government is not a fair justice system. Of course, the justification for this is that “it is more cost effective” to have 50% of the legal aid assignments go to the PDS.

The remaining 50% of legal aid clients, go through what is known as a rotational system – in essence, this means the legal aid client gets whatever lawyer is “at the top of the rotating list”. This, at first glance seems to be a fair way to distribute the work to the criminal legal aid providers.  But it doesn’t work. First and foremost, there are many senior lawyers, expert criminal barristers, that cannot afford to continue practicing in the criminal jurisdiction because in many cases, their work loads have decreased substantially. If this system continues, the risk is “brain drain”. Many senior and experienced criminal barristers will simply stop practicing in criminal law and move into other areas of law – so they can make ends meet.

But what about the defendants? Some would say, “Well, why should the State pay for those alleged defendants to have a lawyer anyway?”. Fair question, however in many situations, the defendant ends up paying the State back for their lawyers costs so in essence, legal aid is a means to and end – to ensure that justice is served and to do that, legal representation is required. As it is commonly known, there are no free lunches. There are numerous examples where the alleged offender can not speak English, yet the lawyer at the top of the list is an English speaker. To resolve this matter, the court hearings are again adjourned, the matter sent back to the ministry of justice, who then re-assign a lawyer who can speak that language and then the alleged offender is brought back to court. The alternative remedy is to appoint a court interpreter, again at the State’s expense, but that is insufficient for the lawyer and their client, as that court interpreter is not paid to attend meetings and discuss the case. So what happens here? The lawyer submits another application (known as an amendment to grant) to get approval for an interpreter to attend meetings between the alleged offender and the criminal legal aid approved lawyer, and when and if this application is approved, then the meetings can commence. Surely, the reasonable man can see the wisdom in the alleged offender choosing a lawyer who can speak their own language at the point their legal aid application is approved. Yet, we are told, this system saves the tax payer money. I am of the view that an independent audit is required of these proposed cost savings and it must be balanced against our need for an legal system that upholds justice and has integrity.

The way forward is to Party Vote - Maori Party
The Maori Party will repeal this legislation and will ensure that anyone eligible for a grant of criminal legal aid will be able to choose their own lawyer. This choice is a fundamental right and is consistent with basic human rights. Most importantly it will reduce the risk of loosing many experienced criminal barristers from the criminal bar and will ensure that all kiwis have access to a lawyer with the requisite legal experience.

The Maori Party Justice Policies are not broad statements ensuring “justice for all”. The Maori Party is pragmatic and is committed to implementing legislative change that will make a difference and ensure all New Zealander’s rights and access to justice are upheld.

Authorised by Fiona Rore, 4 Nikau Place, Murupara

Na Raihania: My thoughts....

By Na Raihania, Candidate for Ikaroa Rawhiti
So here we are in the last week of the campaign. Its interesting how the candidates are working their magic. 

I was in Gisborne the other day and apparently they had a Mana Party whanau day at Te Poho o Rawiri however it wasn’t widely advertised. In fact our whanau band were asked to play there but didn’t realise it was a Mana Party till they got there so they were a bit miffed.

There are also stories coming through that the Mana bus is waiting outside nightclubs picking up reverlers and taking them home - no problem with that in fact we have fantastic Maori wardens in Gisborne, Wairoa, Napier Hastings, Wellington that undertake that work.  The difference that the Maori wardens don’t go back the next morning cajoling the previous nights revellers hmmmm.

Anyway after the debate at Gisborne boys high the other week I have been trying to get a debate going with Parekura and Tawhai on the issues affecting Maori poverty and how we can practically make progress for our people. 

I’m talking about specific policy’s such as subsidised employment for school leavers, increasing the tax free component to 25k, devolving more govt services to maori, no tax on the first $25k earned. These are the real measures that will make a real difference in the everyday life of our people. 

So far we have had rhetoric about when/if we get in then they will look at the issues but hey thats not fair on our people - The Maori Party has a comprehensive policy document which has been published on line and in the papers but Labour and Mana do not have one - all I hear is John Minto speaking for them and well to be honest Parekura has not put anything out at all - our people demand better in this day and age.

Unfortunately my mates won’t meet with me - maybe which is a shame cause our people deserve to know exactly what is on offer otherwise its kinda like a lucky dip for them. So I am taking the matter in hand and will put out my itinerary so they can catch up with me and maybe we can have a talk with the whanau.

Tuesday                 Maraenui
Wed                       Wainuiomata
Thr                         Tolaga and Ruatorea
Friday                    Heretaunga

Here are my final thoughts-

Winston does Maoridom really need to be under daily threat from you - No Maori seats, No Maori wards, No kaimoana, No thank you.

Labour be honest with our people and say you do not have a maori policy manifesto

National - get the hell out of the Raukumara!

Mana stop blaming The Maori Party for everything - at least tell the people how you intend on being in government to fulfil your promises because as my nanny told me theres no such thing as a free lunch.

Greens well done on your campaign

ACT - Bye bye

Oh and Morgan, my very young friend let me know when you build a Kura Kaupapa Maori then we might take your comments seriously.

Nga mihi,

Na Raihania

Authorised by Na Raihania, 4 Higby Plc Bridge Pa Hastings

Maori and Politics: we're neither left nor right, we're Maori.

...and the polls indicating that more maori are supporting the National Party is not the result of what the Nats have done for maori, rather the ability of the Maori Party to make positive progress, and real and significant achievements for maori, by being able to work with whoever is at the decision-making table.

We'll have to wait to see what impact this new wave of support from maori voters for the National Party may have on traditional voting presumptions, and whether that support will translate into increased support for the Maori Party.

At the end of the day however, the most important thing for maori voters to consider is that they can now cast their vote knowing that it is actually going to count for something after election day.
With the Maori Party's commitment to being at the decision-making table, which ensures that kaupapa maori are there as well, maori voters are virtually guaranteed to have their voices heard, where it counts; whether or not the flag bearers of the right or the flag bearers of the left are there too.