Talk of another Hikoi begin to circulate (POLL)

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Reports are starting to circulate in mainstream media that another hikoi to parliament may be underway. Many Maori are opposed to the Marine and Coaster Areas Bill and want to put pressure on the Maori Party to withdraw it’s support of the new legislation.

The Stuff reported that “Rotorua lawyer and Maori Party member Annette Sykes revealed yesterday that activists were circulating emails calling for a protest march to drive home their opposition to the bill, which replaces Labour’s Foreshore and Seabed Act.”

Sykes says that opposition is strongest among Ngapuhi in the Far North, and was building in her area of Te Arawa as well as Ngati Kahungunu, which covers Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa and is one of the biggest iwi.

Those groups are definitely in dissent, and are looking at ways to put pressure, not just on the Maori Party, but on all parties to look seriously at what is now being proposed. It’s about mobilising the people and I think it’s a huge discussion point. When we hit the streets, we normally do so as a strategy of last resort, and it would not surprise me in an election year that Maori, whose vote is pivotal to change, use all means available to them,” said Ms Sykes.

There is growing dissatisfaction within the membership of the Maori Party about support for the bill which many feel gives rights to non-Maori which are not given to Maori. The Sunday Start Times also reported that “talk of a fresh hikoi comes as the Maori Party confronts growing dissatisfaction over the bill, which was supposed to achieve the founding aim of the party built on the back of the 2004 hikoi, which saw 20,000 people march on parliament.”

But while the bill scraps the Foreshore and Seabed Act and restores the right of iwi to seek customary title to beach areas in the courts, dissidents say it does not go far enough. MP Hone Harawira has voiced his strong opposition to the new legislation and says he will vote against the bill.

Harawira was removed from the Maori Affairs committee because of his opposition to the bill, in his place MP Te Ururoa Flavell who has voiced his reluctant support of the bill begging the question in a recent Dominion Post article, “which makes more sense, since both have made it clear how they will vote”.

The Dom suggested that the Maori Partys “reputation would have been better served by allowing him (Hone) to keep his seat on the committee” arguing that “it would be naive to think other parties have not tinkered with the membership of select committees for their own ends in the past, or that committee hearings constitute a dispassionate consideration of the facts. They do not”.

Harawira confirmed he would make a submission on the bill.

Co-leader Dr Pita Sharples said he accepted the bill was not perfect, but that it was the best they were going to get and that they would continue to fight to expand Maori rights in the future. He went on to plead for “unity and revealed National would scrap the bill if the Maori Party withdrew support, meaning the much less desirable existing law would stay in place for years.”

They’ve said this to us: `You pull it [support], we’ll drop it. We’re doing this on your request’.”

However, the voice of the Maori Party membership was paramount and both Sharples and Turia told the conference that the Maori Party would “hold a fresh round of consultation on the bill and promised to vote against it if that was what members asked for”.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Hone Harawira is entitled to vote no to the new legislation and therefore save face in Te Tai Tokerau but he leaves his Maori Party colleagues stranded.
    Hone is guilty of raising the expectations of his constituents by campaigning on something he can’t deliver on and that is full ownership of the foreshore and seabed.
    Something to consider is that if the Maori Party fails on this piece of legislation it will trigger a Donimo effect on all other Maori policy that could have disastrous consequences for the future.

  2. Kia ora tatou It is imperative that the bill in it’s present form be allowed to go through the process. As the year 2011 is an election year, then the maori party can place Tupuna Title with either the National or Labour Parties whichever one wins, as one of their bottom lines to form a coalition. I don’t believe for one second that the Maori Party is under duress. I know because I am one of the many who is tramping the streets to up the membership. In my view it is the grandstanding of a few who is causing dissent within the party. They would be better employed trying to up the membership so that we can have more than seven members in Parliament.The maori Party is the only party who fights for Maori rights and gives a maori perspective on every bill debated in the house. Huri noa, kia ora mai tatou katoa.
    Vera Hale. Ngati Manawa

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