1 Feb 2012

Claim Whanau Ora will remain despite Maori Party threat

6:53 pm on 1 February 2012

The Waikato-Tainui Whanau Ora collective is confident Whanau Ora will survive, despite a suggestion it may be lost due to a possible fallout between the Maori and National parties.

The Maori Party is threatening to pull the pin on its relationship with National, over Treaty matters related to planned partial asset sales.

In order for sales to proceed, the four energy companies subject to partial sale must first be removed from the State Owned Enterprises Act and then included in new legislation.

A commentator on Maori politics Morgan Godfery says the Maori Party's stance may mean the caucus will lose key policies such as; Whanau Ora and the Ministerial Committee investigating poverty.

But Tainui's Whanau Ora collective chairperson Hori Awa says Whanau Ora will remain.

He says a lot of ground work has been done to establish the programme, and it appears to have been well received by the Government.

Meanwhile, the principal of a Auckland based Maori law firm, says tribes who haven't finalised their Treaty claims, may lose rights to the state assets they're negotiating over, if Treaty measures are removed from the SOE Act.

Prue Kapua from Tamatekapua Law is worried the assets will be sold to private owners who aren't required to uphold Treaty responsibilities.

She says that means the four energy companies wouldn't be included in any Treaty settlement.

Ms Kapua says most of the unresolved Treaty claims relate to waterways such as rivers, which are important to power companies.

The Government has laid out three options for transferring Treaty clauses into new legislation which would pave the way for the partial sales.

One is a straight transfer of section nine of the SOE Act, which requires the Crown to act in accordance with the Treaty.

The second option would be to include a more specific clause detailing how the Crown would meet its Treaty obligations.

The final option is to have no general Treaty clause at all.

The Government starts a series of nine hui next week to consult with Maori about the partial sale of the four energy companies, at which iwi can discuss the three options.