Native Affairs – Political Special Part 1

By Mihingarangi Forbes

Tonight we host our first political debate as we build up to the 2014 General Election.

Joining Mihingarangi Forbes in studio is Mana Party leader Hone Harawira, Greens co-leader Metiria Turei, Labour MP the honourable Shane Jones,  New Zealand First leader the Right Honourable Winston Peters, and Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell.

Now despite repeated requests, the National Party have refused to front any of their Māori ministers, so representing the National Party this evening is the MP for Botany, Ngāti Porou's Jami-Lee Matenga Ross.

Strengthening the focus on whānau, hapū and iwi, and consolidating Māori leadership, are said to be the key principles underpinning the Māori Party's proposed new Māori Language Strategy being pushed through parliament before the election.

Under their proposal Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori and Te Mangai Pāho would be removed from public ownership and handed instead to a new entity controlled by iwi.

The new body, Te Mātāwai would be responsible for appointing the board of those organisations and nearly half the board of New Zealand On Air.

It would also replace the Māori Electoral College that appoints half the board of Māori Television. This one all-powerful board made up of just 10 members would cost around 2 million dollars a year to run.

However in the wake of our Native Affairs investigation into governance and mis-spending at Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust and concerns around Whānau Ora, questions have arisen as to what accountability if any there would be for the 73 million dollars of tax payers money it would responsible for.

Critics of the proposal say it ignores the fact that the Māori Language renaissance was principally lead by urban Māori and that the majority of Māori live outside their tribal boundaries in favour of devolving power to iwi.