April 09, 2014
Iwi takeover threat seen in kohanga row
Suspicion is growing that a Government attack on the Kohanga Reo National Trust may be part of a push to hand control to iwi leaders.
Education Minister Hekia Parata and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples have axed the trust’s $2.5 million annual operating grant and said any future contract is conditional on changes to its governance.
They say the trust has been too slow to respond to allegations of mis-spending at its Te Pataka Ohanga subsidiary, which are now subject to a Serious Fraud Office Investigation.
Trust spokesperson Derek Fox says the ministers aren’t being straight up.
"It is known that Minister Sharples and Minister Parata both have leanings towards the idea that maybe kohanga reo should be run by iwi rather than by the national trust. If that’s what it’s about, then why don’t you let the kohanga decide that? If these two want to talk about democracy, democracy requires the people involved have a say, not for it to be pushed down from above," he says.
Mr Fox says the ministers should have waited for the outcome of this weekend’s national hui at Turangawaewae Marae on the future of kohanga reo, at which new governance models will be discussed.
The row comes as Dr Sharples is also trying to fast track legislation giving control of the Maori Language Commission, Maori broadcast funding agency and Maori Television to a new body appointed by iwi.
FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH DEREK TINI FOX CLICK ON THE LINK
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