July 03, 2014
Sharples blocks access to justice
The New Zealand Maori Council is accusing Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples of a constitutional sleight of hand to block its te reo Maori claim.
The Waitangi Tribunal was considering an urgent hearing of the claim into whether Dr Sharples’ plans for a new body to oversee Maori language agencies was a fresh breach of the treaty.
But Dr Sharples tabled legislation yesterday, meaning the hearing can’t go ahead.
He says in light of the public consultation he has changed the proposed make-up of Te Matawai, the new body that will oversee Maori Television, the Maori Language Service and Te Mangai Paho.
It will now be constituted by one representative from each of the seven dialectal regions, three members chosen by Maori language organisations, and two appointed by the Minister of Maori Affairs on behalf of the Crown.
Maori council co-chair Maanu Paul says rather than giving Maori more control of the language, the Crown is excluding the original claimants and unilaterally taking charge.
He says the notion of seven dialectal regions is an academic fantasy that is not basis for governance.
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