May 17, 2016
Clark’s indigenous support challenged
A Gisborne environmentalist who blogs under the name The Non-Plastic Maori has introduced a note of dissent into the New Zealand push for former prime minister Helen Clark to become the next United Nations secretary general.
Tina Ngata told the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues in New York last week that new Zealand's refusal to sign the United Nations Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples during her watch and the 2007 anti-terror raids were causes of concern for the application.
She says Ms Clark had called the declaration divisive and unimplementable.
Ms Ngata says UN support for the implementation of declaration must begin from the Secretary General position down.
She says the police action against the community of Ruatoki in october 2007 included the mischaracterisation of innocent Maori families as terrorists and subsequent violent armed invasions of Maori homes.
The 2005 Foreshore and Seabed Act, freshwater degradation and the significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions over the period of Ms Clark’s leadership were also placed before the forum for consideration, with a final recommendation for the Permanent Forum to impel the United Nations to specifically consider responsiveness to indigenous rights as criteria for the role of Secretary General.
Ms Ngata also took a swipe at the current Government, saying the proposed Natural Products Bill is a threat to traditional Maori healing practices.
She says the bill seeks to establish a regulatory authority that will have unrestricted abilities in defining and regulating natural medicines, their associated practices and practitioners.
"Of particular concern is the proposed funding structure that will restrict traditional practitioners, the cataloging of our thousands of traditional medicine species which we have been given only until 30 May to provide, and the expectation that Maori healers will provide all of their healing knowledge to the Crown for regulation and protection, and the potential for that to lead to exploitation of our knowledge and assets," Ms Ngata said.
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