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Ed Sheeran

Parties argue over RMA abyss
UMA Broadcasting Ltd

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The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill is back before parliament this afternoon, with a showdown expected over changes made to secure Maori Party support.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the Maori Party price is a separatist parallel government.

He says the bill will allow iwi to become consenting authorities with local councils or in some cases to become consenting authorities in their own right.

Mr Peters says it will do nothing for what Maori really want, like decent housing, health and education systems, and decent jobs and wages.

"For example the level of Maori home ownership today would be the worst it's been for maybe 70 years. Yet they carry on with this sort of elitist stuff as if they represent Maoridom. I believe they don't and I believe it's coming from a certain collection of people who make these demands in the name of the mass number of Maori and deliver back to them," he says.

Mr Peters says New Zealand First will demand repeal of the law if it has a say in the next government.

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell rejects the New Zealand First contention that the changes to the Resource Management Act will cast the country into a separatist abysss.

He says many iwi already feel they are already in an abyss when they try to act as kaitiaki for natural resources in their rohe.

"That's exactly why we've done what we've done which is allow for our people to have engagement with local councils around issues to do with resource management in their rohe. It's not about a racial abyss. It's about an element of equality in the tribal nations they live in," Mr Flavell says.

He says for too long Maori have been consulted at the last stage of development, if at all.

Meanwhile, groups pushing to create regions free of genetically modified organisms are looking closely at today's committee stage to see if the Maori Party has delivered on its promise to protect that option.

At issue is the new power Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith wants to override decisions of local councils.

GE-Free NZ president Claire Bleakley says the issue came up at an international conference on GM forestry in Chile last week, where indigenous communities from Brazil and Uruguay, talked about the overwhelming negative experiences of commercial GMO plants in their territories, including people being poisoned because of the massive overuse of pesticides on transgenic crops.

 

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