|Maori want control of own destiny|
The Hui Taumata steering group wants a stand-alone Maori entity to drive Maori economic development, arguing that Te Puni Kokiri, the Maori Development Ministry, is too tied to the Government and not up to the job.
The proposal was not formally put on the table on the last day of the Government-funded hui yesterday or included in the resolutions, because the Government is understood to have reservations about it. It was, however, the subject of private discussions, including with Business Roundtable and Council of Trade Unions representatives, at the three-day hui aimed at stimulating Maori economic development.
Several resolutions highlighted by hui convenor Sir Paul Reeves were also designed to reflect what advocates believe was hui support for the new entity. Sir Paul said participants were unanimous that Maori, not the Government, should be the navigators of "our own economic future", with Government agencies providing "support to help us".
There was an ambition "to create new connections to unleash powerful creativity and potential" and a need to look for new pathways to achieve progress more quickly, he said.
It appeared to dovetail with the wider themes of the summit. But the entity plan has caused behind-the-scenes tension between hui organisers and ministry officials. Some in the agency believe the plan is an attempt to wrestle control of Government funding from it.
Steering group member Ngatata Love, a former Te Puni Kokiri chief executive, is a key advocate of the proposal.
None of the steering group members was prepared to speak publicly about the plan, still in its infancy. But it is understood at least some are disillusioned with the ministry and believe it has no kudos within the business community and its public service obligations tie it too closely to different political agendas.
They want the entity, in the form of a commission or organisation like Asia 2000, charged with implementing the hui resolutions. The proposed entity would also operate as a lobby group, advocating wide-ranging policy changes, especially those designed to improve the quality of Maori educational and employment opportunities.
Prime Minister Helen Clark did not make any funding promises around implementation of the resolutions when she spoke at the hui, and this is understood to have disappointed some advocates. However, Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia was supportive. "I think it's a very good idea, I think all Government agencies need to know their place ... I think it's great and I intend to support it."
* Maori entity to drive economic development.
* Move on from grievance mode.
* Stop relying on Government.
* Clean up governance issues and political infighting.
* Seek tribal and international partners.
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