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  • Ashleigh Putt-Fallows

Māori and Pasifika News: Cook Islands Power Failure, MPP Cuts, and Jones' Comments Challenged

ASHLEIGH PUTT-FALLOWS (SHE/HER) - Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi-Ngāti Hine, Tūhoe

Cook Islands solar power failure 

Residents of Penrhyn are experiencing reduced power due to the failure of around ten batteries in their solar-diesel hybrid system, and have been asked to conserve energy. New batteries are expected to arrive by sea, but not until sometime in June. The office of the PM has stated that it could take as long as a year to fix. 

Ministry of Pacific Peoples jobs cuts:

Government mandated spending cuts will see the Ministry of Pacific Peoples shrink by 40%, removing 63 of 153 positions, in a move the union called “brutal”. The ministry will pause its recruitment, and offer voluntary redundancies. PSA national secretary Duane Leo: “This is a community that needs dedicated government support … Pasifika families are more likely to live in overcrowded, unhealthy housing … their families are more likely to struggle financially than other New Zealanders. The Pasifika population has also grown rapidly—by 43% between 2006 and 2018, twice the rate of New Zealand’s population.” 

The ministry is responsible for ~400,000 people in Aotearoa. Leo also stated: “these cuts show the low level of importance this Government accords the Pasifika community”, adding, in reference to David Seymours election rhetoric, “[u]nfortunately, this isn’t surprising given a senior Cabinet member joked before the election about blowing the ministry up.”

Te Hunga Roia Māori o Aotearoa: Shane Jones’ Tribunal Critique “inappropriate, unconstitutional”

Last week, in an interview with Waatea News, Minister Shane Jones criticised the Waitangi Tribunal’s “grilling” of ministers, and said he was looking forward to reviewing its powers as part of the coalition agreement. Te Hunga Roia Māori o Aotearoa has sent a complaint to Luxon, labelling his comments "inappropriate, [and] unconstitutional”. The rōpū hopes to establish whether Jones' comments breach the Cabinet Manual, and for Judith Collins to "uphold the integrity of the judicial branch of government within the cabinet". Jones' comments came after the Minister of Children, Karen Chhour, was summoned to the Tribunal to explain her reasoning for removing the Tribunal-related section of the Oranga Tamariki Act. She refused to attend, and the Crown filed for Judicial Review with the High Court. The rōpū argues Jones’ comments effectively undermine both the tribunal act, and its processes. The rōpū stated "it’s not the role of the executive" such as ministers to make comments like this, as it "undermines the integrity of our system of Law". 


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