Jones slams ‘hapu’

Port infrastructure ‘essential’

Port infrastructure ‘essential’

NOT HOLDING BACK: Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones had strong comments to make about an iwi challenge to development of Eastland Port and "intoxicated" log exporters while in Gisborne yesterday for a two-day visit. Picture by Paul Rickard

In true carrot and stick mode, outspoken politician Shane Jones yesterday handed Gisborne millions of dollars in government funding — before laying into “mischievous” hapu and “intoxicated” log exporters.

After announcing $27.1m of Provincial Growth Fund investments in Tairawhiti, including funds for a wood processing cluster centre of excellence and the new Matai brain research facility, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones told The Gisborne Herald he was distressed that hapu were opposing both a berth extension at Eastland Port and a barging facility at Hicks Bay.

“It’s hard to know where the blame lies with the breakdown of the relationship between the port owners and the local hapu, Ngati Oneone.

“I’m quite distressed by the fact that Ngati Oneone appear to be implacably opposed to the port extension. Port infrastructure is essential to the entire Tairawhiti region.

“They are only one hapu and I’m sure they realise they have no mandate to hold the entirety of Tairawhiti to ransom by protracting the environmental consent process.

“The hapu further north, around Hicks Bay, opposed the creation of a barging facility to deal with the forestry at that end of the coast.

“This level of hapu mischief irks me and I almost feel once the brain research facility gets up and running, they need to start looking at the intellect and the brain-processing capacity of a lot of this hapu leadership.

“They are undermining the regional growth potential for Maori and Pakeha in terms of jobs and exports. This hapu manipulation of the Resource Management Act shows they are not brainy and they should probably be introduced to the Matai Brain Institute to work out where their thinking has gone awry.”

Mr Jones’s visit coincided with a recent big drop in log export prices.

“Obviously the turbulence the industry is seeing in China, I think, is a timely reminder to New Zealand’s international log exporters that they turn their back on the domestic sector at their peril.

“These log traders have intoxicated themselves with ongoing profit in China without realising that level of economic golden sunlight never lasts forever.

“The damage, however, is very disturbing for garden-variety Kiwis who have invested heavily in their logging and extraction, etcetera, and this level of tumult will be creating a great deal of stress for them.”

Mr Jones said he would be holding a forum with key players in the industry to establish what, if anything, the Crown could do to help.

“Naturally, I’ve talked forestry up —with a megaphone.

“I think the challenge, now, is to turn places like Gisborne into sites of wood processing excellence with value-added investment, and to that end I’m very keen to proceed with the notion of having an international precinct in Gisborne, perhaps the only one in the country, to ensure the wall of wood does not exclusively disappear over the wall — and capture as much value as possible.”

Talks with potential investors from China and Japan had already taken place, but fears over the reliability of the energy supply into Gisborne had been a stumbling block, as well as the lack of a rail link from Gisborne to Wairoa.

“If Gisborne can’t cope with future log demand, they want the option of putting it on rail to Napier.

“Thirdly, they want to see an improvement in the port of Gisborne.

“I’m very disappointed that (former Eastland Group chairman) Keith Sutton is no longer involved in the governance arrangements. With Keith Sutton there, the Government had a great deal of confidence in Eastland Port.

“So, I’m going to get to the bottom of the picture of why he is no longer involved.”

In true carrot and stick mode, outspoken politician Shane Jones yesterday handed Gisborne millions of dollars in government funding — before laying into “mischievous” hapu and “intoxicated” log exporters.

After announcing $27.1m of Provincial Growth Fund investments in Tairawhiti, including funds for a wood processing cluster centre of excellence and the new Matai brain research facility, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones told The Gisborne Herald he was distressed that hapu were opposing both a berth extension at Eastland Port and a barging facility at Hicks Bay.

“It’s hard to know where the blame lies with the breakdown of the relationship between the port owners and the local hapu, Ngati Oneone.

“I’m quite distressed by the fact that Ngati Oneone appear to be implacably opposed to the port extension. Port infrastructure is essential to the entire Tairawhiti region.

“They are only one hapu and I’m sure they realise they have no mandate to hold the entirety of Tairawhiti to ransom by protracting the environmental consent process.

“The hapu further north, around Hicks Bay, opposed the creation of a barging facility to deal with the forestry at that end of the coast.

“This level of hapu mischief irks me and I almost feel once the brain research facility gets up and running, they need to start looking at the intellect and the brain-processing capacity of a lot of this hapu leadership.

“They are undermining the regional growth potential for Maori and Pakeha in terms of jobs and exports. This hapu manipulation of the Resource Management Act shows they are not brainy and they should probably be introduced to the Matai Brain Institute to work out where their thinking has gone awry.”

Mr Jones’s visit coincided with a recent big drop in log export prices.

“Obviously the turbulence the industry is seeing in China, I think, is a timely reminder to New Zealand’s international log exporters that they turn their back on the domestic sector at their peril.

“These log traders have intoxicated themselves with ongoing profit in China without realising that level of economic golden sunlight never lasts forever.

“The damage, however, is very disturbing for garden-variety Kiwis who have invested heavily in their logging and extraction, etcetera, and this level of tumult will be creating a great deal of stress for them.”

Mr Jones said he would be holding a forum with key players in the industry to establish what, if anything, the Crown could do to help.

“Naturally, I’ve talked forestry up —with a megaphone.

“I think the challenge, now, is to turn places like Gisborne into sites of wood processing excellence with value-added investment, and to that end I’m very keen to proceed with the notion of having an international precinct in Gisborne, perhaps the only one in the country, to ensure the wall of wood does not exclusively disappear over the wall — and capture as much value as possible.”

Talks with potential investors from China and Japan had already taken place, but fears over the reliability of the energy supply into Gisborne had been a stumbling block, as well as the lack of a rail link from Gisborne to Wairoa.

“If Gisborne can’t cope with future log demand, they want the option of putting it on rail to Napier.

“Thirdly, they want to see an improvement in the port of Gisborne.

“I’m very disappointed that (former Eastland Group chairman) Keith Sutton is no longer involved in the governance arrangements. With Keith Sutton there, the Government had a great deal of confidence in Eastland Port.

“So, I’m going to get to the bottom of the picture of why he is no longer involved.”

Not just hapu - all of Turanganui a Kiwa

Objection to Eastland Port’s berth extension is not just from one small hapu — it is all the Turanganui a Kiwa iwi.

Ngati Oneone’s Charlotte Gibson responded today to Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones slamming the hapu, saying he was “thoroughly hacked off that the application to extend Gisborne’s port had been undermined by local hapu”.

On Shane Jones’ Facebook page this morning, she posted comments giving a little of the reasons why iwi were opposed.

“E Hika!” (What the heck!)

She wrote of the rock under the port called Te Toka a Taiau quoted as the first place in Aotearoa/NZ where Maori met Pakeha (the very first encounter) and has equal status as the Waitangi grounds.

“The port (a multimillion-dollar outfit) proposes to dredge what is left of Te Toka a Taiau and they have no evidence to support that if they create an artificial crayfish nursery and move the largest (natural) rua korua (crayfish nursery) in Aotearoa, the koura will survive and thrive (as it has done long before we came).

“Given the historical, physical and cultural importance of these two taonga, be assured, it is the responsibility of our humble little hapu (on behalf of iwi Maori) to protect them and fight the ‘big boys’ if we have to.

“Would you be OK if the port went to Waitangi Grounds (listed as a national treasure) and wanted to dig up the frontage so that they put in a road to haul logs? And do you think the hapu or even the people of the North would sit by and let it happen??? I very much doubt it,” Mrs Gibson wrote.

“Furthermore, the combined claim was made on behalf of: Ngati Oneone hapu, Te Aitanga a Mahaki iwi, Te Runanga o Turanganui a Kiwa and Ngati Porou Fisheries. Not to mention Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust submitted too.

“So now that’s not just one little hapu . . . that is all the Turanganui a Kiwa iwi.”

She said she was happy to meet when Mr Jones was next in Turanganui a Kiwa.

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Tanya Henry - 3 months ago
Opposition to a port extension is fully understandable. He kapata kai mo te iwi, our cherished food resource no longer. Logs aren't going to feed anyone . . . the industry is so hazardous that your life is in peril every day if you work with logs . . . pine is bad for our health, our children suffer eczema and asthma, our water and lungs are polluted by its pollen! We should build houses for our homeless with those trees, and replant native . . . then we don't have to rape and pillage Tangaroa some more out at Hicks Bay, taking even more kai away from even more of our people so China can house themselves. While blokes at the top of the corporate ladder get profits, landowners get bugger all!
In the name of creating employment?
Hapu being mischief?
How dare you belittle our whakaaro, and wishes!
Hoki mai Mr Jones . . . or were you ever even here?

Rebecca - 3 months ago
I would rather swim in the ocean with my kids and be able to surf, fish and dive in the bay without polluted waters. Do we want our waters to end up like that in Singapore or the bigger ports like Tauranga or Auckland, where you wouldn't dare swim because of the high pollution? Let's get the rail up and running and get the logs up and out of Gisborne. The trucks are killing people on our roads. When is enough going to be enough? ;(

Wirihana, Porirua - 3 months ago
Ngati Oneone have no rights to the Kaiti block, it is Rongowhakaata and Te Aitanga a Mahaki land - the rights derived by Te Whanau a Iwi and Ngai Tawhiri are claimed absolutely from Kahunoke and Te Nono-I-kura. The first Te Poho o Rawiri was built by Natanahira Te Keteiwi and Mahumahu builders of age Hau ki Turanga. Ngati Oneone are descendants of Rakaiataane - they are refugees who were booted from Whareongaonga. The port is talking to the wrong tribe.

Hine Haig, Kalgoorlie WA - 3 months ago
What an insulting person you are Shane. How dare you insult Nga hapu o Ngati Porou like that. The people have spoken and the only "bottom" you need to address is your own. Just because you're giving more than a blanket this time round doesn't mean we roll over and lick our chops.
Our leaders are fully educated and versed in the tauiwi world and are only guilty of trying to ensure our taonga tuku ihoa are there for the next generation and the next and the next . . . perhaps you need to be the first on the Brain Machine you talk of.

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