Topic: Australia

Protest against closure of Aboriginal communities continues to gain momentum

By Maiki Sherman
  • Auckland

A protest rally was held in Auckland strongly opposing a decision by the Australian Government to close around 150 remote Aboriginal communities.

Tomorrow, a protest march will be held in Perth, Australia, by a local Aboriginal community.

In a few weeks, Marama Fox will also fly to Western Australia to take part on another protest march.

However, despite a number of New Zealand MPs voicing their concerns, there are also those who are keeping quiet on the matter.

Auckland University students standing up and lending their voice in support of the Aboriginal people. 

Apenti Eruera Tamanui-Fransen says, “We've heard about the abhorrent decision the Australian Government has made, so we are here to support our indigenous relations and their fight.”

Across the country, more and more people are voicing their criticism over the Australian Government's decision to close 150 remote communities.

The Māori Party has sent a letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and soon Marama Fox will be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the aboriginal people chanting in protest.

“I'm going in person so that I can talk with them and connect on a spiritual level over this issue. It's very important for Māori to meet face-to-face,” says Marama Fox.

During Tony Abbott's recent visit to New Zealand he was greeted with a protest. However, Hekia Parata has criticised it by saying that it trampled on Māori protocol.

“At the time the welcoming call was being made they were there protesting and so I don't agree with that. They are coming here talking of indigenous rights and yet they trample over the traditional protocols of the indigenous people here.”

Despite that though, she isn't making comment on the issue itself, the fight of the aboriginal people.

“Māori don't just have one voice across New Zealand, so why should it be any different when it comes to having a united Māori voice in Parliament,” says Parata.

Kelvin Davis says, “If she wants to criticise someone she should be criticising her hopeless government for failing to support these aboriginal communities.”

Tomorrow that protest in Perth will march to Parliament House in the town itself, at the moment around 600 people are expected to attend.

To other news within the political sphere, New Zealand First has named its new list MP. Ria Bond will come in on the list following Winston Peters' win in Northland.

Ria Bond is a descendent of Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Hine and is a great grand-niece to Sir James Henare.

She is a hairdresser and has held a number of national board positions within the industry.

She is also a former board member of New Zealand First.

Bond lives in the South Island and is a single mother to her two children.  

Another big issue in politics is that Prime Minister John Key has had to apologise to a woman for pulling her hair.

The incident arose on the campaign trail before last year's general election. It's understood that on at least three separate occasions at a Parnell cafe John Key tugged on a waitresses' hair.

The Prime Minister has since said it was "a bit of banter" and he has apologised to the woman and gave her a couple of bottles of wine.

The woman complained of the incidents on a website blog.

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