National | Dr. Pita Sharples

Piece of 4G pie for Māori

The new 4G spectrum offers ultra-high speed broadband for uploading and downloading anything from communications through to videos and more.

It's a "taonga" under the Treaty of Waitangi, according to the Tribunal, but not according to the Govt.

Hence, legal action may be the only avenue available to claimants.

Pita Sharples believes, “Some of these groups are talking about going to court, but the way I see it, the spectrum is all but gone.”

The Govt recently began its sale scheme of 4G spectrum.

One piece of the pie was bought by Vodafone and Telecom for $66mil each.

Another piece was purchased for $44mil by 2degrees.  The remainder is to be auctioned off by the Govt.

Sharples says, “We were fighting alongside other Māori groups for that 4G but were unfortunately unsuccessful.”

According to Māori MP, Education Minister Hekia Parata, there's a much bigger fight that requires Māori attention than that of court action on this issue.

“What I would say to Māori is to fight for the education of their children and grandchildren.”

Hone Harawira says, “That is the pathway to the world and if the Govt intends to sell it to its wealthy friends, where do we sit in that world?”

The remaining spectrum will be auctioned next week with a starting bid set at $22mil.