Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cut your own toes off

A Hawkes Bay Maori health leader says an extra $160 million for elective surgery is a short term approach to health problems.

Jean Te Huia from Choices, which runs clinics in the Kahungunu rohe, says a lot of the surgery is to clean up the complications of preventative diseases like diabetes, obesity and smoking-related illness.

She says people can't expect a bottomless barrel of money for surgery, and the money might better be spent boosting primary health initiatives.

“If you're going to sit around smoking and drinking and eating the wrong diet, I’m sorry mate, when it comes your tome to get dialysis, and have your toes amputated for gangrene because you’ve got diabetes, it ain’t going to happen. It’s not going to be there. People are going to be expected to be responsible for their own health needs,” Ms Te Huia says.

Maori are less likely to get elective surgery, so they will benefit more from prevention programmes.


It may have won newspaper of the year in the Qantas awards, but the Sunday Herald is being challenged by a prison reform group for its coverage of killer Junior Bailey Kurariki.

Kim Workman from Prison Fellowship says since his release on parole after seven years in jail for the manslaughter of pizza delivery man Michael Choy, the 19-year old has been subject to intense media scrutiny ... including a story last Sunday on his personal life, diet, and his birthday presents.

Mr Workman says research shows that if people come out of prison wanting to change their lives and not reoffend, the support they get in the first year is critical.

He says the media seems to want Kurariki to fail.

“What this seems to be doing is that the media seem intent on contributing to further offending and further victims in our community and it seems to us that this is beyond the bounds of what New Zealanders would consider to be right thinking,” Mr Workman says.

The court has made an order preventing Kurariki speaking to the media, so he is unable to defend himself.


The Prime Minister says Labour has cause to be proud of its support for Maori broadcasting.

In Parliament last night, Te Mangai Paho celebrated half a million hours of Maori language broadcasting.

Helen Clark says the bulk of those hours have come in the past nine years, as her government has responded to its treaty commitment to protect Maori language and culture.

“We had to pick up from the completely failed attempt of the National Party to set up Maori television. They just couldn’t make it work. It fell over, gave it a bad name, and we had to start again and work with the stakeholders in Maoridom to get a credible channel and I’m really proud of what Maori Television has achieved. I’m really proud they have got a second channel now,” Ms Clark says.

Maori radio stations are also important, because they can broadcast Maori perspectives in Maori or English.


A police expert on youth gangs says many parents don't know the signs their children are involved.

Jason Hewitt says a multi agency strategy involving CYFS, Housing New Zealand, the Ministry of Social Development and the police is stemming recruitment into South Auckland street gangs.

That's a big change from two years ago, when there were 10 homicides related to youth gangs.

Mr Hewitt says having more youth workers and integrated case management is having an impact, but parents can do more.

“They may see three-letter tags scribbled on school bags and school books. They may see a bandana or some form of other colour handkerchief hanging out of their pockets, wrapped around a wrist or worn on their heads, and we hear back from parents, ‘oh, I just thought that was what kids wore today.’ They don’t realise the significance of what they are seeing. They don't understand,” Mr Hewitt says.

There will always be gangs, and many of the current gangs are here today, gone tomorrow.


Maori families in the Hutt Valley are being asked to increase their readiness for a civil emergency.

Paul Nichols, the emergency management controller for Hutt City, says while more than half of the region's households have back-up supplies of food and water and food, many young people and Maori and Polynesian families haven't made any preparations.

He says it's a high-risk location.

“We've got the highest population living on a flood plain in New Zealand, and we activate quite regularly with flooding events. Of course we live on the fault plain and we know we’ve got it all. So we try and have our preparedness very high. We know we’ve got one of the highest in the country, but we know it’s not good enough,” Mr Nichols says.

Civil defence is talking to people in malls and shopping centres to raise awareness, and running exercises on the region's marae.


The Public Health Association is applauding a move to make state houses warmer and dryer.

This week's budget will include $53 million dollars to insulate state houses.

The association's national executive officer, Gay Keating, says Maori, Pacific Islanders and migrants make up the majority of state housing tenants.

She says retrofitting the houses will help family incomes by cutting power bills, doctor's visits and days off work.

“A lot of Maori families are being exposed to additional cold and mould, and the family as a whole, but in particular the children are having their health suffer as a consequence,” Dr Keating says.

The Public Health Association also wants to see more incentives for private landlords to insulate their properties.


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