Waatea News Update

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

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, May 09, 2008

Unemployment hitting Maori first

The Maori Party says latest unemployment figures are a crisis for Maori and Pacific Island workers.

The latest Household Labour Force survey showed unemployment at 3.6 per cent, with 29 thousand fewer people in work than three months ago.

Co-leader Pita Sharples says the government is downplaying the signals.

“You've got the Minister for Employment saying that 3.4 percent unemployment up to 3.6 is no major worry, but it is. That may be the general New Zealand but Maori unemployment has shot up to 8 percent, and so has Pacific Island unemployment. 29,000 jobs have just been closed down. There is a crisis,” Dr Sharples says.

He says economists are predicting no relief in the short term, so Maori need to prepare for tough times.

KAPITI COUNCIL RUBBERSTAMPS AIRPORT BOONDOGGLE

Opponents of the Paraparaumu Airport redevelopment are vowing to fight on after the latest setback.

On the casting vote of chair Ann Chapman, Kapiti District Council approved a business park on land taken from Maori and other owners in the 1940s for airport purposes.

Mike Wood from the Paraparaumu Airport Coalition says the consent will be appealed to the Environment Court.

He says what's being proposed isn't the upgrade many residents expect.

“It's a business park which is basically going to be an industrial commercial centre with big warehouses, large trucks. It’s airport land. It’s nothing to do with airport, but that’s what’s been sold to people out here. They think they’re going to get an upgraded airport, with Air New Zealand flying into here to a magnificent new terminal,” Mr Wood says.

He says the redevelopment will put extra pressure on the area's roads, stormwater and sewerage systems, with the bill picked up by ratepayers.

WELL-TRAVELLED BOXER PICKED FOR SYDNEY TEST

A young Maori boxer is showing what it means to go the distance.

16-year-old Shaye Walker-Brock has been picked for tonight's transtasman tournament in Sydney.

Tui Gallagher from the Auckland Boxing Association says the Gisborne Boys High student regularly comes to Auckland to fight quality opposition.

She says that dedication got him into the five-member team for Sydney, and he has a great future if he gets the right opportunities.

“Being way up there on the coast it’s hard for him to get around the country and get to fight so when the opportunity came up for us to send a team over, we saw the weight division and thought it’s an opportunity for our young fella,” Ms Gallagher says.

After the transtasman test, Walker-Brock will set his sights on the Golden Gloves in Taupo at the end of the month and the national champs in October.

RANKIN TOLD TO PUT UP OR SHUT UP

The Maori Party is challenging a potential electoral rival to put up or shut up.

Northland man David Rankin is threatening to reveal a senior Maori Party MP's involvement in the cover up of a million dollar misappropriation, as part of his run for the Taitokerau seat held by Hone Harawira.

Co-leader Pita Sharples says there's no way Mr Rankin can be considered a credible threat either to the Maori Party's hold on the seat or to its reputation.

“We're not nervous. Hone’s not nervous. (Rankin’s) threatening he knows something about a million dollars going missing or something and I know exactly what he’s talking about and he’s up the wrong tree by 100 miles so we’ve told him to put up or shut up because he’s actually breaking the law himself, knowing about a crime and not divulging that to the police,” Dr Sharples says.

GAMBLING PROBLEMS SPUR RECORD TALKING

If you've been moving round the radio dial today, you may have heard a lot of John Stansfield and Alistair Galpin.

The pair are trying to beat the world record for a two-person team of 54 radio interviews in 24 hours, as a way to highlight the damage done to communities by pokie machine gambling.

Mr Stansfield, the head of the Problem Gambling Foundation, says while overall spending on gambling is down, it's still a major problem for Maori.

“The statistics for Maori are much worse and the statistics for Maori women in particular are worse even more and in a quarter where gambling expenditure dropped dramatically by 11 percent, there’s only one group standing out as having grown in expenditure and that's Maori,” Mr Stansfield says.

BALLOONS FOR ASTHMA AWARENESS

Don't be surprised to see hundreds of helium filled balloons in the air tomorrow.

They're being released as a fundraiser to raise awareness of World Asthma Day.

Jane Patterson, the executive director of the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation, says asthma puts more children in hospital than any other cause.

She says Maori children are disproportionately affected.

“The rate is pretty much the same across all populations, but it’s true Maori have a higher rate of more severe asthma, so it’s pretty important they take all opportunities they can to find out how to look after themselves and do things that might be helpful like avoiding cigarette smoke in the home or the car, things that might trigger asthma,” Ms Patterson says.

The foundation has beefed up its capacity to service Maori so it can respond to high rates of respiratory illness in those communities.

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