Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Education crusade on the agenda

Expect more tests and a crusade on numeracy and literacy.

That's the prescription National Maori affairs spokesperson Tau Henare gave to the National Urban Maori Authorities' 21st Century Education Hui in Manukau today.

He says the past nine years have seen money thrown at education like confetti, with little positive result, and changes are coming.

“I'm looking forward to the establishment of some national standards. I'm looking forward to the crusade we’re going to launch on literacy and numeracy skills because in these economic times, hard times and uncertain times, those are the basic skills that you’re going to have to have to build communities and to build families,” Mr Henare says.

He expects the National government to do an across the board roll out of Te Kotahitanga, a professional development programme which addresses the way teachers interact with Maori students in the classroom.


The Green Party rejects suggestions its candidate cost Labour's Mahara Okeroa his Te Tai Tonga seat.

The southern Maori electorate was won with an election night margin of 684 votes by the Maori Party's Rahui Katene.

Dora Roimata Langsbury collected 1803 votes for herself and 1219 party votes for the Greens.

Metiria Turei, who contested the seat in 2005, says the Greens will continue to stand for the Maori electorates.

“The Maori seats are important to us. We want to stand in them. We respect them. We think that they are a good thing to have and the idea that they should only ever be contested by two parties is just ridiculous. And obviously people really did want to vote for an alternate candidate and they did. I’ve very proud of what Dora did. She increased our party vote,” Ms Turei says.

She says the Green Party is usually accused of taking votes from the Maori Party, so it's a bit rich to accuse it of costing Labour the seat.


Kaipara hapu Ngati Torehina is hoha at the stink of cow dung wafting across its marae.

Spokesperson Manga Patuawa says the cows cross State Highway 12 in front of Taita Marae to get to their milking shed, with their effluent often flowing onto marae land.

He says the farm has expanded from 200 to 700 cows, without the Northland Regional Council taking any action.

“Our marae has been there for 150 years. The cowshit hasn’t. It’s become intolerable, the smell. Everyone who comes there, particularly when we hve hui, that’s when it’s at its worst. Everyone comments on it. Ko takuhia i runga tatou mana,” Mr Patuawa says.

The Northland regional council's environmental monitoring officer, Dennis Wright, says the farmer is building a $160,000 underpass north of the existing crossing.


The Greens maori spokesperson is warning the Maori Party to tread carefully as it heads towards an agreement with National.

After more than an hour of talks with National leader John Key this afternoon, Maori Party co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia confirmed they are proceeding with a deal ... although they won't reveal the details.

Metiria Turei says National will benefit from such an agreement by claiming to lead a balanced government.

She says the Maori Party needs to ask what may happen to Maori under a National/ Act government.

“In the end it’s going to be whether people have secure employment and secure housing that counts the most for Maori because those are the areas that we are more vulnerable than any other community. If those policies aren’t mediated or softened or made better by the Maori Party’s presence, then I think there is an issue about whether they are going to be supporting a policy that is going to cause Maori communities significant amounts of damage,” Ms Turei says.

The Maori Party its holding consulation hui on the issue with party members starting in Otahuhu tonight.


Te Whanau o Waipareira has reported an improved result as its major restructuring reaches its final stages.

The West Auckland urban Maori authority has an operating surplus of $780,000 on revenue of $10.2 million, up from $550,000 last year.

The income came from service delivery contracts with agencies like the ministries of health and Social Development and the Accident Compensation Corporation.

Chief executive John Tamihere says the result marks a turnaround from the trust's previous management.

“Three years ago we had cheques bouncing all over west Auckland. Three years ago we had just on $5.5 million of debt we didn’t know what to do with. We had mal-performance in some of our contract areas and they were all under threat. The restructure had to be quite aggressive. Major jobs were lost. Major cost centres were closed down. We’ve recalibrated the organization, put good quality systems in place staffed now with better people, and we’re in now our major growth surge,” Mr Tamihere says.

Next year Waipareira expects to boost income by 20 percent and increase its margins by a greater percent.


The Children's Commissioner wants to tackle schoolyard bullying.

The School Safety Investigation will review four cases of school violence, including one at Hutt Valley High School which is being investigated by the Human Rights Commission.

Dr Cindy Kiro says a large number of the 900 calls her office gets each year on its public inquiry line are about bullying, and it emerged as a top three concern in her talks with groups of children.

She says cultural factors will be taken into account.

“We don't know quite simply for example whether schools that have high numbers of Maori children have higher rates of bullying or violence, but to the extent that Maori children are victims or perpetrators of acts of violence or bullying in schools, we will certainly identify what works with them,” Dr Kiro says

Results could be available early in the new school year.


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