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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Henare pushes smarter spending

National's Maori Affairs spokesperson says smarter spending on education will benefit Maori students.

Tau Henare told the National Urban Maori Authorities' 21st Century Education Hui in Manukau about some of National's plans for more testing and a greater concentration on reading, writing and counting skills.

He says the sector needs a rethink.

“Let's figure out where we’re going wrong. Let’s figure out where we need to put the funding. Because in the past, especially the last nine years, it’s just been a willy nilly confetti effect, just throw it up into the wind and hopefully it will help somebody. Well that’s not the approach the National Party and this National led government is going to take.
Mr Henare says.

Initiatives like a trade training school in south Auckland, scrapping the schools plus policy to keep kids in school and rolling out the Te Kotahitanga professional development programme for teachers will help.

MAORI NEEDED FOR NATIONAL GOVERNMENT

Meanwhile, National's other Maori spokesperson is relishing the prospect of working with the Maori Party.

Georgina Te Heuheu says the number of Maori in the National Party caucus has jumped to seven, with Simon Bridges taking the Tauranga seat... and Hekia Parata, Paul Quinn and Aaron Gilmore coming to Parliament on the list.

That means it now has one more Maori MP than Labour.

The Tuwharetoa lawyer says even though National doesn't need the Maori Party to govern, Prime Minister elect John Key is sincere in his desire to engage with Maori

“There's a commitment to Maori who clearly are a growing force in our nation and key to some of the things he wants to do in terms of getting the economy growing, those sorts of things. You need Maori on board and you need Maori participating, as for all other New Zealanders, to those things going,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

COSTLY RESTUCTURE ALMOST AT AN END

A million dollar boost in its wage bill has cut into the profits of West Auckland urban Maori Authority Te Whanau o Waipareira.

The trust, which delivers health, education and social services for a range of government agencies, has reported an 850 thousand dollar profit on revenue of $10.2 million.

While that's down on last year's $3 million surplus, the 2007 result was boosted by asset sales as the trust repaired its balance sheet after years of mismanagement.

Chief executive John Tamihere says the rebuilding has included investment in systems and people, as it tries to keep competitive with other providers.

“The Government sector under Labour rewarded its workers extraordinarily well and at the same time they never rewarded our contracts. So a number of my better workers are poached. For instance, the Auckland District Health Board offers one of my health workers $150,000 a year to go there. I’m paying her $75,000. How does that work?” Mr Tamihere says,

Waipareira is now ready to put its flagship family management plan in place, bringing together several of its contract streams.

TAMIHERE SLATES LABOUR EDUCATION EFFORTS

A former Labour cabinet minister says the Labour-led government's education policies were a failure for Maori.

John Tamihere is talking to the 21st Century Education Hui in Manukau about the need for Maori to take control of their own education.

He says there has been years of missed opportunities, with policies like Schools Plus designed to keep children a failing school system for longer.

“Nine years of the greatest economic stimulation and xx this country has ever produced and over that period 86 percent of Maori children will not get near a tertiary campus because they fail schooling systems. Half of Maori boys won’t. You bring policies like Schools Plus and other things in, you squirt our people out into criminality or low skill jobs,” Mr Tamihere says.

Urban Maori Authorities will be demanding changes of the new government, based on the solutions which have come out to the three education hui they have held this year.

GREENS READY FOR OPPOSITION DUTY AS PROGRAMMES SCRAPPED

A constructive Opposition is the role Metiria Turei sees for the Greens when the new Parliament convenes.

The party's Maori Affairs spokesperson says in its 12 years in Parliament Green MPs have worked constructively with National on issues of mutual concern.

This time it may be harder if National winds back programmes the Greens won from the Labour-led government.

“The billion dollar green homes fund that was designed to insulate all low income and middle income homes is going to be ditched and they are going to use that money essentially to subsidise electric cars for people who can afford to buy brand new electric cars. I mean they are going to do stupid things like that,” Ms Turei says.

The Greens still hope to make some small gains in the National-dominated Parliament.

TRIBES GATHER FOR TAKITIMU FESTIVAL

The Pacific strands of Takitimu whakapapa have come together in Heretaunga.

Takitimu Festival organiser Tama Huata says people from Samoa, Tonga, Rarotonga, French Polynesia and Aoteraroa gathering in Hastings to celebrate their links back to the waka.

There will be wananga on Pacific wakapapa, history, waiata and karakia, followed by cultural exchanges.

“This festival gives us the opportunity to wananga and celebrate together, celebrate ourselves and celebrate our arts and culture and then to actually transverse the world in the way our ancestors transversed the Pacific to arrive in Aotearoa New Zealand,” Mr Huata says

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