Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Trust them says Jackson

Political commentator and former Alliance MP Willie Jackson believes it is time for Maori to put old attitudes behind them and to try trusting the new Government leadership.

Willie Jackson says the new government line up is quite different from the National party of the past and his own attitude towards Prime Minister designate John Key has certainly changed.

“When you’re from the left and you come through the unions, you have a natural sort of suspicion of Nats, you have a natural sort of hatred of them unfortunately. Bit immature if you ask me, but that’s what we almost trained on. You’ve got to almost get that out of your head and you’ve got to say hang on, this guy might be the real deal, this guy might be not like some of those other Nats who used to be so emphatic over user pays systems, but he’s a bloke who seems down to earth, he’s a bloke who seems genuine. No use writing him off. Let’s give him a chance,” Mr Jackson says.

John Key's move to include the Maori party in his government should be seen as a sign of genuineness to address Maori issues.

KEY TALKS UP MAORI PARTY MINISTERS

Meanwhile Prime Minister designate John Key has praised the talents of Maori Party leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia saying that their inclusion in the government is a real bonus and not simply a matter of filling cabinet roles.

John Keys says he sees the Maori party very much as equal partners along with ACT and United forming an important part of government.

“When it comes to the individuals, both Pita and Tariana bring a lot to the table. I think Pita will be a great minister of Maori affairs. The biggest gift we can give is to ensure every youngster gets a world class education. Pita has a lot of experience in that area so he is really going to bring a lot to the table. Tariana the same. She has a lot of great ideas in her portfolio. I see it as a real bonus. It’s not like we are filling up cabinet roles with people who are not talented. These people are very talented,” Mr Key says.

HARE PUKE A TENACIOUS LEADER FOR TAINUI

Former Maori Affairs minister Parekura Horomia is paying his respects to Hare Puke, a former long-serving chairman of the Tainui Maori Trust Board.

Mr Puke of Ngati Wairere, Ngati Mahuta and the Tainui waka died on Saturday at the age of 84.

His tangi at Hukanui marae near Gordonton tomorrow will be followed by his internment on Taupiri mountain.

Parekura Horomia says Hare Puke was a longtime campaigner for Maori.

“He certainly was somebody I respected and had the privilege of spending many a year with. Hare was tenacious about the wananga, about rangatahi development. He was a great elder and a great leader in his own right and sadly we are losing people like Hare and he will be well remembered,” Mr Horomia says.

RICKARDS SAYS PAYMENT FOR NEW START

Former Assistant Police Commissioner Clint Rickards has broken his silence over his payout from the NZ police saying it was substantially less than people might believe.

Last year he signed an agreement which saw him get $300,000 before tax... which amounted to around $180,000 in the hand... or 13 months salary plus leave entitlements.

Mr Rickards was suspended from duty on full pay for three years while he was investigated, prosecuted and acquitted of 20 charges including the rape and sexual violation of Louise Nicholas when she was a teenager in Rotorua in the 1980s.

He had wanted to continue on as a police officer after his acquittal, but says putting his family first was the priority, so he agreed to a settlement.

“Oh look, I mean I gave 28 years of my life to the police and I was assistant commissioner. I probably could have stayed on, fought the fight, but I decided the priority for me was my family.

“It was something I decided to take, it was something that was sufficient for me to allow me to finish my degree and it’s something for me now hopefully that I can progress,” Mr Rickards says.

He has been deemed a "fit and proper person" to practice as a lawyer by the New Zealand Law Society... and is hoping to work in Treaty and Maori land law.

JACKSON POSITIVE MAORI MINISTERS CAN BE EFFECTIVE

Former MP and political commentator Willie Jackson believes Maori Party leaders Pita Sharples and Turiana Turia are ideally positioned to make real gains for Maori in the new government.

Willie Jackson says while their Ministerial responsibilities for Moari Affairs and the Community and Voluntary sectors respectively are important it is their associate minister positions covering education, corrections, health and social development where they will be able to achieve big things for Maori.

“I think it’s fantastic. That’s exactly what we want and that’s exactly what we are going to get changed so we can get as much resourcing as possible across back into Maoridom because the reality is we are so under-resourced in some areas, Maori health providers, education providers, you name it, Maori broadcasting, we get under-resourced in every area. Now we’ve got ministers who hopefully will do the business for us and get some of the resourcing that we deserve,” Mr Jackson says.

He rejects suggestions that the Maori party have been silenced by not being able to speak in these areas saying Pita Sharples and Turiana Turia are in positions to make a real difference.

LABOUR ADVANCES NEED PROTECTING FROM RIGHT

However new Labour leader Phil Goff says the achievements the last government made for Maori will need to be protected from right wing elements in the new government.

Mr Goff says as an example the last government more than halved the unemployment rate for Maori workers and there will need to be vigilance to see Maori employment does not fall back.

“The achievements that we have made will need to be protected because I think there are right wing elements within Act and also within National that would like to diminish the achievements we have put in place,” Mr Goff says.

Labour will be going back to the Maori people with meetings around the country to discuss what they want into the future.

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