Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Welfare minister Bennett praised

Longtime National MP and Cabinet Minister Georgina Te Heuheu is singing the praises of highflyer fellow Maori MP Paula Bennett who is the bolter in the new government as Minister of Social Development and Employment

Georgina Te Heuheu says she shares a particular affinity with Paula Bennett who also grew up in the Taupo area and then was a domestic purposes benifiaciary in West Auckland for a number of years before entering parliament in the last term.

“In her way I suppose her feel for getting up and determining your own future and seeking independence and self-reliance, I guess those sprang out of her life in her early days. I think she’s done extremely well and I just look forward to being part of the Cabinet she is in,” she says.

Mrs te Heuheu becomes Minister for Courts, Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control and Associate Minister of Maori Affairs.


A new time requires a new approach... that's the word from Tukoroirangi Morgan after six iwi leaders met with Prime Minister designate John Key to discuss the incoming government's take on Maori policy.

Mr Morgan, who chairs Waikato-Tainui, says Friday's group... which included representatives from Tuwharetoa, Whanganui, Ngati Porou, Nga Puhi and Ngai Tahu wanted to ensure that the treaty settlements process was safe in light of National's policy to settle all historic claims by 2014.

He says they also discussed broader issues.

“How do we approach Maori development across the landscape, across the board, economically, socially, the full gamut. The engagement was not only necessary but it was historic in terms of having access to the power brokers in this country,” Mr Morgan says.

The group agreed to meet again for a sustained "working session".


The potential to create a Pacific brand under the name Hawaiki recieved a shot in the arm at the first Takitimu Festival which wrapped up in the Hawkes Bay over the weekend.

Organiser Tama Huata says the hui brought together peoples from islands throughout the Pacific, who share connections to the waka which eventually landed in Aotearoa.

There has been a push to establish a Hawaiki brand, to unify Pacific interests in the tourism and fishing industries, and the Takitimu Festival was a chance to discuss the concept further.

“It has to help because we’re part of that branding as well, we’re part of that Hawaiki nation, and all waka are part of that Hawaiki nation. The opportunity that has been created from the Takitimu Festival will certainly help to do that,” Mr Huata says.


The ability of the Maori party to criticise the government in areas where it has portfolio responsibility is emerging as major political issue.

New Labour leader Phil Goff says as an example he would be very concerned that with Pita Sharples associate Minister of Corrections, the Maori party will not be able to speak out in that area.

“Everybody knows our prisons have far too many Maori people in it. The policies of ACT would actually result in maybe doubling the number of people in prison. Does that mean Pita loses his public voice to speak out on things which he an I, when we were on the same platform, tended to agree on. I think it would be really good to get an answer on some of those questions so we can get an idea of what the price was of going into government,” Mr Goff says.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples who becomes Minister of Maori Affairs and associate Minister of Corrections and Education has confirmed that as part of its agreement with National the Maori party will not speak out in these areas.

Nor will it be publicly critical in the area of the Community and Voluntary sector where Turiana Turia is Minisiter, or Health and Social Development, including employment, where she will be an associate Minister.

Pita Sharples says education is a good example of an area were he believes the gains he will be able to make within government will be worth keeping his silence.

“In the portfolios that we have we can’t challenge but hopefully we get the gains out of having literate kids. Half the kids can’t read properly, that’s the real tragedy and that’s the area I want to get into and that will make major change to the communities in which many of our people are dysfunctional. You do that. You make a decision, ‘I will not attack if you give me room to develop in these areas,’ and I think that is a very good trade off,” Dr Sharples says.


The organiser of the Maori Sports Awards wants to see a new criteria acknowledging cross cultural efforts.

Dick Garrett says problems arise each year when teams which have shone on the international stage are nominated.

“There's John Kirkpatrick in shearing that won a world title in the pairs but of course his partner was a Pakeha. Marie and Jan Khan won the world bronze medal in the triple but the third was a Pakeha, so there are a lot out there achieving in teams but not all Maori teams,” Mr Garratt says.

This year’s awards are in Rotorua on the 13th of December.


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