Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tax change support a Maori tragedy

Labour's Maori Affairs spokesperson says the Maori Party's support of the Government's tax changes is a sad day for Maoridom.

The National-led Government is pushing through the changes under urgency, including cuts to Kiwisaver contributions, a new independent-earner allowance of $10 a week for workers without children earning between $24,000 and $44,000 a year, and tax cuts for people earning over $45,000.

Parekura Horomia says it was a betrayal of those who voted for the Maori Party.

“The group that's most affected is Maori because we’re under that wage bracket of $40,000, over 73 percent of our people, and they get nothing out of the tax cut.
Mr Horomia says.

Maori workers will also be one of the groups worst affected by letting employers fire workers at will during the first 90 days on the job.


A Manukau grandmother who graduated with a certificate in community nursing today has found her studies have turned her into a lifesaver.

Melissa Mills took the Manukau Institute of Technology course after observing the absence of Maori staff at the birth of her mokopuna.

Two weeks ago she administered first aid to a teenager who had a seizure in a store, and later the same day had to move quickly to stop her eight-month old daughter choking on a piece of chicken.

Ms Mills says before her study she would have panicked and been of little help but her training kicked at the right time.

“I reckon everyone should give it a go, it doesn’t matter how old you are. It’s the best thing I’ve done. I wish I had done it years ago because I wold have a diploma or a degree by now so I’m now working. I took that extra step to actually see if I could do it and it’s such good support from my family, it helped out a lot too,” Ms Mills says.

She is heading back to school next year to do a diploma in health promotion.


A feature film shot on a microbudget with a cast of mainly first time actors is getting a short public run in Auckland.

Taking the Waewae Express grew out of a teaching exercise by Wellington filmmakers Andrea Bosshard and Shane Loader.

Veteran actor Rangimoana Taylor, who plays the father, says it was supposed to be a 10-minute short, but the story developed by the actors of the after-effects of a fatal car accident, proved strong enough to sustain feature length.

He says the device invented by one of the characters, of inviting a new friend to the tangi, was an effective way to showcase Maori culture.

“The family get a bit shocked with it but it makes absolute sense, because during this time he tells her what to expect, and she asks questions and so when she’s asking questions about it, for those people who‘ve never been to a tangi, if they’re watching the film, then they say ‘aah, this is what happens’, and it’s done in a very light way,” Mr Taylor says.

Taking the Waewae Express is showing at the Academy cinema in Auckland during afternoons until next Wednesday.


Tainui's Te Arataura executive has succeeded in getting an early hearing on an injunction appplication against its restructuring plans.

The application by Tom Roa, the chair of the tribal parliament, Te Kauhanganui, will now be heard in the High Court at Hamilton tomorrow morning, instead of next week.

Mr Roa has told Te Kauhanganui members the executive, led by former MP Tukoroirangi Morgan, has overstepped its mandate.

Mr Morgan refused to comment before the hearing, but he's expected to argue that Te Arataura has the authority to make the changes, which include creating a new chief executive position to oversee both the tribe's commercial and social arms.

This would force the departure of the long-serving head of the Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust, Hemi Rau, and many of his staff.

The new positions have already been advertised.


The head of a south Auckland budget service is calling for financial literacy programmed in schools to address intergenerational poverty.

Darryl Evans from the Mangere Budget Service says without an understanding of the financial sector and how it works, young New Zealanders will repeat the mistakes of their parents.

He says it's vital work started by the last government continue.

“The Labour-led government ensured that every school across the country would have financial literacy and budgeting workshops and that’s what it’s about. It’s about educating our babies and our mokopuna at a younger age so they break the cycle of living in debt because in my view, living in debt is absolutely a learned behaviour. If your parents lived in debt, you’re far more likely to replicate that,” Mr Evans says.

Huge financial pressure is coming on all families, irrespective of household incomes.


New Labour MP Kelvin Davis says it was hard to keep his cool as he presented his maiden speech to parliament yesterday.

The former Kaitaia intermediate school principal entered Parliament on the list after unsuccessfully challenging Hone Harawira for the Taitokerau seat.

He says there was a good turnout of whanau in the gallery to hear his first speech in the House, including a very proud dad.

“It’s an emotional moment and you’re not just there on your own, you’re there because your people have put you there, and it is indeed an honour,” Mr Davis say.

He'll be keeping a keen eye on National's education policies, an in particular any attempt to impose unnecessary testing regimes on schools.


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