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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, January 30, 2009

Jobs summit about new jobs, not old ones

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is defending the exclusion of unions from this week's Maori jobs summit.

Mrs Turia says they weren't missed, as the focus of the hui was looking at economic opportunity in the face of the recession.

“I don't think that the unions should be offended. There were a lot of Maori people who weren’t invited to go so there will be a number of sectors that weren’t invited to go either. This was forward looking and looking more at what people cold do to stimulate the economy rather than how they protect the jobs,” Mrs Turia says.

Maori who are laid off because of the recession should think seriously about taking time off for study so they can move beyond vulnerable low skill jobs.


Meanwhile, former Labour cabinet minister John Tamihere says Pita Sharples stole the jump on John Key.

The head of west Auckland's Te whanau O Waipareira Trust says the Minister of Maori Affairs showed great skill in pulling together pull together a forum of influential Maori leaders to respond to the global economic crisis.

He says that would not have happened with the previous government.

“Pita Sharples has shown his leadership skills are extraordinary. He preempted the Prime Minister’s jobs summit. In Labour we would never have been allowed to do that. The Maoris would have had to have waited for Helen Clark to run a job summit, and we would have had a bit to play in there. What Pete’s done, because he’s in the Maori Party is politically savvy, very astute, on the from foot from day one of the new parliament,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says Maori are not responsible for the economic mayhem caused by the greed shown in Wall St, Queen St or Lambton Quay, but they will be among the first to feel the affects.


An Auckland University academic believes his research on child abuse in the United States and across the Tasman can help improve Maori parenting.

Family psychology professor Matt Sanders, who is also director of the University of Queensland's Parenting and Family Support Centre, worked on a population trial of the Triple P System in South Carolina and Australia.

Triple P stands for positive parenting programme, and it aims to provide consistent support to parents.

Professor Sanders says the system could be redeveloped for New Zealand conditions in partnership with Maori.

“These kind programmes are likely to be not only accepted by parents but they will look forward to doing them because this is not about catching out parents who are struggling, this is about supporting all families and recognising it's a tough job being a parent,” Professor Sanders says.

He is setting up a Triple P research centre in Auckland.


Maori groups are preparing practical proposals to take to next month's Prime Minister's jobs summit.

Ngatata Love, the chair of this week's Maori jobs summit, says the ideas thrown up show Maori aren't going to be caught napping in the economic crisis, as happened in the late 1980s.

He says despite the short notice, hui participants had a clear idea of what they could contribute to New Zealand's economic well being.

They are now looking forward to the February 27 hui.

“The Maori initiatives will be very practical, they will be able to be implemented within the 12 months time frame or less, they will be creating jobs rather than speculating about how we can change various systems and policies to allow things to happen. I think our people will go their with actual practical solutions, and I think they could be the star of the show,” Professor Love says.

Many Maori groups have land in places where housing is needed, including at least 300 sites in Wellington, and by working with government agencies they can get to work while materials are cheap and labour is available.


Meanwhile, the country's largest Maori tertiary organisation is gearing up to take advantage of the recession.

Te Wananga o Aotearoa had its roots in the last major recession, when it started as a training centre attached to a Te Awamutu high school.

Its target this year is 21,000 student positions, and chief executive Bentham Ohia says it has built up considerable experience upskilling people who may have been overlooked by the school system.

“Our organisation when it started was to be an option available to those people in training towards improving their employability in the future. There’s an opportunity for the organisation to position to extend its support to our traditional market base but also to others who will be made redundant from their work,” Mr Ohia says.

The wananga's low or nil fee policy helps break down the barriers to further study.


The national kapa haka competitions are to return to Olympic style judging, which could remove some of the allegations of bias which have flared up in recent years.

Te Matatini will be held in the baypark Stadium in Tauranga in three weeks, with Te Arawa teams back in the competiton after a four year boycott.

Trevor Maxwell, the kaiwhakahaere for Rotorua-based team Nga Uri O Te Whanua, says recent competitions included the scores of all four judges for each discipline.

A hui of regional delegates late last year decided to revert back to an older scoring system.

“The judging has gone back to something that worked before, the Olympic system in having four judges per discipline, and the top mark is taken off and the bottom mark is taken off. It takes away any bias or favouritism or maverick,” Mr Maxwell says.

Delegates also voted to increase from six to nine the number of teams involved in the Sunday finals, and all finalists will take to the stage with a clean slate.


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