Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, March 02, 2009

Infrastructure spending needs to be strategic

A Maori unionist wants any government spending on infrastructure to be tagged to local employment and long term benefits.

Syd Kepa from the Council of Trade Unions runanga says the jobs of Maori workers seem particularly vulnerable in economic downturns.

But he says they often miss out on the benefits of remedial action, such as in his own Hauraki rohe, where the fast track replacement of the Kopu Bridge is unlikely to involve laid off local Maori workers.

“About two km down the road from there was a sawmill shut down that had been contributing to that economy for 25 years, 130 workers were laid off so if they are going to look at infrastructure, it is gong to be one that is going to provide on an ongoing basis rather than just a hit and run thing,” Mr Kepa says.


Tauranga MP Simon Bridges made a special trip to the King Country over the weekend, to reconnect with his maori heritage.

A powhiri was held on Saturday at Oparure Marae, near Te Kuiti, for Mr Bridges and his whanau, with support from his Tauranga Moana kaumatua.

Ngati Maniapoto kaumatua Tui Adams says Mr Bridges is one in a number of Maori MPs with ties to Ngati Maniapoto - including Cabinet minister Paula Bennett.

He says it’s heartening to see Maori MPs celebrating their taha Maori.

“We have Nanaia there all the time and on the last few days Tariana there for a couple of days so we had our whanaunga from Parliament there and to see Simon touching base with his whanau, it’s a great honour and a privilege for all of us,” Mr Adams.


Rugby Commentator Ken Laban says he's salivating at the thought of two top Maori players backs combining again at representative level.

The Wainuiomata based broadcaster and community worker says Piri Weepu and Luke McAlister are the cream of the crop.

Ken Laban says a strong relationship with Blues board member Grant Fox was behind McAlister’s decision to return to play in New Zealand rather take up lucrative offers to stay in Europe.

“There's no way in the word the New Zealand Rugby Union would have ben able to match the money Luke was going to be offered to play in France for two more years and for him to answer that call from Grant, I mean Grant won’t admit it publicly but I think it’s a wonderful move that Luke McAllster is coming back in May and hopefully he will be available for the international season,” Mr Laban says.

Piri Weepu from Whakatohea has been the standout performer in the first two rounds of the super 14, and led the Hurricanes to a 30-24 win over the defending champions, the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday night.


In a show of political inclusiveness the government has appointed former Labour Cabinet Minister Paul Swain as the Crown's lead negotiator in talks with Ngati Porou on the settlement of historical grievances.

Treaty negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson says by engaging talented people like Mr Swain, the Government is again demonstrating through action its commitment to reaching full and lasting settlements of historical grievances under the Treaty of Waitangi.

“I've always liked Paul Swain. He’s a political opponent but I don’t think he’s a political enemy. I think he did a good job as a minister and I think he has a good combination of knowledge of government, technical skills, a trade union background that would serve him well as a negotiator so I’m quite happy to bring those sorts of people into my team because this is a bipartisan project, it’s too important for party politics, and I want the best people working with me,” Mr Finlayson says.

At the same time although his office is making no comment there is considerable speculation that former Treaty negotiations minister Michael Cullen is set to quit politics and become a negotiator for central North Island iwi Tuwharetoa.


The new president of the Labour Party says reconnecting with Maori voters is high on his list of priorities.

Andrew Little, who heads the Engineering Printing and Manufacturers Union, says while the Maori Party has taken away some of Labour’s traditional Maori support, most Maori voters still gave their party vote to Labour.

He says there is a strong chance the two parties could work together in the future, but right now his priority is to strengthen well-established ties.

“Last year’s election shows there’s a fair amount of work needed to reconnect with Labour’s traditional base and that’s been acknowledged in the party and key is our relationship with Maori and to some extent with the Maori Party as well so I certainly see those as major issues that have to be dealt with over the next couple of years.’ Says Mr Little, who has taken over from Mike Williams as the president of the Labour Party.


A Maori fisherman who has been at sea since he was a kid is becoming a television celebrity.

Rewi Bull, from Colac Bay, skippers the crayboat Shangri La out of Bluff.
He features in Million Dollar Catch, a 10 part television series on the exploits of the crayfishing fleets working the bottom of the South Island.

Mr Bull, who fishes around Milford Sound, hopes this year's crayfish season is as good as the last.

“The crayfish industry has come back a bit in recent years after big quota cuts and a lot of survey work and managing the fishery better and it has come back a bit. Ten years of so ago it was pretty bad and a few guys got out of it. It’s coming right. Hopefully it’s not a one off thing. The fish seem to be good so hopefully we can keep looking after them," Mr Bull says.

It took a while to get used to having a film crew on board, but all the skippers profiled enjoyed the series premiere at a Bluff pub last week.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

im loving million dollar catch and its awesome to see new zealanders supporting new zealanders we should be proud this has come out of wee nz

2:08 PM  

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