Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, March 16, 2009

Maori hit by recession

The Maori vice president of the Council of Trade Unions says employers are trying to load all the costs of the recession on their workers.

Sharon Clair says every day unions are being informed of more workers, many of them Maori, being laid off.

She says there is little evidence of the shared sacrifices and partnership being talked about at the Prime Minister's jobs summit.

“Our attempts to encourage employers to find alternative ways to encourage their staff are not really being committed to. There’s still companies looking at their bottom line profit margins and how they can ensure their shareholders get a return rather than asking their shareholders to come on board and take a hit along with all of us in this time of trial,” Ms Clair says.

She says the Government's nine day fortnight proposal fails the test of leaving no worker left behind, and isn't what the unions were seeking.


Maori legal services are celebrating a financial lifeline for community law centres.

The government is topping up a $7 million shortfall in the operating budgets of the country's 27 centres, which was caused by a slowdown in the housing market.

Community law centres are funded by interest on money in lawyers' trust accounts, which mostly comes from conveyancing.

Justice Minister Simon Power says the government will cover the cost until a more secure funding source is found.

Samantha Tamanui from Wellington-based Maori legal service Te Ratonga Ture says the centres had been facing cuts of up to 50 percent.

“It's fantastic news for us and our ability to help our people for at least another year, but it gives us a reprieve and it gives us some time to do some planning,” she says.

Te Ratonga Ture helps at least 100 clients a month, mostly on treaty claims and employment issues.


Te Waka Toi is looking beyond tertiary institutions for artists eligible for scholarships.
The Maori arts funding body has two Nga Karahipi a Te Waka Toi career development grants available for up and coming or established artists.
Maori advisor Haniko Te Kurapa says the 4-thousand dollar scholarships can cover the whole range of artforms, including music and dance, and are not confined to students in formal tertiary settings.
“Say if you have a tohunga teaching whakairo on the marae and they are being mentored on the marae, kei te pai to ra, so it is about supporting up and coming generations within the arts,” Mr Te Kurupa says.

Applications for Nga Karahipi a te Waka Toi close at the end of the month.


The Council of Trade Unions is taking the Maori Party to task for supporting the National Government's attacks on ACC.

Maori vice president Sharon Clair, who last year was tipped as a potential Maori party candidate, says many Maori workers voted for the party because they believed it would work in a principled manner.

But she says the attacks on the Accident Compensation Corporation and its former chair Ross Wilson are deliberately misleading and dishonest.

“The Maori Party should not be supporting National’s attacks on ACC because it’s been misled by National’s misinformation. What’s come out from many accountants is the National Party’s got the maths wrong so their justification for his dismissal is ideological,” Ms Clair says.

As ACC chair, Ross Wilson established a Maori advisory board to identify ways the corporation can better serve Maori.


Teacher turned politician Kelvin Davis says Unitec's new whare will be a valuable teaching resource for generations to come.

The $4 million dollar house was opened last week.

The Labour list MP and former Kaitaia Intermediate principal says it's vital Maori children get access to such whare.

“The fact that those carvings relate stories in our history, it’s important that that becomes a normal part of life for everyone to understand and know what those stories in those carvings hold so that it’s not just knowledge held by a select few, it’s knowledge for everybody,” Mr Davis says.


A group representing Maori in film and television is looking to iwi to extend high speed broadband out beyond the main centres.

Pita Turei, the executive officer for Nga Aho Whakari, says Tuhoe and Ngati Wai are already experimenting with connecting up rural communities, and other iwi may follow.

He says iwi have different drivers to the main telecommunications companies.

“They're interested in the big populations, the big cities, and under iwi management we’ll get that broadband reach right out through the motu. The we sort of increase our ability to work from home and to work globally and to market our television, our radio, our film and such in a different way,” Mr Turei says.

He says digital technologies can allow Maori artists and broadcasters to remain productive against the tide of the recession.


A simple plastic knife could boost paua stocks.

Maori make up a large percentage of recreational and commercial paua divers, and the new knife is part of a strategy to make divers more aware of the need to protect juvenile fish.

Ten thousand of the knives will be distributed by fisheries officers nationwide.

Andrew Coleman, the Fisheries Ministry's national compliance manager of compliance, says paua are haemophiliacs.

That means they keep bleeding if their flesh is cut by a steel knife or screwdriver, so undersize paua put back in the water are unlikely to survive.

“The paua knives are designed to lift them up carefully, make a decision about whether you are going to keep them, which is why the knife has a measurement on it, and if there is an issue with it, pop it back in and it has a good chance of survival,” Mr Coleman says.


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