Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Co-leader Turei keen to attract Maori to Greens

Green's co-leader Meteria Turei says if fellow co-leader Russell Norman wins the Mt Albert bi-election it will bring another Green Maori MP into parliament.

Speaking following her election as co-leader to replace Jeanette Fitzsimmons at the weekend, Meteria Turei says the Greens have always had a strong Maori focused kaupapa.

She says her election to the co-leadership role will attract more Maori to the party.

“It helps to bring Maori issues to the fore but also it means that Maori can reflect back on Parliament and see themselves in these kinds of positions, and that’s what we want, we want to keep building up models of leadership in different ways. For example, if Russel Norman wins Mt Albert, we will get our second Maori MP, Dave Clendon, into Parliament as well,” Ms Turei says.

The Mt Albert by-election takes place on June 13.


Labour leader Phil Goff says the budget was not a good one for Maori.

He says the budget forecast unemployment to climb to 8.3 percent or 180,000 people without work.

“We know as always it’s the Pasifika and Maori sections of the community that will suffer from the highest levels of unemployment and yet in the Budget not a thing. Not a thing to carry out any of the discussions form the Jobs Summit, the Industry Training Organisation actually complained bitterly that the funds for skills training had been cut,” Mr Goff says.

Because the Maori population is younger than the wider population, it will also be particularly affected by the government cutting contributions into the super fund over the next 10 years.

He says this will leave a $35 billion hole in funding for super when the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age which the younger generation, where Maori are disproportionately represented, will have to pay.


Maori party MP Hone Harawira is delighted that a friend and fellow Maori issues campaigner Saana Murray has been recognised with the award of a CNZM in the Queens Birthday honours list.

Hone Harawira says Aunty Saana has been a battler for Maori rights all her life who has encouraged others to excel.

“She never ever resiled from being strong and positive and challenging. She was always, and always has been, the kind of person who Pakeha say call a spade a spade, that’s Aunty Saana,” Mr Harawira says.

Saana Murray received her Companion of the New Zealand of Merit award for services to the community.


Labour says Maori will be particularly hard hit by budget changes to superannuation.

Leader Phil Goff says cutting contributions into the super fund over the next 10 years this will leave a $35 billion hole in funding for super when the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age.

“This will particularly affect Maori people because the Maori population is younger than the wider population and guess who’ll be paying more taxes to pay for that, it will be the younger population and in particular, disproportionately, the Maori population,” Mr Goff says.

He believes the younger generation will eventually refuse to pay.


A longtime involvement with Maori King Tuheitia and his mother the late Te Atairangikaahu has earned Tainui kuia Puahaere Rutene membership of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Ms Rutene, known as Taini, has been secretary to the Kingitanga for 16 years.

Kaumatua Tui Adams says she has become invaluable.

“ We depend on her entirely not just for services and that but as a contact point. If we want to know anything at all, particularly about the Kingitanga or the whereabouts we will be at over the next three or four weeks, we will get in touch with her,” Mr Adams says.

Puahaere Rutene was also acknowledged for her services to netball.


Paihia residents were treated to a day of kite making to mark the beginning of Matariki.

Jenny Baker, who ran the workshop yesterday says although she is from England she feels a close affinity with the kaupapa of Matariki.

She says everyone had a great time and enjoyed creating their own piece of art to signify the day.

Jenny Baker says the workshops were so popular she may run another before the end of Matariki at the end of this month.

Official Matariki celebrations start when the constellation Matariki or Pliedes rises above the horizon after the next new moon on June 24.


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