Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, June 12, 2009

Waiheke workforce for the scrap heap

The mainly Maori workforce at Waiheke's recycling plant is headed for the scrap heap after an Auckland City Council committee voted to give the island's rubbish contract to an Australian multinational.

The Citizens and Ratepayers majority on the City Development Committee disqualified a tender from incumbent recycler Clean Stream because it allegedly lobbyied councillors.

Clean Stream managing executive John Stansfield says he was merely challenging false statements by council officials about the effectiveness of the VISY plant at Onehunga, where Transpacific Industries will process Waiheke's waste along with glass, paper and plastics from the rest of the city.

He says the decision ignores the wishes of island residents and will cost Waiheke dearly.

“We're a community-owned enterprise and we pride ourselves in investing heavily ion our people. There are so many ways the community will miss out. We’ve been big contributors to the renaissance of community gardens, big gardens at the marae, we’ve put in a lot of compost and mulch and building materials into all of those things. All of those opportunities will be lost to our community,” Mr Stansfield says,

Clean Stream will shut up shop at the end of the month, but there might only be jobs for a third of the staff under the new recycler.


Maori blind support group Ngati Kapo O Aotearoa has won a $500,000 Health Research Council grant to improve children's access to ophthalmology services.

Chief executive, Chrissie Cowan, says some of the money will be used to create a data base so whanau can quickly find what help is available in their area.

She says there are simple interventions which can improve the quality of life for kapo or vision-impaired tamariki, but the information comes at a cost.

She says being able to make contact with members wasn’t previously seen as a priority by funders.


Former All Black first five and centre Arthur Stone will finally get his cap today.

Over the next year the New Zealand Rugby Union intends to cap more than 400 players whose tenure in the A-Bs was between the end of the second world war and 1997, when the tradition of capping was reintroduced.

Mr Stone, from Ngati Pukeko, Tuhoe and Te Arawa, played nine tests between 1981 and 1986 as well as 30 games for the Maori All Blacks.

He is looking forward to today's ceremony in Dunedin.


The Minister of Treaty Negotiators is putting his faith in a team of high-powered Crown negotiators to take treaty settlements forward.

Chris Finlayson this week hosted a hui to review the settlement process, where he announced extra support for claimant groups who don't qualify for funds from the Crown Forestry Rental Trust.

He also wants to formalise the group he is using to lead negotiations.

“Paul Swain’s fantastic. Pat Sneddon, who was working for the previous government, is very good indeed, and John Wood, twice former ambassador in Washington, Tim Groser tells me he was one of the best negotiators he ever dealt with, I’m getting him involved in the Whanganui claims. What I’m hoping to do is bring together a small group of these negotiators, make them a team so they’re meeting with me regularly, and meeting with one another regularly, and I think it’s going to work out extremely well,” Mr Finlayson says.

There was also $22.4 million in the Budget for the Office of Treaty Settlements to speed up the settlement process.


Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia wants to see anti-smoking campaigns targeted at young people to capitalise on a drop off of tobacco take-up among rangatahi.

The latest biennial survey by Action on Smoking and Health has found only three and a half thousand to the 24,000 fourth formers interviewed admitted to being smokers - and the number of Maori girls taking up the habit at that age dropped 8 points to 21 percent.

Mrs Turia says too many of the 5 thousand deaths in New Zealand each year directly attributable to smoking are Maori, and every effort must be made to discourage people from trying tobacco in the first place.
“It has a huge impact on the tinana and we know how addictive it is and how hard it is to give up so preventing young people getting engaged with it should be the first step,” Mrs Turia says.


Kiwi Rugby League selector Tony Kemp says starting Lance Hohaia at half back for the Warriors may be just what the team needs to get back on track.

The Auckland-based team is on the back foot at the half way point of the season, with a four win, eight loss record.

Mr Kemp says Hohaia, from Waikato, has the skill and experience to make a difference, being the Warriors’ best and most consistent player over the past 24 months.

He says Hohaia alongside Stacey Jones may be the combination to get the Warriors from 12th on the table to a top eight spot.

The Warriors play Newcastle tonight at home in Mt Smart.


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