Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quitline effective for Maori smokers

Maori smokers who use the help of quitline are four times more likely to stop than those going cold turkey on their own.

Quitlines Maori advisor, Denise Messiter, says a new study shows the support systems of Quitline appear to be working well for whanau.

One in five Maori smokers signing up with the Quitline gave up smoking after six months compared to a success rate of around one-in-twenty-five for people quitting cold turkey.

TAINUI EARNINGS FLAT UNTIL HOTEL BUILT

Tainui’s commercial arm is predicting flat earnings over the next few years as its core property development business weathers the recession.

Tainui Group Holdings reported net operating profit of $14.7 million in the year to March, is down from $18.5 million in 2008.

An 8 percent decline in asset values, including $40 million off its property portfolio and a million dollar write down in the tribe’s share of the Maori fisheries settlement, meant a net deficit of $27 million in the year to March.

Total assets now stand at $484 million.

However, the company had shelved its residential property developments in expectation of the slump, and it also withdrew its money from the sharemarkets.

That gave it the resources to proceed with its major project, a mall at The Base shopping precinct in Te Rapa.

The company was still able to pay a $10 million dividend to its shareholder.

HEPATITIS TESTS VITAL TO REDUCE LIVER CANCER RISK

A liver specialist from Auckland is highlighting the need for Maori aged 20 and over to be tested for Hepatitis B.

Ed Gane, a hepatologist from the NZ Liver Unit, says Maori are 6 times more likely to have Hepatitis B than Europeans.

But he says less than 20 percent of all Maori with chronic Hepatitis B know that they have the condition.

He says most people presenting at weekly clinics with liver cancer have never been tested, and the majority are Maori.

While neo-natal vaccination is effective in preventing the younger generation from getting Hepatitis B, all Maori over the age of 20 who were born before vaccination are at risk.

INTERNATIONAL INTEREST IN MAORI POLICING STYLE

International police are impressed by the way Maori protestors and the police are working together.

This was one of the messages given to the Police National Maori Responsiveness Conference held in Porirua over the past two days.

Senior Sergeant Glen Mackay says the way police focus on how to work with Maori provides a unique framework to international police, and the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed hikoi especially was a success in the non-violent way that it was conducted.

“The way we policed that event for want of a better word, the way we worked alongside our whanau became something for international studies because there were other police organisations throughout the world wanting to work closer with their communities and wondered how we were able to move 50,000 or 60,000 people through that two week timeframe without any incidents whatsoever,” Senior Sergeant Mackay says.

The conference is about how participants can further strengthen and develop their influence among Maori.

SELF APPOINTED EXPERT CLAIMS PREGNANCY LIFESTYLE CHOICE

At least half the Maori parents on the DPB were on some form of benefit as a teenager.

That was one of the findings in a paper by welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell who says the statistics support a growing trend of the domestic purposes benefit becoming more of a lifestyle occupation for whanau rather than a temporary means of support.

“Maori in particular have a very high teenage birth rate. It’s about three times higher than non-Maori. And most of the births happen in the poorest areas so you’ve got them congregated in to one area and because it’s happening to a lot of girls it becomes more normalized and accepted. It’s not good for children to be on welfare long term,” Ms Mitchell says.

In a report written for the Business Round Table Lindsay Mitchell floated the idea of privatising the welfare system and reducing the number of Maori teenagers on the DPB by axing it.

BENEFIT SYSTEM OVERHAUL NEEDED

However economist Susan St John disagrees with Ms Mitchell and says what is needed to help whanau stuck in a generational use of the welfare system is a Royal Commission.

Dr St John says the current system is archaic and needs to be revamped. She says the DPB does not take into account how whanau in the 21st century are made up, or how they operate.

She says it's unwise to target Maori teenagers on the DPB as they are already in need of help.

“The welfare state is designed to provide a backstop to that situation and so when it’s used in its rightful way, to turn around say it is the cause of the problem, which I suspect is a little but what Lindsay Mitchell’s paper is about, then it’s very counterproductive. Taking away the welfare state at this point would be devastating and completely inappropriate,” Dr St John says.

She says the $600 million spent on welfare services is a symptom of the many economic changes that have occurred since the DPB was set up in 1973.

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