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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tainui’s run of surpluses ends

The recession has brought Tainui’s six year growth run to a sharp halt, with the tribe’s commercial arms reporting a $26.7 million net deficit for the year to March.

That compares with the combined net surplus of $52.4 million Tainui Group Holdings and Waikato Tainui Fisheries made in 2008.

Group chief executive Mike Pohio says the unrealised deficit is largely due to declining property values which were foreshadowed last year, a fall in the net worth of managed funds and equity investments, and the fact that there were no one-off gains as had been the case in the previous year.

“It is tough times. The property revaluations though for example in 2008 had an uplift of some $24 million. Last year’s was a downturn of $23 million so across the two years all of our properties have held their values. It’s the future we’re looking at now as we turn the corner,” Mr Pohio says.

The company is looking forward the development of the Base shopping Mall in Hamilton and a hotel complex in Auckland at a time when it can get competitive prices for building.

He says when these two developments are completed he is confident the country will have come out of recession.

Tainui Group Holdings recorded a net operating profit of $14.7m down from $18.5m for the prior year due largely to a reduction in sales of residential sections, and higher interest costs from recent acquisitions.


A new drug to overcome drug resistant Hepatitis B is good news for Maori, says a specialist from the NZ Liver Unit in Auckland.

Hepatologist Ed Gane says Maori are more than six times likely than Pakeha to be affected by the viral infection, which can lead to fatal liver cancer.

He says the approval by Pharmac of a new medication, Entecavir, means Maori who have developed resistance to current antiviral treatments have another option.

About 200 people a year die from hepatitis B, which should be largely preventable through access to the new medicine.

“Entecivar is an enormous advance on what we have available,” Dr Gane says.

From August 1, Entecavir under the trade name Baraclude will be funded under Special Authority as a first line treatment option for people with hepatitis B.


The author of a book on woman in gangs says she hopes her stories will help inspire young Maori women to break through difficult life struggles.

Pip Desmond's book Trust: A True Story of Women and Gangs, tells the stories of ten gang-affiliated Maori women who participated in the Aroha Trust, a work co-operative set up in Wellington in the 1970’s.

Ms Desmond says she wanted to shine a light on the lives of the woman to give hope to rangatahi in the same situation.

“Young people always need the same things. They need secure families. They need work that’s meaningful. They need somewhere safe to sleep at night. They need something to believe in and belong to, and that’s what Aroha Trust gave the women back in the 1970s and I doubt very much whether that’s changed,” Ms Desmond says.

The woman in her book have worked hard to make something of their lives and children, despite gang backgrounds, racism, deprivation and social indifference.


Tainui Group Holdings, the trading arm of the Tainui iwi, is confident about the future despite a significant turn around in the company's fortunes during the past financial year.

In the year to the end of March the company recorded a combined net deficit of $26.7 million for the year, down from a net surplus of $52.4 million in 2008 largely due to declining property values, a fall in the net worth of equity investments, and the fact that there were no one-off gains as had been the case in the previous year.

However chief executive Mike Pokio says he is optimistic about the future.

“It’s the future we’re looking at now as we turn the corner out of the downward slide but we’ve come into this recession, we’re looking forward to the development of the Base and the Airport Hotel at a time we can get competitive costs and prices for construction and by the time we open those flagship developments the economy we are sure will have turned a better corner,” Mr Pohio says.

The Mall at the Base due for completion in 2011 will be a major regional shopping complex in the Waikato while the Airport hotel complex in Auckland will be another major source of revenue.


Labour leader Phil Goff is warning the government may attempt to use Maori development as a excuse for privatisation or selling government assets overseas.

Phil Goff says we have to be careful that privatisation is not justified by bringing in a Maori partner.

“You get the sense the government would like to justify both the selling off of assets overseas and privatisation by trying to find some cover such as ‘this will create some new opportunity for Maori development or some other form of development,” Mr Goff says.

While Labour is in favour of development like most New Zealanders it is firmly committed against selling public assets and strategic assets overseas which are both on the government agenda.


A New Zealand based Niuean singer is crediting two celebrated Maori performers with influencing his debut solo album, My Niue.

Former Ardijah member Tony T says he is paying tribute to Billy T James and Prince Tui Teka by including his own version of Teka’s hit E Ipo.

“I pretty much put my stage performance down to what I saw form him and the likes of Billy. They set the standard for live performance, the full entertainment where you joke around and you can sing a tune as well.”


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