Waatea News Update

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Hui calms climate change fears

Maori are comfortable with the approach the government is taking on climate change following a hui in Wellington yesterday attended by a range of government officials.

Mark Solomon, the Ngai Tahu representative on the Climate Change Iwi Leaders Group, says those present were pleased with what they heard from the officials in advance of the announcement of New Zealand’s Emissions Target for the year 2020 next Monday.

“It was a pretty good hui. We had about five of the Crown officials there just updating us on where the Crown was at, what they’re likely to be negotiating for when they go over to Copenhagen. They are being a bit stauncher than Labour was. I don’t think National wants to be world leader but we will certainly play our part in all this but overall we were pretty comfortable with the approach the government was taking,” Mr Solomon says.

The government is listening to all the issues for Maori including the possibility of Maori being disadvantaged including the impact of forest clearing for farming.

International negotiations to address climate change are reaching a critical point, leading up to a major United Nations conference in Copenhagen later this year.


Labour leader Phil Goff says rejection of Sir Wira Gardiner as party president shows that the National party leopard has not changed its spots as far as race relations go.

Phil Goff says that political commentor Chris Trotter was probably right in saying that one of the reasons Sir Wira was not acceptable to National was because with his wife MP Hekia Parata he had walked out when former leader Don Brash made his infamous Orewa speech seen by many Maori as racist.

“Not withstanding all the fine words being spoken at the moment, this is the National Party that backed Don Brash to the hilt over the Orewa speech. This is the National Party that went into the election campaign on the basis of scrapping the Maori seats. People are probably justified in thinking a leopard doesn’t change its spots,” Mr Goff says.


The chair of Northland's Te Runanga o Te Rarawa says the $40 million Community Max initiative will help to curb high youth unemployment rates in rural areas.

Haami Piripi says rangatahi in his area want to work however a lack of resources has in turn created a lack of interest, drive and motivation.

“We can get double whammies out of these sorts of situations by providing cultural strength and some infrastructure to make sure the thing happens properly so in my experience yeah it’s been that they are just looking for something better to do, these kids, and they will do it,” Mr Piripi says.

The Community Max scheme will support up to 3000 places on community projects for young people.


The chairperson of the Maori trust which owns 20 percent of New Zealand's third mobile network 2 degrees launched yesterday says it is a major milestone for Maori.

Mavis Mullins says the launch of 2 degrees is putting Maori at the forefront of technological development in New Zealand.

“It is a significant step. The launch of the commercial entity and the success of the commercial entity is gong to enable us to get more Maori involved in this sector, and that is going to be great,”

Mrs Mullins says 2 Degrees which is offering pre-paid mobile calls at half of what customers can get from the incumbent operators the will benefit all New Zealanders and not just Maori.

Mavis Mullins chairs the Hautaki Trust, a pan-Maori investment trust which was allocated rights to a share of the radio spectrum during the Government 3G auction in 2000.


A Maori trust in the heart of the North Island sees ewe’s milk as a way to make the most of this country's large sheep population.

Graeme Everton of the Waituhi Kuratau Trust, which milks 2500 sheep, says as the market matures there as a huge potential for the trust and other Maori landowners to take advantage of the fledgling industry.

“Forty million sheep in New Zealand. Out of that, 8000 to 10,000 will be milked a year. We have the capacity to produce very good high quality milk. Ewe’s milk is better for you, it doesn’t get stored as fat for instance, if you can’t drink cow’s milk, you potentially can drink sheep’s milk. It has a higher quality of minerals. It’s more designed for human systems,” Mr Everton says.

The trust has invested in a milking platform and cheese factory in Matatoki to produce cheese, ice cream and beauty products.


The Tairawhiti District Health board which has some of the worst health statistics in the country is not resting on its laurels, despite meeting its target to increase its Maori workforce.

Chief executive Jim Green says the board has established new positions and services in a bid to reduce these inequalities.

But more work is needed in encouraging access to further training in order to bridge the gap.

“Back in 2006 18 percent of our staff were Maori and now we are up to 25 percent so that’s been a slow and steady increase, not fast enough, but one of the issues around of that is Maori access to and graduation from clinical courses,” Mr Green says.

The DHB is working with the Tairawhiti Polytech to bring midwifery training to the district from the end of this year which will further improve Maori employment rates.


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