Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Loan guarantee scheme extended to Maori land

The government expects huge interest in a loan guarantee scheme for homes on multiply owned Maori land.

Housing minister Phil Heatley says the scheme follows discussions with all major banks.

It involves extending the government-funded Welcome Home Loan mortgage insurance scheme to people building on multiple-owned Maori land.

He says hapu and iwi have been frustrated by their inability to borrow because the banks could not seize the land if the mortgage went into default.

“There's a number of projects that have been put on the shelf for decades which will now be dusted off and we will get into those pretty much straight away. There will be others that take time to develop, But the important thing is we have taken time to find a solution to a very real problem which is Maori not being able to access finance because banks don’t get security when it’s multiple owned Maori land,” Mr Heatley says.

The scheme will provide a building and employment boost in rural areas.


Whanau with members in Rotorua Hospital can now have a comfortable place to stay.

The hospital has finished upgrading and expanding its Paimarie Whanau Accommodation complex from a single building to six motel type units.

The units are managed by the hospital's Te Whakaruruhau Maori health team.

Phyllis Tangitu, the general manager for Maori health, says it's a boon for patients from the wider Bay of Plenty area.

Lakes District health Board covered the $500,000 cost of the building, while Te Whakapono Health Trust raised $100,000 for furniture and fittings.


A leading member of the Black Panthers is using some of his time in New Zealand to explore connections with the fight for Maori rights.

Emory Douglas, whose artworks provided the graphic face of the Black Panther Party in its heyday in the 1960s and 70s, is Auckland University's artist in residence for the next month.

He says the Panthers felt they were in a common struggle with other minorities around the world like Maori who had been oppressed.

Emory Douglas will give a public lecture at the university next Monday on the Art of Revolution.


The head of the service fighting truancy in South Auckland says cutting funds for adult literacy will have a major impact across the region.

Bill Takerei from Manukau Truancy Services says the classes have been invaluable for the area's large Maori and Pacific Island communities.
He says when parents can't read, they often encourage their children to stay home from school.

“They need their child home to translate, to communicate to the people they want to see around their benefit some times or to assist them because their communication isn’t so good because they didn’t achieve some adult literacy to assist them with those day to day problems as parents,” Mr Takarei says.

He says truanting children often come under the influence of gangs, leading to far more serious problems.


A body set up to increase the Maori health workforce has occupational therapists in its sights.

Te Rau Matatini chief executive Kirsty Maxwell-Crawford says the new Te Umanga Whakaora plan provides a training and career framework that includes cultural competency.

She says there are only a handful of Maori trained to get people back into work after accident or illness, yet 50 percent of the demand for mental health and addiction services comes from Maori.

The challenge now is to encourage more Maori to take up occupational therapy as a job.


Maori lawyers say hapu and iwi will be squeezed out of resource management, leading to poorer decision-making.

Maori law society co-president Jolene Patuawa says the Local Government and Environment select committee ignored submissions that the Resource Management Simplifying and Streamlining Amendment Bill would to shut out Maori and community groups.

The bill reported back to parliament this week retains a contentious $500 charge for lodging objections to a resource consent, and a requirement for objectors to guarantee security for costs.

“We believe that will be waved as a deterrent. It will be showcased by those who are often sitting in the process with far funds as a means to deter other groups from joining and we believe there were already responses for frivolous or vexatious objections which sat within the court’s ability to strike out those particular applications,” Ms Patuawa says.

She says only 1 percent of resource consents get to the Environment Court, and it was rare that Maori concerns have held up projects.


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