Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ngawha boss looking for community help for rehab

The Northland Regional Prison is trying to get more Maori involved in prisoner education and rehabilitation.

It's asked for qualified individuals or groups to teach employment and life skills to inmates.

Manager Jon Howe says his first eight months at Ngawha has been spent improving internal systems, and now it's time to look outward.

He says the key to judging success is how prisoners are able to reintegrate with society, which was the subject of a hui at Ngawha marae last week.

“Once I'm sure the public is safe, my next priority is to stop any offenders I have with me reoffending when they get released. It’s not one size fits all, which is why I’m asking for volunteer and asking the Maori community in particular for any suggestions they think would be really effective,” Mr Howe says.

The prison is planning further hui at marae around the north.


The MP behind a Maori affairs select committee investigation into the tobacco industry is pleased with the response he's getting.

The inquiry starts early in the new year.

Hone Harawira says people can't wait for the industry to be put under the spotlight for the damage it has done to Maori and others.

He says clearance for the select committee inquiry came after National deputy leader Bill English supported it against Treasury advice.


Sir Howard Morrison's family says it was fitting his tangi was a place of celebration as well as sorrow.

Last night a concert on Te Papaiouru marae at Ohinemutu brought together many of New Zealand's top artists including Frankie Stevens, Eddie Lowe, Tony Williams, the Yandall Sisters and Ardijah.

Whanau spokesperson Temuera Morrison says it was a fitting way to remember his uncle's life.

Sir Howard Morrison was buried this afternoon at Kauae cemetery on Ngongataha mountain after a five day tangi.


Maori lawyer Moana Jackson says an overhaul of the electoral agencies should include improving the way they connect with Maori voters.

Justice Minister Simon Power intends to amalgamate the Electoral Commission and the Chief Electoral Office before the 2011 elections, and bring the Chief Registrar into the commission after the election.

Mr Jackson says low turnout rates by Maori proves the staus quo is not working.

He wants the government to explain the reasons for the merger and how it will affect Maori.

“I should imagine it’s cost and efficiency and the usual things they trot out and that’s often code for ‘we don’t need to talk to Maori’, but more importantly if there is a proposal to review constitutional issues then it seems to me the electoral process is a fundamental part of that and perhaps this idea should be delayed until that review runs its course,” Mr Jackson says.

He says the proposed merger seems to pre-empt the government's commitment to the Maori Party to hold a constitutional review.


Labour leader Phil Goff has defended the previous government's record in the face of criticism from a UN body.

After submissions from the government and non-government organisations in May, the Human Rights Council made 64 recommendations on areas requiring further attention, such as the status of the Treaty of Waitangi in domestic legislation, and the over-representation of Maori in the criminal justice system.

There was also comment on Labour's foreshore and seabed law.

Mr Goff says such criticism should be put in context, with the Labour-led government taking practical steps to improve people's lives.

“Things like Working for Families were great. It lifted 130,000 children out of poverty. The fact we got the lowest unemployment in 27 years was hugely important. The fact we got more people into apprenticeships in skill and training and better access to healthcare, all important,” Mr Goff says.

He says New Zealand is still one of the top countries in terms of respect for human rights.


An East Coast principal says improved broadband services to rural communities will give her students real time connections with other schools.

Nori Parata from Tologa Bay Area School helps organise the annual Nati Awards, which encourage East Coast children to use Information and computer technology to tell stories of their home area.

She says government plans to spend $300 million dollars over the next six years boosting rural Internet access can't come soon enough.

“Some of the schools have videoconferencing but unless you have a broadband width that is sufficient to run it then it’s sort of like a delayed telecast which is not appealing and certainly not if you’re a kid trying to send your stuff from one end of the rohe to another for someone to comment on. Having good broadband will help those issues,” Ms Parata says.

Whole communities should benefit from improved connectedness.


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