Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, November 30, 2009

Emissions scheme trade-offs deliver little

Labour leader Phil Goff says the supposed concessions the Maori Party gained for its support of National’s emissions trading scheme are far outweighed by the long-term cost of the scheme to Maori families.

The Maori Party is trumpeting a cut in the amount fuel was supposed to rise and the potential involvement of iwi in afforestation schemes as proof of its effectiveness.

But Mr Goff says Treasury figures show changes voted through under urgency last week will cost $110 billion more than the Labour scheme it replaced.

“What the National Party is saying, we’ll put a slight discount on power prices and petrol prices for the next two an a half years. What they’re not saying is what everybody else recognises, that this puts a burden on us outs a burden on our kids, and we’re not talking about saving $4 a week in power prices. We’re talking about tens of billions of dollars that will be paid by the taxpayer when they should be paid by the polluter,” he says.

Mr Goff say the ETS will cost every New Zealand family $92,000 during the life of the scheme.


While the Government is relying on new national standards to lift achievement in schools, an Auckland primary school is investing in stronger relationships with its mainly Maori and Pacific Island parents.

Sylvia Park School is using a grant from the ASB trust to hire a full time manager to liaise with parents and develop strategies for both home and school to lift performance.

Principal Barbara Alaalatoa says the Mutukaroa programme, named after the maunga next to the school, aims to cut through the jargon of assessment criteria.

“All assessment is is telling us what they know and what they need to learn next. It’s about sharing that stuff out of traditional files and stuff in our rooms and our offices and with our parents. Because it’s not rocket science and we have already trialing some of this data with our parents and they get it,” Mrs Alaalatoa says.


The winners of a whanau weight loss challenge will be announced at a gala event in Manukau tonight.

Public health advocate Anton Blank says the challenge, created by Ngati Te Ata health promoter Tahuna Minhinnick, has been a huge success as families combined to cut the kilos.

He says while the $21 thousand in cash prizes was an incentive, whanau support was the driving force.

“Getting one person in a whanau ain’t going to work because they’re going back to their whanau whose diet isn’t good, who are not exercising so you need to change the behaviour of the whole family and what we’re hoping is that this will become a national programme early days yet. Tahuna though he would get 60 people, he got 500 and they’re going to run the competition again in south Auckland again from next April,” Mr Blank.


Phil Goff is denying he’s playing the race card in his criticism of Maori Party support for the government’s changes to the emissions trading scheme.

The Labour leader told a Grey Power meeting in Palmerston North last week the Maori Party had put the treaty settlement process at risk by making special treatment of Ngai Tahu’s corporate arm a condition of its support.

It then attacked him for criticising what he calls a shabby political deal.

“They've got to show the maturity. They’ve got to debate the issue on the issues and not the smokescreen of ‘this must be a play for the race car’. I reject that. I haven’t played it. I won’t play it. But I will not shut up and not criticise things I know to be wrong or believe to be wrong,” Mr Goff says.

He says National’s changes to the emissions trading scheme shifts the burden of tackling climate change from polluters to taxpayers at a costs of $92 thousand for every New Zealand household over the life of the scheme.


A Maori-organised charity rally around Northland will change its route next year after an accident in the Waipoua Kauri forest over the weekend.

The White Ribbon motorbike and classic car rally raised awareness and money to fight family violence.

Organiser Phil Paikea says about 300 cars and bikes took place, and it was going well until it headed into the forest.

“The road’s pretty narrow there and tourist van happened to cut the corner and there was nothing the rider could do but drop his bike and hope for the best, but the riders are okay and they’re keen to get their bikes fixed ready for the next run next year,” Mr Paikea says,

By shortening of the circuit, more time can spent in communities getting the message that violence against women and children is not on.


Organisers of next weekend's Maori Sports Awards feel they’ve already won big by getting Maoridom’s latest international winner to sing for them.

Dick Garratt, the executive director of Te Tohu Taakaro o Aotearoa Charitable Trust, says the performance of Australian idol winner Stan Walker to perform will complement the world-class field of finalists and champions.

Stan Walker will join Maisey Rika, Homai Te Pakipaki winner Roland Williams and world champion hip hop dance crew ReQuest on the stage.

Competitions to watch include whether Stephen Kearney or Yvette McCausland-Durie will be judged top coach of the year netball, and whether lawn bowler Shannon McIlroy can edge out rugby player Issac Ross and league star Benji Marshall as top sportsman.

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