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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Maori PHO in box seat to drive reform

The chief executive of a national consortium of Maori health providers says getting on the list of nine super-PHOs to implement the Government's primary health care changes puts it in a strong position to drive the development of whanau ora.

Simon Royal says the government's agenda of better, sooner, more convenient healthcare relies on the PHOs to develop Integrated Family Health Centres, use nurse practitioners instead of doctors where appropriate, develop multi-disciplinary teams and cooperate more with hospitals.

He says the National Maori PHO will push a parallel vision of integrating health and social services under the whanau ora banner.

“We just presume that when these discussions occur and engagements with district health boards, and the ministry, there will need to be some high level discussions and we’re not unfamiliar with developing our own briefing papers and influencing discussions with ministers and we look forward to that continuing,” Mr Royal says.

The National Maori PHO must complete its business plans for how it will deliver services by next February.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says the government's welfare reforms will turn young Maori solo parents into a new class of working poor cleaning the houses of the rich.

Ms Turei says after removing training incentives for solo parents who want to upskill themselves, the government now intends to force them out to work when their youngest child is six.

She says without skills Maori will be forced into unsuitable and low paid work.

“That's what National will force, particularly our Maori mothers and fathers who are on the DPB, into. Because they’ll have no way out of that ands they will have very small children, six is not very old, these babies need care as well and they need parents around them so our people and our babies will be particularly serious. I’m horrified Paula Bennett would even entertain the idea,” Ms Turei says.

She says employment data shows job growth is not increasing as the recession supposedly recedes, so it's the wrong time to introduce policies which demand people find work.


A Bay of Islands artist says his exhibition the Art of Race Relations in the upmarket Auckland suburb of Remuera aims to challenge racial stereotypes.

Lester Hall's paintings include a portrait of the late Sir Edmund Hilary with the word tangatawhenua tattooed across his face.

The Pakeha artist says he wants to spark debate.

“Is Hillary tangata whenua or is he simply a visitor. Some Maori might think he’s not. Are they offended by me suggesting he is? But also, what about the people on the northern slopes of Remuera? Are they offended by me suggesting that he might be tangata whenua?” Hall says.


Green co-leader Metiria Turei says the Maori Party should read the fine print on its agreement with the Government over the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples went into this week's Cabinet claiming the contentious law would be scrapped, but what came out of the meeting was less definitive.

Ms Turei says if a repeal has been secured the Maori Party is to be congratulated ... but it shouldn't buy into promises which won't be delivered on, as happened over Maori seats on the Auckland super city.

“What does worry about the next step is National in their record on Maori issues in the past six months have been appalling. They make these sly kind of promises so I’m worries about any promises National may have made to the Maori Party about what will happen next,” Ms Turei says.

She says any replacement of the Foreshore and Seabed Acts needs to give small iwi and hapu the same change of securing their customary rights as large iwi.


A Maori broadcaster and commentator says it's probably too late for New Zealand to match a new Cook Islands law making conversational Maori a requirement for new permanent residents.

Derek Fox says many Pakeha New Zealanders living in the Cook Islands may find it hard to meet the language requirement.

He says the only way such a rule could work here would be if it had been introduced in 1840.

“If we did that we’d have to throw out about 85 percent of the population. How would you do that? People would say it only applies to people coming in now, and if I’m in that’s it. Really I can’t see it being applied here,” says Mr Fox, who is a regular visitor to Rarotonga.

He says there are at least four distinct brands of Cook Island Maori.


There's praise for the tutors behind the 27 school teams who competed in this week's national primary school kapa haka championships.

Rakaumangamanga from Tainui took out top honours, Manutuke from Rongowhakaata came second and West Auckland's urban Maori group Hoani Waititi was third.

Derek Lardelli, who helped organise the Gisborne event, says while the place getters confirmed their sizeable reputations, all other rohe have raised their game... and he was particularly impressed with the tamariki from Rangitane.

“It's a credit to their tutors that are going back into the historical cupboards of their own tribal areas and brining out that type of knowledge we possibly haven’t seen because they’re not seen as a kapa people and yet they are a kapa people and they’re coming forward saying that loudly,” Mr Lardelli says.


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