Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, December 11, 2009

Government told ACC changes will hurt Maori

Labour's ACC spokesperson David Parker says the Government ignored warnings its changes to Accident Compensation will adversely affect Maori.

Cabinet papers released to Mr Parker show Te Puni Kokiri advised the changes are likely to have a disproportionate effect on Maori because they are more likely to be employed in high risk jobs and be from low income families.

He says the changes fall on the poor.

“There are 400,000 season and casual workers in New Zealand. A lot of them are Maori. A lot of them are working in industries like fruit picking or freezing works. The changes to ACC mean following an accident their ACC in the future would be based on an annual average rather than their ability to earn more,” Mr Parker says.

ACC minister Nick Smith was warned his changes would not save the Government money, because the costs would be transferred to the health and welfare budgets.


The Maori Party is backing the introduction of the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (Storage) Bill, but it's warning the Government there's no guarantee of further support.

The bill changes the law around the storage of gametes and embryos.

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell says the Maori have strong views about issues of life and death and it's important they those views known to the select committee.

“Some of the advice we received early on is we need to be careful on this sort of bill because we are dealing with te ira tangata so any of those issues we need to be careful. Our view is let it go to first reading but let’s make sure our people get in and make some submissions on the bill,” Mr Flavell says.

The Maori Party has given similar conditional first reading support to National's ACC changes and to its emissions trading scheme, which the party eventually voted into law.


Maori tourism operators hope to cash in on new international flights arriving into Rotorua.

An Air New Zealand A 320 ... which seats 157 people... will fly direct to sulphur city tomorrow.

Trevor Maxwell, the town's deputy mayor, is in Sydney to catch the first flight.

He says the new service will provide a steady influx of visitors for Maori tourism operators such as Mitai and Tamaki Maori Village.

Trevor Maxwell hopes flights from Brisbane and Melbourne will eventually be added to the schedule.


Maori programmes are likely to remain in off-peak ghettos on TVNZ, according to the broadcaster's former senior Maori executive.

Broadcasting Minister Jonathon Coleman has taken steps to repeal TVNZ's public broadcasting charter and put the focus on attracting viewers and making money.

Hone Edwards says commercial requirements mean the rare local show with Maori content that makes it to prime time will have rate highly to keep its slot ... such as the reality programme One Land which debuts on Sunday, where Maori and Pakeha families are made to live in 19th century conditions.

“And I hope for them that it rates because if it doesn’t it will be taken off given this way this bill has been written,” Mr Edwards says.

Even without prime time slots, the reach of Television One is so great that even in off-peak times it draws more viewers than prime time shows on Maori Television.


While the country is technically out of recession, the Council of Christian Social Services says its effects are biting harder than ever and Maori are being hit hardest.

The council's third vulnerability report says at 14 percent, the rate of Maori unemployment is three times that of Pakeha.

Executive officer Trevor McGlinchey says the number is swelled by the fact the Maori population is relatively young, and many are extremely vulnerable.

“You start seeing things like families who can’t afford to pay the rent so you have families who are doubling up in homes. You have a huge demand for emergency accommodation and demand for food banks has gone through the roof so even a year ago we’d seen 100 percent increase from the year before, Now we’ve got 100 percent increase from last year in many foodbanks,” Mr McGlinchey says.

Foodbank managers and budget advisers report that stress is overwhelming many families.


Renowned steel guitarist Ben Tawhiti will today join the choir of entertainers singing the praises of record industry pioneer Eldred Stebbing.

The Auckland based producer and entrepreneur died on Sunday aged 88.

His funeral is at All Saints Church in Ponsonby this afternoon.

Mr Tawhiti was a regular visitor in the early days of Mr Stebbing's Herne Bay home studio, adding his guitar to sessions by artists both Maori and Pakeha aiming for the top of the charts.

“Wonderful guy who made us what we are today in the music industry. I’m going their and gong to have a korero on behalf of our Maori entertainers. Who have walked in the door of Zodiac Studios in the early days,” Tawhiti says.


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