Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Merit needed for access to Labour list

Labour leader Phil Goff says Ratana candidates need to compete on merit for positions on his party's list.

Mr Goff has been in talks with leading Ratana members about Labour's relationship with the movement.

During the party's annual visit to Ratana Pa on Sunday, speakers made public their wish for Labour to set aside positions high on its list for four Ratana candidates - reinstatement of the historic four corners.

Mr Goff says that's not the way Labour works.

“We'd of course welcome any nominations from Ratana members but you’ve got a constitution, you’ve got a process. People get selected on the basis of their hard work, their skill, their commitment, their values and I hope we do get some good candidates up from Ratana but you can’t promise anything. People have to put their name forward. They have got to be of quality to get selection,” Mr Goff says.

Ratana support for Labour remains important, more than 70 years after church founder T W Ratana formed a pact with the first Labour prime Minister, Michael Joseph Savage.


Meanwhile, an expert on the Electoral Act says there's nothing stopping Labour placing Ratana candidates high on its list ... except the potentially hostile reaction of other groups in the party.

Andrew Geddis from Otago University's law faculty says it could be extremely divisive.

“Labour would have to follow the list selection process laid down in its constitution but that list selection process is always heavily influenced by what the leadership of he party wants and so if the leadership really really wanted to go through with this, they could but then they of course have to balance picking some from Ratana with all the other groups that want representation in parliament as well,” Mr Geddis says.

Labour gave high list positions to the Maori MPs, including two from Ratana, who supported it through the Foreshore and Seabed Act debate.

A tobacco researcher says Maori communities need to stop condoning pregnant Maori women who keep smoking.

Marewa Glover from the Auckland Tobacco Control Research Centre says almost one in two Maori women smoke, leading to a death rate from lung cancer more than four times the non-Maori rate.

She says among pregnant women it can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, low birth-weight, sudden unexpected death in infancy and respiratory illness.

Dr Glover says Maori women aren't getting the message.

“It's okay in Maori communities. We’re not ostracizing smokers. We’re not saying it’s not okay. We’re not giving them a hard time. There’s still all the aroha, the manaaki, we’re including them, it’s okay, they’re not getting the hard line,” Dr Glover says.


The kaumatua for Waitangi Marae is disappointed the Maori king is skipping this year's treaty commemoration in the Bay of Islands.

King Tuheitia will instead attend the Taniwha Marae poukai at Te Kauwhata.
Kingi Taurua says Tainui's involvement last year gave the event a special significance, and reminded people of the importance of the nation's founding document to all Maori.

“I certainly would make the Treaty of Waitangi Commemoration the most important part of my responsibility if I was a king,” Mr Taurua says.

A spokesman for the King, Tom Roa, says the decision not to attend Waitangi Day was announced at the last year's coronation hui.


The Greens say a low minimum wage means the country's poorest people are subsidising big business.

Co-leader Metiria Turei says far too many Maori are among the 450,000 New Zealanders earning less than $15 an hour.

That's the level the Greens want the minimum wage set.

She says the biggest employers like supermarkets can afford to pay more than the minimum wage, but currently their workers on the minimum have to get access to Working for Families or Work and Income subsidies in order to live.

She says boosting the minimum wage would save a billion dollars a year in welfare.


The East Coast is again a star of a Maori movie making waves offshore.
Taika Waititi's second full length feature, Boy, is enjoying sell out crowds at its premiere run at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

The film, which grew out of Waititi's award winning short film Two Cars One Night, was filmed around Waipiro Bay.

NZ Film sales manager James Thompson, who is in Sundance, says media and industry people have been lining up after screenings to ask him not only about the film but about the location.

HE is confident the film will find a North American distributor, even though this year's Sundance has been slow for sales.


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