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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Poor to bear brunt of tax change

Waipareira Trust head John Tamihere fears poorer communities could bear the costs of the government's tax changes.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday signaled what Mr Tamihere say could be the biggest shake up of the economy since Rogernomics in the 1980s.

Mr Tamihere says the devil will be in the detail.

“I can trade off 15 percent in GST subject to the first $15000 being tax free, something along those lines. If there are trade-offs, you can live with it. If there’s not, you have to stand up on behalf of the poor community and say this is unpalatable,” Mr Tamihere says.

New Zealand's Goods and services tax is held in high regard around the word for its simplicity and effectiveness.


A Canterbury University education researcher says history teachers are missing opportunities to bring history alive because they won't engage with Maori in their local area.

Richard Manning says most teachers have little knowledge of things Maori, and they feel more comfortable teaching topics like Tudor England.

Dr Manning, whose most recent work looked at how Te Atiawa's view of history differs from what's taught at secondary schools in the Port Nicholson Block claim area, says the iwi saw history in the way the region's fauna and flora had changed.

“For the teachers, the key historical text in their teaching practice is what is in the text book, not what local Maori people, landscaped plant life or animals can tell them about the past as texts in their own right,” he says.

Dr Manning says a bias by senior history teachers towards European subjects means New Zealand history is crowded out of the syllabus.


Well wishers will be lining the shoreline over the next hour to witness the return of the waka Ngatokimatawhorua to the waters of the Hokianga for the first time in 62 years.

The waka has been extensively restored by tohunga Hekenukumai Busby after spending most of its life at Otaua Marae.

It features in last weekend's regatta at Waitangi, and has been brought west to take part in Hokianga treaty commemorations.

Event organiser Mita Harris says there is sense of excitement at Horeke.


A Bay of Plenty iwi leader says the government's proposed tax changes show John Key is failing to grasp the problems the country is facing.

Paul Stanley from Ngaiterangi says the proposed increase in GST to 15 percent means less money in the pockets of the poor, and iwi social services can expect to deal with more family break-ups and violence.

He says by ruling out the taxes on capital gains and residential property recommended by the Tax Working Group, Mr Key showed he's not up for meaningful change.

“It's a bit of a flaccid response from government after all the hype that’s gone into it but not surprising. I really like John Key as a person he’s done some great stuff. When it comes to the tough decisions, I believe National will do another term as government but I don’t think it will be with John Key because he’s not strong enough, and this is a prime example of it,” Mr Stanley says.

He says the recession has affected the middle classes more than working class people, but this year it's likely the poor will be hit hard.


The National Stroke and Neurosciences Research Centre wants to know why Maori are particularly hard hit by traumatic brain injury.

Project head Valery Feigin says New Zealand has one of the highest incidences in the world of what is called the 'invisible injury', with 20,000 to 30,000 cases a year.

He says preliminary evidence suggests such injuries are 25 to 30 percent more common among Maori, but there is no data on why they are hit harder and at a younger age than pakeha.

Professor Feigin says the AUT University-based centre will study everyone in the Waikato who suffers a brain injury in the coming year.


The chief executive of arts marketer Toi Maori, Garry Nicholas, is congratulating New Zealand Post for the design on the most valuable New Zealand coin ever made.

New Zealand Post is issuing 500 one ounce gold coins featuring a heitiki by Te Puke pounamu carver Raponi Wilson.

Mr Nicholas says it's how Maori art should be used, with artists maximize the return from their skill with top end applied design.

The coins, which cost $2650 each, will be housed in waka huia treasure boxes designed by Warren McGrath, tohunga whakairo to the Maori King.


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