Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Fast food promotion cynical and dangerous

A healthy food campaigner has slammed a team-up between Weightwatchers and fast food giant MacDonalds as a cynical commercial ploy which could have disastrous effects for Maori.

Alison White from SAFE says while the salads Weight Watchers is endorsing may be healthy, the dressings which go on them are not.

And while the diet drinks being sold in combos have less sugar, they contain the artificial sweetener aspartame.

“Having diet is extremely unhealthy and it is potentially extremely dangerous for Maori and Pacific Islanders who are more likely to suffer from diabetes,” Ms White says.

She says when MacDonalds used cyclist Sarah Ulmar to promote their salads, it lead to a jump in sales of all their products, including the unhealthy ones.

MARAE INCLUDED IN CIVIL DEFENCE PLANNING

Civil Defence is putting together plans to use marae around the country if a disaster occurs.

National co-ordinator Ian Wilson says marae are an integral part of communities capable of feeding and looking after people.

He says the tsunami warnings after the Chilean earthquake brought the potential to use marae in an emergency into sharp focus.

“We are actually working with Te Puni Kokiri and the local civil defence and iwis to develop emergency plans for the marae. We’re getting each marae to look at itself and say these are the hazard and risks we face, so we want them to look at those and how they would react, who would be n charge to ensure their people are safe, where they would go and who they would contact and say this is the assistance we need or we can offer assistance to other people,” Mr Wilson says.

Many marae are near water which gives them a strategic position in times of an emergency.

BROWNING OF BLACK CAPS BODES WELL FOR RECRUITMENT

There's a call for New Zealand cricket to take advantage of the changing cultural makeup of the Black Caps.

Sports commentator Ken Laban says in the past the game the past struggled to attract Maori and Pacific island players.

But with Ross Taylor the first player with a Samoan whakapapa to captain the national side, and Maori players Jesse Ryder, Darryl Tuffey and Shane Bond in the squad, that's changed.

The Black Caps play the third of five one-day matches against the touring Australians in Hamilton today.

TE ARAWA JOINS WAIKATO RIVER CO-MANAGEMENT BODY

Three Te Arawa iwi today sign an agreement with the Crown to be part of a $210 million clean-up of the Waikato River.

Iwi spokesperson Roger Pikia says Te Arawa has mana whenua from Huka Falls to Atiamuri.

He says the deal to be signed at Orakei Korako with Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson mirrors one signed last month by Waikato-Tainui and has been a long time coming.

“You’re never completely satisfied with the whole process going forward. There’s always better ways you can deal with this or manage this. But where we’ve got to is a point where we’re able to accept what we currently have given the constraints and take a step forward and enter this thing called co-management,” Mr Pikia says.

The agreement gives Te Arawa a place on the Waikato River Authority alongside Waikato-Tainui, Maniapoto, Tuwharetoa, Crown representatives and Environment Waikato, and will come into force on June 1.

HENARE SMOKING REVIEW A WORK IN PROGRESS

The chair of the Maori Affairs Select Committee says although he still has the occasional cigarette, it wasn't going to stop him from being part of an investigation into the effect of the tobacco industry on Maori.

National list MP Tau Henare says Maori should feel proud their committee is the first government body to call to the industry to account.

The committee opened hearings in Rotorua yesterday.

Mr Henare says despite his ciggie habit, which he's adressing, he's keen to be part of any initiative that reduces smoking harm in Maori communities.

“It is a bit awkward but hell, if I wanted to stand down, I would have. I suppose it gives me hands on experience of what smokers are going through. My non-smoking, my giving up smoking, is always a work in progress,” Mr Henare says.

The select committee sits in Auckland tomorrow and Thursday, and the investigation could take up to six months.

INDIGENOUS MATCH-UPS STILL ON KEMP AGENDA

The only Maori to have coached in the National Rugby League says it's time New Zealand Maori had regular matches with the Australian Indigenous squad.

Tony Kemp says Maori made history 2 years ago when they first played the indigenous all stars as part of the opening to the Rugby League World Cup.

He says the Dreamteam's pre-season game against the NRL All stars on the Gold Coast was a huge success, and he's keen to see an annual fixture between Maori and their Australian indigenous counterparts each Waitangi Day.

“It has a significance not only for Maori bt for the Indigenous in Australia if we can get that clash up and going. It’s a pre-season game. We didn’t think we’d get it up in the World Cup and we did it, so we have to keep working in it to see it happen,” Mr Kemp says.

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