Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sharples’ electorate rejects GST rise

Pita Sharples's Tamaki Makaurau electorate committee has come out against a rise in GST.

Chairperson Eru Thompson says nine of the electorate's 10 branches were represented at the monthly hui.

He says the committee appreciates the party's confidence and supply agreement would require MPs to vote in favour if National goes ahead with its plan to up the tax to 15 percent, but sentiment was strong.

“We wouldn't be entertaining that idea, so a resolution was moved by the Auckland electorate to have dialogue with the rest of the electorates in the country,” Mr Thompson says.

The branches also supported Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira's proposal that the takutai moana issue be resolved by putting all foreshore and seabed under Maori title with full public access.


Former governor general Sir Paul Reeves says Maori need to be concerned not just by moves to increase imprisonment rates but by current prison conditions.

Sir Paul visited New Plymouth prison at the weekend with the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu.

They were shocked to find young prisoners in their cells for 22 hours each day, and remand prisoners who had been locked up for more than a year.

He says iwi leaders must get involved in the debate around measures ACT's three strikes bill, which is likely to mean even more Maori in jail for longer.

“It’s a matter of public debate and I think we should get there and be part of that debate and to say well, the way to treat people who have infringed is not necessarily by locking them up and throwing the key away. There are other ways of dealing with these people to try and produce some form of rehabilitation,” Sir Paul says.


A Far North Maori health group is proposing people be allowed to grow tobacco for their own use, if there are to be restrictions on commercial sales of cigarettes.

Errol Murray from Whakawhiti Ora Pai Community Health Services told the Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry that smoking has reduced the life expectations of generations of Te Aupouri and Ngati Kuri.

He says the ultimate aim is to stop the tobacco companies importing and selling tobacco, but there will still be people who are addicted to the drug.

“We also understand that people are still going to want to smoke so you will probably drive it underground so one of the proposals was they allow them to grow their own, only a certain amount and for personal use only,” Mr Murray says.

Hiss submission included details of industry marketing practices given by a former tobacco salesman, practices which the previous submission from British American Tobacco had denied.


Te Tai Hauauru MP Tariana Turia says blowing up of a two storey rock to make way for a power project was cultural vandalism.

On Monday Clearwater Hydro dynamited Te Rongomai o Te Karaka at Te Anga on the west coast of the King Country after police removed whanau from Marakopa Marae who were protesting the action.

Mrs Turia says the Lines Company subsidiary was aware of the significance of the natural feature to the hapu, and the behaviour of the company and its contractors was despicable.

“To sit there and cheer and celebrate and drink in that sacred spot, I just thought it was outrageous. It was really a display of power, of those who control asserting it and showing those whanau from there that they accounted for nothing,” Mrs Turia says.

Her personal appeal to Cleawater Hydro to hold off was simply ignored.


A national programme to bolster the ranks of Maori in the health sector was launched today at Auckland Airport's Te Manukanuka O Hoturoa marae.

Project manger Tuhakia Kepa says Kia Ora Hauroa aims to recruit another thousand Maori workers into the health and disabilty sector over the next 2 years.

The programme is overseen by Counties Manukau District Health Board, with the Waitemata, Lakes, Capital and Coast and Canterbury DHBs managing regional hubs.

Mr Kepa says a Kia Ora Hauroa website will give students information about the types of courses they need to work in health.

“So try and encourage Maori kids at secondary school to maintain some level of science qualification be it biology, physics or chemistry. With those subjects in their kete when they get to the end of secondary school, they will have an opportunity to look at probably 85 different health roles and health study pathways them might be interested in,” Mr Kepa says.


Former governor general and Anglican Archbishop Sir Paul Reeves says last weekend's dedication of a cathedral in New Plymouth is making people think about how a society heals a divided past.

St Mary's is the first new Anglican cathedral worldwide for more than 80 years.

It was built as a cathedral 150 years ago, but it was not consecrated because of the outbreak of the first Taranaki War, and instead became a church for the British garrison.

“It has the hatchments, the boards with the emblems of the British regiments and they’re hanging on the wall, and I’m sure there are relatives of mine who would say wasn’t St Mary’s the place where they stored the ammunition that subsequently was used to fire on our relatives. That may or may not have been the case but that’s the perception, so there’s a lot of work to be done and we’ve talked a lot about that,” Sir Reeves says.

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