Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 12, 2010

Systemic discrimination will spell prison rolls

The director of the Rethinking Crime and Punishment says if passed, ACT's three strikes bill will push the percentage of Maori in the prison population well above the current 51 percent.

Kim Workman, who's a former policeman, public servant and prison service head, says prisoners who may have got a short sentence under the current law will end up getting life.

He says in California similar legislation has been used by the police to target blacks, and the same thing could happen here because of systemic racism in both policing and sentencing.

“Maori are disproportionately sent to institutions. Maori are less likely to be bailed on remand and so on. So this will add to that an unfortunately in many of those will be very poor and on the borderline and that will impact even more on their families and whanau,” Mr Workman says.

He has told Parliament's Law and Order select committee there is no doubt the proposed law will disproportionately hurt Maori.


Labour MP Parekura Horomia says Maori are right to be wary of planned changes to tertiary education.

The former Maori affairs minister says a shift to performance-based funding will encourage universities to discriminate against maori.

“You know our people take a lot longer by about a year to 18 months to achieve the degree or diploma and I certainly think we have to be wary about this. We will see less Maori attending these tertiary institutions,” Mr Horomia says.

He says the education cuts are just another part of the government's measures which will hit Maori hard.


The organiser of a Mana Wahine Health Day in South Auckland yesterday says encouraging women to learn together helped make the day a success.

More than 200 people came to Manurewa Marae to learn how they could look after themselves and in turn look after their whanau.

Kim Te Pania says it attracted women and men of all cultures and ages, including many who wanted to find out about less conventional health providers.

There was also the opportunity for wahine to get breast screens and cervical smears, and the women were put into groups to get the checks done together.

A Tamariki Ora day will be run later on in the year, and another for rangatahi.


Maori mental health nurses say Maori with mental health problems need culturally-based treatments.

The New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses wrapped up a two day hui yesterday at Te Puna O Te Matauranga marae in Whangarei.

Its kaiwhakahaere, Hineroa Hakiaha says the 300 nurses looked at how te ao Maori can be blended into Maori nursing practice and how more Maori can be attracted to work in mental health services.

She says culturally focused initiatives work for tangata whaiora.

Hineroa Hakiaha from the Maori Mental Health Nurses hui in Whangarei.


The Council of Social Services' fourth quarter Vulnerability Report shows the recession continues to hit Maori hard.

Executive director Trevor McGlinchy says the report draws on the experiences of Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and Salvation Army social services.

It found Maori over represented in all areas of vulnerability, and their income levels and standard of living is dropping rapidly.

“What we are seeing is that income is not sufficient, particularly in an environment where all of the whanau are unemployed, so there is no one else round who can help. They to go to other agencies to get further support. Is that an expression of tino rangatiratanga? I don’t think it is,” Mr McGlinchy says.

The impact of the recession on whanau can be seen in increased domestic violence and mental anguish, which is putting pressure on all social service agencies who offer counseling support.


Maori muscle will power the engine room when the Warriors line up for their first NRL game against the Gold Coast in Queensland on Sunday.

Football manger Don Mann says injuries to captain Simon Mannering and veteran prop Steve Price have caused a reshuffle of the forward pack, creating opportunities for fringe players to stake their claims for more game time.

It means an all-Maori front row with Sam Rapira, Aaron
Heremaia and Russell Packer.

Mr Mann says confidence is high at the Auckland franchise, despite Aussie tipsters predicting the Warriors will finish well down the table


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