Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, March 22, 2010

Whines not wins in race day speech

Labour MP Shane Jones says Pita Sharples' race relations’ day speech of Orakei Marae was an admission of failure.

The Maori party co-leader said National's rejection of Maori seats on the Auckland super city council and its failure to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples had strained the relationship between the parties.

Mr Jones says Dr Sharples could also have mentioned National raising the GST rate over Maori Party opposition, turning over the conservation estate to Australian miners and its failure to address Maori unemployment.

“If the Maori Party is unable to stop that type of toxic policy being visited again upon our people, then they’ve really got to question all these trophies to do with flags and foreshore and seabed, how important is it if the daily grind Maori families go through forces them to become poorer and poorer as a result of this government’s policies,” Mr Jones says.

He says the Maori Party seems to have just woken up to the vipers they are in bed with.


Tainui Group Holdings says its plans for further development of The Base could by stymied by an 11th hour change to the district plan.

Chief executive Mike Pohio says the company is at the early stage of planning to add a hotel, hospitality and tourism training centre, offices and a health facility to the 76 hectare former air force base at Te Rapa, complementing the existing retail and cinema development.

But the area comes under variation 21, which the Hamilton City Council rammed through on the eve of changes to the Resource Management Act.

Mr Pohio says any development larger than a three bedroom house is now non-compliant.

“Now that's despite the fact we have always advanced the case for The Base as a regional centre, as a mixed use activity, and these have up until September 29 last year been activities we have an entitlement to proceed with,” Mr Pohio says.

Waikato Tainui has sought a judicial review of the council's decision, which will be heard in the High Court at the end of the month.


A Maori primary health organisation named among the worst five in the country believes it has turned the corner.

Te Puna Hauora has more than 10,000 people on its books from Devonport to Wellsford.

General manager Lyvia Marsden says only a small percentage are elderly, which explains its failure to meet some targets, such as flu jabs for the elderly.

The PHO also takes on clients other providers don't want.

“A majority, 67 percent of the 10.500 people on board now are high needs people right across the spectrum of nationalities. They’re not really wanted by general practice. They’re considered too much work and costly,” Ms Marsden says.

Te Puna Hauora has taken on new staff to cope with the demands... and is now on track to meet the Ministry targets.


Coromandel Maori are vowing to fight the area being opened up to mining.

Long time anti-mining campaigner Betty Williams says the government's decision to let the industry in to 7000 hectares of conservation land on the Coromandel Peninsula, Great Barrier Island and Paparoa National park is an insult.

She says while a small number may see jobs or other economic benefits, most Maori on the Coromandel peninsula are totally opposed.

“Gold has no use. Gold has become a very important topic for those who want to exploit it because the price escalated to $2000 an ounce why people want to open up the Coromandel peninsula and it’s not abut serving a community need. It’s about servicing the pockets of the profiteers,” Mrs Williams says.

She has been part of the anti-mining campaign since the mid-1970's and saysthere is no way the peninsula's residents will allow miners onto the land.


The head of Massey University's new School of Public Health believes a combination of science and straight talking can improve Maori health.

Former children's commissioner Cindy Kiro, from Ngapuhi, Ngati Kahu and Ngati Hine, says most people are familiar with the health benefits of good food, exercise and sleep.

She says there is also material coming out of environmental and occupational research that can change people's lives.

“It's understanding the way these things interact and the balance of probability in what we can do to actually keep ourselves healthy. The new school I think will create the opportunity to bring that together and make it more available to people,” Dr Kiro says.

The new School of Public Health brings together five existing research centres ... including Te Ropu Whariki and the Research Centre for Maori Health and Development.


A Ngati Whatua representative on the Auckland War Memorial Museum Board says he'd like to see a New Zealander leading the institution.

Danny Tumahai won't comment on the performance of Canadian Vanda Vitali, whose controversial tenure as chief executive has ended because of a breakdown in relationships with the museum board.

But he says the importance of the museum and its taonga to the people of Auckland and Aotearoa means it needs someone with a sense of New Zealand's cultural mix ... and possibly a suitable Maori candidate might emerge.

“I would hope they would look here before they go offshore. I’m sure there are people round in New Zealand. At least they should look. I think our Maori should have experience across the board but there are Maori that have that,” Mr Tumahai says.

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