Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Job probation justification not stacking up

Maori Party leader Tariana Turia says National has failed to come up with evidence the 90-day probation for new employees has created opportunities for young Maori.

The trial period now applies to firms with under 20 people, but the Government now intends to extend the policy to all workplaces.

The Maori Party voted against the 2008 Employment Relations Amendment Bill, which was passed uder urgency without going through a select committee.

Mrs Turia says this time her party will want to scrutinise claims the policy would result in employers giving more opportunities to young people.

“That is not the Maori experience. We’ve got 27 percent of our young people under 24 years of age unemployed. Now those are very high numbers and we are really concerned about those numbers and I guess our challenge will be to employers that over the next few months we will be watching very closely to see if those numbers drop,” Mrs Turia says.


Labour's Health spokesperson, Ruth Dyson, says cuts in mental health programmes will have a devastating effect on Maori health.

Budget papers released last week show more than $20 million is being saved by cutting back research, training and promotion and dropping the Like Minds Like Mine campaign.

Ms Dyson says Maori are high users of many of the services affected.

“A lot of the areas where we have seen cuts we do unfortunately have a higher percentage of Maori in those areas than we do in the general population. In mental health there is a higher percentage of Maori, Drug and alcohol is the same, and also in areas where we have absolutely preventable conditions,” Ms Dyson says.


The Far North District Council is trying a new way to collect rates on Maori land.
Mayor Wayne Brown says $14 million is owed on Maori freehold land, up from $11 million last year.

He says rather than waste effort trying to collect on unimproved multiply-owned land, it's levying rates only on the bits that are lived on.

“Desperation is the mother of invention so we’re trying all these things and I think it might work. There are some Maori in those areas with investment in their houses and some of them are prepared to pay rates and we’d like more of them to because at the same time Maori are getting quite restive and demanding all sorts of sewerage and everything but they’re not contributing towards the funding of it,” Mr Brown says.

A third of land in the region is owned by Maori and other third by the Department of Conservation, who don't pay rates either.


The head of the Women's Refuge organisation says young wahine are no-longer accepting being bashed.

Heather Henare says while reports of domestic violence are increasing, young Maori women are less likely to stay in violent relationships than years past.

She says many of the Maori women coming through refuges are in their early 20s.

“That suggests that young women are not staying in violent relationships forever and a day and leaving when the damage has been done to the children and are worn out from the violence and we want whanau to come behind them and say this violence is not okay, we don’t accept your behaviour,” Ms Henare says.

She says 55 percent of women seeking Refuge help are Maori.


The Historic Places Trust says proposed changes to its act will help it to address Maori concerns more appropriately.

Culture and Heritage Minister Chris Finlayson wants to bring the Historic Places Act in line with the Resource Management Act to create a more streamlined application process for property developers and owners who want to modify, damage or destroy historic sites.

Rick McGovern-Wilson, the trust's senior archaeologist, says although the process will be simpler and shorter, protection levels should remain the same.

“Because we'll only have one category of application for an authority, all applications for sites of interest to Maori will now go to our Maori Heritage Council and they will then be able to give advice and have input to those applications whereas previously only applications for a Section 12 authority would go to the Maori Heritage Council,” Dr McGovern-Wilson says.

Regional hui will be held in October to explain the proposed changes.


A Maori health worker says the government's refusal to beef up smoking cessation programmes is hurting Maori.

Boyd Broughton from anti smoking group ASH says a while the long term trend shows a decline in Maori smoking rates, the level of uptake among teenage girls and in low socioeconomic areas is still too high.

He says May's tobacco tax rise led to a spike in the number of calls to Quitline and sales of nicotine patches, but the message didn't get through to hardcore Maori smokers.

“Along with the tax rise there needed to be an increase support specifically for Maori, specifically for those who don’t want to give up their cigarettes and will sacrifice the milk and bread. They’re more heavily addicted and we knew they would exist and we asked for targeted support and increased support which hasn’t eventuated as of yet,” Mr Broughton says.

Maori parents need to play their part and not smoke in front of their tamariki.


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