Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, July 19, 2010

Party wary of employment act changes

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has endorsed a Government plan to restrict union access to work sites.

But she says the party is not convinced by arguments that the 90-day trial period for new workers should be extended to large firms.

The changes were part of the industrial law reform packaged outline to the weekend's National Party conference by Prime Minister John Key.

Mrs Turia says she can see the merit of unions seeking approval from the boss before they get on-site access to members.

“My husband's been self-employed most of his life and I don’t think he’d have appreciated anybody coming onto site and speaking to his workers without first talking to him. I think it’s a courtesy thing so I don’t have any difficulty with that part of it,” she says.

Mrs Turia says there is no evidence the 90 day probation has led to employers taking on more young Maori.


New Zealand Womens Refuge says awareness campaigns have increased the amount of domestic violence being reported, but they have not resulted in any change of attitude by abusers.

Refuge launched its annual appeal today.

Chief executive Heather Henare says just over half of those seeking help from Refuge are Maori.

The service took a crisis call every nine minutes last year, and on average 23 women a week reported a weapon was used against them.

“We haven't yet addressed the core of the problem and the core of the problem is changing the attitude of New Zealanders throughout Aotearoa to actually treat women and children differently and to accept hat violence is not ok and that families, that women and children need to be treated with love and respect,” Ms Henare says.

She says 41 New Zealanders were killed by members of their own family last year, twice the number as the previous year.


Rugby player turned health campaigner Taine Randell wants a study into what food is right for Maori.

The former All Black involved whanau at his local te Aranga Marae in Flaxmere in a 10-week high protein high fat diet which included traditional pork bone and puha boil-ups, and resulted in participants losing an average of 8 kgs in weight.

He says Maori have a different metabolism than Pakeha, but it's not something the researchers want to look at.

“There's never been any scientific studies on what is right for Maori nutrition. There’s the western European food pyramid and that has been plonked on Maori to day this is what we think is right for you, and we think that’s wrong for Maori,” Mr Randell says.

He says Maori traditionally had more protein and fat in their diet but did not eat gluten-rich food like bread and pasta.


Maori trade unionist Matt McCarten says changes to employment law announced by the Prime Minister at the weekend are the biggest attack on workers rights since 1991.

Mr McCarten says many workers including Maori may have voted for National because they saw Mr Key as a moderate.

But he says extending the 90 day trial from new workers to large workplaces, and stopping union organisers entering sites without the employer's OK are anything but moderate.

“This will put the bosses absolutely in change, we will have a feudal lord and master versus the serfs relationship and people will know they’ve got to kiss butt to stay in jobs and then it will build a culture and what it will also allow is for bad management to become the norm,” Mr McCarten says.

He says the 400,000 New Zealanders who start a new job each year will have to endure three months when they can be fired at will.


More than 50 community leaders have been appointed to sit alongside officials from the Ministry of Social Development, Te Puni Kokiri and district health boards to oversee the roll out of the Whananu Ora programme.

Rob Cooper, the chair of the national Whanau Ora Governance Group, says the regional leadership groups reflect the engagement with people that is at the heart of the new service delivery policy.

He says the positive response to the call for nominations produced an outstanding choice of candidates.

“Nominations I think reflect the hope that people have in having people represent their thoughts and ideas in ways that maybe they’ve done before effectively, so I think got some advocates in there, they’re all thinkers, there’s no question about that, and I think they’re optimistic people as well, I would suggest,” Mr Cooper says.

One of the first tasks of the 10 regional leadership groups will be to help with selecting Whanau Ora providers in their areas.


A New Zealand classic which uncovered the original Maori names for much of the landscape is about to be reborn.

Former Reed publishing manager Peter Dowling has updated A W Reed's Place Names of New Zealand, and it will be published by Raupo later this month.
He enlisted Maori oral historians, linguists and the Geographic Board to track down changes since the original 1975 edition.

Mr Dowling says tribal histories published in recent years have uncovered a lot of information about names which was not available to Alexander Reed, and there are also people still alive who have access to information not previously published.


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