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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, July 05, 2010

Quinn keen to strip inmates of vote

National list MP Paul Quinn from Ngati Awa admits his private members bill to take the vote away from people in prison will disproportionately affect Maori.

Currently only prisoners serving a three year sentence or longer are barred from voting.

Mr Quinn's "Electoral Disqualification of Convicted Prisoners" bill would take away the vote from all people in prison on election day.

He says the fact one in two male and almost two thirds of female prisoners are Maori didn't affect his thinking.

“The issue of how they got into prison is quite a separate issue. My bill is not discriminatory on the basis if law and order. My blll sadly proportionately affects Maori simply because of what they have done,” Mr Quinn says.

Before offenders get their first prison sentence, statistics show 80 percent will have been convicted at least 10 times.

The bill is now before the law and order select committee.


Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says his proposed Maori youth council could be a source of advice for all Maori MPs.

Te Puni Kokiri is seeking nominations for up to 15 rangatahi who are active in their communities, interested in Maori affairs and have strong leadership skills.

Dr Sharples says with a high proportion of Maori 25, it's important their voices are heard by all MPs interested in Maori development

“I know the Maori members of parliament do want to work together. The parliamentary system is adversary and that’s why we are always scrapping in the House but the reality is we all have the same goal in mind, I know that, so I am hopeful this group can advice not only me, it can advise all Maori in parliament,” Dr Sharples says.


The winner of the first 24 hour Maori playwright's challenge says it was an amazing event to be involved with.

Kath Akuhata Brown had 12 hours to pen a script which was rehearsed and performed as the finale of the Taonga Whakaari Maori Playwright's festival -in Papakura.

She admits to feeling nervous when she was given the task of coming up with a 15-minute fairy tale, but she’s pleased with the result and what her team of director Jason Te Mete and actors did with it.

She says the audience enjoyed the five new short plays, and the contest deserves to be repeated.


The Maori Party representative on the Maori affairs select committee says the inquiry into the tobacco industry is under pressure to investigate other social harms.

The committee completed hearings last week and is now preparing its report for Parliament.

Hone Harawira says it has raised the profile of the committee, and it’s seen to be outside the normal loop.

He’d like the committee to look at alcohol next.


The chair of Tamaki Makaurau Kapahaka says the weekend's festival shows Maori performing arts remain powerful way to bring contemporary issues to the fore.

21 teams took to the stage of the Aotea Centre over the two days, with their compositions canvassing issues such as the lack of Maori seats on the Auckland super city and the risks of drilling oil off the East Cape.

Ope Maxwell says waiata and haka have long been used to draw attention to issues of concern to Maori.

The first four places were taken by west Auckland teams, Te Waka Huia, Tumanako, Te Roopu Manutake and Te Manuhuia, with Ngapuhi group Te Taha Tu and Te Tai Tonga from Manurewa also winning their tickets to Te Matatini national finals in Gisborne next year.


Sports broadcaster Ken Laban says Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic coach Noelene Taurua is getting the last laugh on her critics.

The former Silver Fern came under fire for her team's lackluster performances in regular season play in the Trans Tasman Championship ... including a media story slating her for dressing up in a bumblebee costume to motivate her team.

Mr Laban says yesterday's 54-49 semifinal win over the New South Wales Swifts in Newcastle shows the Ngapuhi wahine is far from a spent force.

The Magic face the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the final next Sunday.


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