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Friday, August 06, 2010

Maori at risk from super age rise

August 4

A leading demographer says if the age of eligibilty for superannuation is put up, Maori need to be exempted.

Don Brash, the head of the Government's 2020 Task Force, has called for the age to jump from 65 to 67 to prevent a future blow-out in Government debt.

Natalie Jackson from Waikato University's centre of population studies says Maori have lower life expectancy, with only one in 20 people over 65 being Maori ... while four in 20 under the age of 24 are Maori.

She says that means increasing numbers of young Maori earners would be paying for a benefit they are unlikely to collect on.

“These disparities get mentioned but I think it’s generally a lip service type of thing. As soon as you start talking about these differences, people start asking ‘should we be having policies that positive discriminate in favour of Maori.’ I would say in this case yes,” Professor Jackson says.

She says such positive discrimination already exist for Aboriginals in Australia, which is also debating increasing the age of eligibility is also being hotly debated.


A sociologist who is studying Maori in Australia believes there are significantly more living there than show up in official statistics.

Paul Hamer from Victoria University's Institute of Policy Studies says Maori are a significant part of the New Zealand diaspora.
He believes one in six now live across the Tasman.

“At the last Australian census the official return was 93,000. I think that’s probably more like 125,000 just due to the way the Australians take their census. It may we be 140,000 by now. It’s basically grown 750 percent or so since the 1970s, it’s quite a staggering rise,” Mr Hamer says.

Maori migrants tend to be blue collar workers looking for higher paying jobs in Australia, but they can find they are trading off material gain against language loss and cultural isolation.


Maori cuisine is taking to the high seas.

Former Kai Time host Anne Thorp from Ngati Awa and Ngai Te Rangi takes charge of the galley during a four-day P & O cruise from Brisbane this week, and says she's putting some Maori kai on the menu for the 1600 people on board.

She's go an eight course degustation menu planned, as well as running cooking demonstrations showcasing the Maori approach.

“It's all fresh and healthy with a Maori twist and served up with aroha and I’m very excited,” Ms Thorp says.


The chair of Hautaki Limited says the government's decision to regulate the amount mobile phone companies can charge competitors to terminate calls could encourage Maori investment in 2 Degrees.

Hautaki is a subsidiary of Te Huarahi Tika Maori spectrum trust, which provided access to the spectrum 2 Degrees is using for its new 3G network, and it owns about 12 percent of the mobile phone company.

Brian Leighs says attempts to bring in more Maori shareholders have had limited success so far, meaning the Maori stake was diluted as other shareholders put in additional capital to build out the network.

“It's a new asset class for a lot of Maori, being high technology essentially, and there was also quite a bit of uncertainty round the regulatory regime but now that that uncertainty is being sorted out I think there will be a lot of parties interested in coming back and having a second look at the opportunity,” Mr Leighs says

He says regulation should bring down prices for consumers, especially when they are ringing across networks.


A Maori health researcher says young people need to develop their own ways to combat and cope with domestic violence.

Dr Janice Wenn from Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa is the lead researcher for Tu Tama Wahine o Taranaki's Tupu Ake project, which has received $250,000 from the Health Research Council to come up with kaupapa Maori solutions to the problem.

She says it's not an area where templated solutions will work.

“Unless we let people actually explore and develop their own mechanisms, their own ways of dealing with things, you’re not going to get anything positive out of it because what you are doing is imposing things on people, and when you impose on people you get some negative feelings,” Dr Wenn says.

She says the objective of Tupu Ake is to help young people know who they are and be themselves.


Engineers Without Borders has taken on an alternate name, Nga Kaihanga Kore Here O Aotearoa.

Spokesperson Kai Lee says the organisation brings together volunteers whether engineering students or qualified professionals, to work on community projects throughout the Pacific.

She says the change, instituted in Maori Language Week, reflects how the kaupapa of the roopu has evolved.

“Working with a lot of Maori communities as well as South Pacific we thought it was important to have a te reo name. It would be a small but tangible expression of our how we value for te reo Maori as the national language of Aotearoa New Zealand. It expresses what our organisation is about as well which is creating things without limitations,” Ms Lee says.

Recent projects have included helping resolve engineering issues at Waitangi Springs near Lake Rotoehu, and the installation of a solar power system at Vava'u High School in Tonga.


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