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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 06, 2010

Regulation levels playing field for mobile phone cos

August 5

The chair of 2 Degrees’ Maori shareholder says regulating mobile phone termination rates will level the playing field for the new entrant.

Communications Minister Stephen Joyce has accepted a Commerce Commission recommendation that the amount companies charge their competitors for access to their networks be regulated.

Brian Leighs from Hautaki, which holds about 12 percent of 2Degrees on behalf of Te Huarahi Tika Maori spectrum trust and other Maori investors, says that should remove some expensive distortions from the New Zealand market, such as charging customers more to go on to competitors’ networks.

“It's been taken advantage of by the incumbents to pretty high degrees. The fact that is no longer an advantage to have closed network pricing means that anyone on any network can now pretty much call anyone on the other network and they will be paying pretty much the same price,” Mr Leighs says.

Regulatory certainty should help Hautaki find additional Maori iwi or land trusts willing to invest in the business.

RHEUMATIC FEVER CONCERNING HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

Health professionals from around the country are heading to Auckland today to learn how to tackle acute rheumatic fever

Jonathan Jarman, the medical officer of health for Northland, says the disease is hitting Maori tamariki particularly hard.

Acute Rheumatic Fever can cause heart damage and thereby reduce life expectancy.

Dr Jarman says as the disease develops there are places Maori kids can be pulled out of harms way... however those interventions aren't happening early enough.

“It's a thing of the past in countries like the United States and UK and Europe. If they can do it, so can we, but the we need to engage with communities, we need to have the support of all the agencies that are involved with the consequences of poverty and the message need to get out to parents sore throats matter and if your child is sick, get them to see a doctor,” Dr Jarman says.

Almost all instances of the disease are preventable, with proper treatment of a sore throat reducing the risk by about 80 percent.

MANUKAU HISTORIC PHOTOS TO GO ONLINE

The Manukau Library is about to open a rich trove of photos of the region’s history, including many photos of Maori life.

Project manager Bruce Ringer says the 2500 photos in the Footprints collection come from libraries and historical societies around the region.

They will go up on the library website in mid-August.

“There's only a few of 19th century Maori life. Cameras weren’t used much around the settlements in those times. There are a few images but not many. But there are fare more images of the 20th century,” Mr Ringer says.

MAORI AGE DIFFERENCE IGNORED BY POLICYMAKERS

A leading demographer says policy-makers have for years unfairly treated Maori by failing to take account of the Maori population's lower age structure.

Natalie Jackson from Waikato University's centre of population studies says this was ignored back in the early 1990's when the age for adult unemployment benefits was put up.

She expects it to happen again if the age of entitlement for superannuation is lifted as sought by Don Brash, the head of the Government's 2020 Task Force, to prevent a future blow-out in Government debt.

“In the future you would have as disproportion of young Maori contributing to the tax base which would pay the pensions, from with relatively few young Maori would draw,” Professor Jackson 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 positive discrimination exempting Maori from any rise in the entitlement age would be the fair thing to do.
TASMAN MIGRATION AFFECTING LANGUAGE TAKE UP

The author of a paper on how trans-Tasman migration is affecting te reo Maori says the ability of Maori to mix easily into their new society is helping to speed up language loss.

Paul Hamer's study, which is part of a larger project on the New Zealand diaspora being done by Victoria University's Institute of Policy Studies, focuses on what skills and knowledge may be lost to New Zealand as Kiwis migrate.

He says Maori migrants have a low language retention rate compared with other ethnic groups who settle in Australia.

“They are dispersed in the population. They don’t live in ethnic enclaves. They intermarry at very high rates. They don’t have the religious or cultural differences from the mainstream that so say from the Horn of Africa or the Middle East. I know Polynesian culture is not the same as white Australian culture, but they are used to that in New Zealand anyway,” Mr Hamer says.

While many of the 100,000 plus Maori in Australia are keen to learn the language, their opportunities are limited.

SPERM WHALE TOOTH TOO PREVIOUS FOR DISPLAY

The taonga Maori curator at New Plymouth’s Puke Ariki Museum says security will be an issue when the jawbone and teeth of a sperm whale are put on display.

The whale washed up north of Waitara a year ago

Glenn Skipper says the bones will be ready for display in a couple of months, but the museum is still considering whether to put the 43 teeth back in the jawbone.

“We're still exploring whether we will put the teeth back in the jawbone or put them in a secure area nearby. These are previous objects and things go missing. The last thing we want to see is someone coming in with a tool to remove them,” Mr Skipper says.

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