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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tainui plan gets Key endorsement

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed Tainui's plan to set up whanau ora centres which will put iwi health and welfare providers and government agencies under a single roof.

Tainui says the centres will be in Te Rapa and Manukau, with the agencies taking long-term leases.

Mr Key says it will be up to the Minister for Whanau Ora, Tariana Turia, to decide who will provide the services and what bricks and mortar will be needed.

“I think these partnerships between Maori and the Crown are going to continue and there are lots of areas we can work together for mutual benefit of both parties and if you are looking at somewhere like The Base where you have a huge number of people coming at any given time, it could very easily be a place where you have that kind of organization,” he says.

Mr Key is expecting direct discussion on the proposal this week when he attends an Iwi Leaders Forum in Hopuhopu on Thursday night and then at koroneihana celebrations for King Tuheitia on Friday.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says a new trade training scheme should extend into information and communications technologies.

The party wants to see a reintroduction of the schemes, which were scrapped along with the Department of Maori Affairs at the end of the 1980s.

Mrs Turia says that decision meant a generation of Maori missed out on training that would have given them sustainable jobs and careers.

But she says teaching traditional trades like carpentry and plumbing should not be at the expense of the new areas of work.

“Most young people would get a huge buzz out of learning a trade and they would probably get a bigger buzz out of being able to learn more IT skills and being involved in animation, making films. There is a world out there for our young people and we’ve got to make sure they are included in it,” Mrs Turia says.


Northland's Ngati Rehia has set up its own hapu rangers to care for its whenua around Takou Bay north of the Bay of Islands.

Clinton Rameka, the project manager for the Takou Were-Te-Mokai group, says rangatahi are give training through NorthTec in pest management and ecology.

He says having locals on the job breaks down barriers, so they know who to ask for access when monitoring the waterways and setting trap lines.

Takou Were-Te-Mokai is working with other hapu who want to train rangatahi to become rangers.


The Greens say the headlong rush towards compulsory superannuation needs more debate.

Both Labour and National have indicated the compulsory option, rejected by a referendum 10 years ago, will be revived as an election issue.

Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says it has major implications for Maori, because few Maori reach retirement age even though they make up an increasing percentage of the workforce.

She says Maori also tend to earn less early in their working lives, so their final pay-outs will be lower from a contributory scheme.

“We've been open to looking at it because we do need to do something about superannuation, we need to find an effective way of making sure we can continue to fund it, so we will look at it but those equity issues particularly for Maori are very serious and we will need to make sure that any system addresses that somehow,” Ms Turei says.


Accounting firm Deloitte's new Maori partner says one of his first tasks will be to hire enough Maori accountants to deal with expected growth from the sector.

Leon Wijohn from Te Rarawa and Tuhoe says he's shifted to the global giant because many of his clients are outgrowing what he could provide through is own Auckland-based firm.

He says while there now seem to be plenty of Maori lawyers, less than two percent of chartered accountants are of Maori descent, which isn't keeping up with growth.

“You known in Auckland alone there are 500 new small Maori businesses alone and if you look at GDP, Maori business about three years ago was about 2.2 percent and now we’re about 4.89 percent so we’re growing and it’s going to be at 10 percent before we know it so things are growing,” Mr Wijohn says.

He will also be responsible for extending Deloitte's reach into small to medium-sized enterprises, which is feasible because modern computerised accounting package have reduced the amount of manual work needed, allowing accountants to concentrate on giving strategic advice and guidance.


Auckland University's School of Population Health is taking an in your face approach to Maori babies being exposed to secondhand smoke.

Research leader Marewa Glover says Te Piripohotanga is a family-centred tobacco control programme that aims to raise awareness about the harm smoking environments can do to infants.

It was developed because of concern about the high rate of hospital admissions of Maori babies for acute respiratory illnesses, and started with a review of about three dozen overseas initiatives.

“The overall review of those trials wasn’t able to demonstrate their effectiveness and it seems that you need more intensive interventions like Te Piripohotanga where kaimahi are actually going into the homes and working with whanau, because we really do need to find something that helps parents reduce their smoking around the kids,” Dr Glover says.

A parallel study in Australia is targeting the health of the health of indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island infants.


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