Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Welfare plan floated

Prime Minister John Key says he sounded out iwi leaders before Social Development Minister Paula Bennett asked them to put their hands in their own pockets to provide child abuse services.

Mr Key says he gave the nod to Ms Bennett's speech to the Iwi Leaders Forum last Friday in which she pointed out that half the children in the care of Child, Youth and family were Maori.

Mr Key had dined with the group the night before.

“I asked the iwi leaders when I went around the tables on Thursday evening, ‘what do you think?’ and I think it’s fair to say the vast bulk of them actually agreed with her. There was push back from one or two and I think she was pains to labour the fact that this is not unique to Maori, they have arguably higher statistics in terms of child abuse that other ethnicities, and that’s just a statement of fact, it’s not about apportioning blame,” Mr Key says.

MAORI TOUR OPERATORS CAN COPE WITH NEW RULES

A Maori tourism leader says strict new rules for adventure tourism won't phase Maori operators.

Responding to a spate of tourist deaths over the past five years, the government has asked the Labour Department to devise a system of registration and safety audits according to the level of risk associated with an activity.

John Barrett from Kapiti Nature Lodge, the immediate past president of the Maori Tourism Association, says the Maori operators he has dealt with are experienced and safety conscious.

“There's a very small fringe on the outside of the sector these rules may be aimed at. The vast majority of operators, Maori and non-Maori, will have extensive safety plans in place and it will be nothing new to them,” Mr Barrett says.

IWI HELPS RESEARCH INTO SLUG DANGER

The Cawthron Institute is warning Auckland beach goers it's the time of the year to be particularly careful of toxic sea slugs.

The institute is undertaking a $250,000 research project with the Hauraki Maori Trust Board to find out more about how the slugs became sources of the poison tetrodioxin, which led to the death of dogs on North Shore beaches last winter.

Its Maori development manager, Shaun Ogilvie, says the next two months are seen as the high danger period.

“Because of what happened last year most people are being cautious about taking their dogs on the beaches anyway, so we’ve learned from that, but hopefully as we move through the study we will get a better idea of where the risk lie and what time of year and that kind of thing,” Mr Ogilvie says.

The study will involve marae around Tikapamoana, the Hauraki Gulf, monitoring beaches and sending any sea slugs to the institute in Nelson for analysis.

KEY IRKED AT PETERS’ TILT AT HELENSVILLE

The Prime Minister, John Key, says a challenge from Winston Peters in his Helensville electorate would be a political stunt.

Mr Peters has said he won't stand again in Tauranga, where another Maori lawyer, National's Simon Bridges, beat him by more than 11,000 votes last election.

Sources close to Mr Peters say the New Zealand First leader is looking to Auckland's northwest for a head to head run against the PM.

But Mr Key says he doesn't fear for his 20,000 majority.

“I don't think he will run out there actually. I don’t care if he does. I will just treat him like any other person that comes along and there will be others that run just because it’s my seat and so people will want to get a bit of profile and do that but I don’t think he will. I think it’s all part of the master plan to get people to talk about him because he’s polling and about 2 percent and he needs people to do that and in the end if he wants to run out there, I’m more than happy to have a debate about the big issues,” Mr Key says.


He was expecting Mr Peters to stand in Epsom, which was won by ACT leader Rodney Hide in 2008 with the National Party backing off campaigning.

NO FEAR FROM MAORI COUNCIL SEATS

One of Environment Bay of Plenty's three Maori ward members says other regions and towns have nothing to fear from dedicated Maori seats.

Raewyn Bennett told the Human Rights Commission's Diversity Conference in Christchurch this week that representation at the table meant Maori, who make up 28 percent of those in the council area, were more willing to come forward with their views.

She says the 82 other councils need to take another look at the issue without fear it would create disharmony.

“It's not a special right. It’s our right as tangaa whenua indigenous peoles of this land and it’s a treaty right and the fear that perhaps we are going to take over the country, it just doesn’t add up. Environment Bay of Plenty, the sky hasn’t fallen down. I think it has enhanced the way the whole council operates,” Ms Bennet says.

WHAKATU WINS PRIZE FOR KAI FEST

A Nelson marae has won a Human Rights Commision diversity award for its work, including a Waitangi Day Kai Festival that attracted more than 6000 people to sample food from around the world.

Manager Trevor Wilson says as well as its whare tupuna, Whakatu Marae has kaumatua housing, a kohanga reo and a kokiri centre that is used for health and social services.

He says the kai festival came out of a deliberate decision by the marae to only deliver programmes which would bring a positive outcome for whanau.

“We had to attract our whanau to the marae and we used all sorts of different methods and the kai fest is just another way of getting not only our whanau back to the marae but also attracting all our new migrants and our local community and anyone who wanted to have a look and see what we are up to,” Mr Wilson says.

Whakatu Marae is plans to repeat the kai festival next year.

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