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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Harawira fears committee choking on report

Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira says the draft report of the Maori Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into the tobacco industry is the low tar rather than full strength version.

Mr Harawira says when he returns from Canada he will push his colleagues to harden the report so it focuses on the effects of tobacco on Maori, rather than treating Maori as an afterthought.

He says over 9 months the committee heard from medical professionals, health groups, smokers and their families, and the industry, so it is a strong position to make recommendations which can lead to real change.

“Put the acid on the industry in terms of things like displays, plain packaging, reduction of additives, reduction of nicotine, tax increases, all of the things we know are gong to impact directly on the industry and in terms of Maori, I want to see really strong cessation programmes for Maori,” Mr Harawira says.

He says the MPs have a once in a generation chance to make a difference.

HIDE GRAND PLAN DELIVERS AUCKLAND TO LEFT

Former local government minister Sandra Lee says the election in Auckland has left current minister Rodney Hide with a problem.

Mrs Lee says the way Mr Hide went about restructuring Auckland's governance indicated an agenda of delivering the new super city to the pro-development lobby who would sell off the assets.

The former Waiheke and Auckland City councilor says Aucklanders other ideas, and intuitively voted in favour of regional parks, publicly-owned infrastructure and public transport.

“He now has to face the Prime Minister and explain to him how he has delivered the control of an enlarged Auckland region entirely into the hands of the left,” she says.

Mrs Lee says the election result also means that Rodney Hide's agenda of excluding Maori from having a real say in city governance will be challenged.

PACIFIC POETS CAPTURED IN NEW ANTHOLOGY

Maori rub shoulders with other poets from around the Pacific in an anthology launched this week.

Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English contains the work of over 70 writers written over the past 25 years.

Co-editor Robert Sullivan says while there is a wide range of voices in what is the second volume of the Whetu Moana series, there are also ways that poets from Aotearoa, Hawai‘i, Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tahiti and Rotuma can celebrate common origins.

“They say aloha, we say aroha. The concepts are the same, there’s just twists in the language which is brought about through history and the voyaging that our ancestors did so long ago. Having something like Mauri Ola is bringing together those voices,” he says.

Mauri Ola is published by Auckland University Press.

ACT SCAREMONGERING OVER BEACH CHARGES

Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson, Parekura Horomia, says ACT is scare mongering against Maori by making a fuss over charging for beach access.

Email traffic between ACT leader Rodney Hide and Attorney General Chris Finlayson indicates a deal to amend the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill to specifically bar charges was agreed on three weeks ago, although Mr Hide announced it yesterday as a victory for new MP Hilary Calvert.

Mr Horomia says in his travels around his Ikaroa Rawhiti electorate he has never seen Maori denying anyone access to a beach, and doesn't believe there would be a push to impose charges if whanau or iwi get customary title.

“It's blatant scaremonging and it’s something I think as a nation we can move on from,” Mr Horomia says.

MAORI WORKERS ON STRIKE AFTER MISERABLE OFFER

The apiha Maori of the National Distribution Union says all of the workers on strike at a recycling plant in Takanini are either Maori or Polynesian.

Syd Keepa says the dozen workers went out because multinational company Transpacific refused to increase its pay offer from more than 70 cents an hour.

He says workers who have been at the plant for more than a decade get $13.86 an hour for dangerous and dirty work while their colleagues working for the same company in Australia start at $21 a hour.

Representatives from the Transport Workers Union of Australia have come to New Zealand to support the strike, which could include taking action against containers loaded by strike breakers.

FAMILY PLANNING CONCERNED ABOUT MAORI NON-PLANNING

Family Planning says Maori are still doing too much family and not enough planning.

The association is holding its annual conference in Wellington this week, discussing issues like positive sexuality, sex among young people, contraception, sexually transmissible infections and abortion.

Its national medical advisor, Christine Roke, says Maori access family planning services at about the same rate as other groups, but wahine tend to come in after getting pregnant rather than before.

“They've now got a positive pregnancy test and not quite sure where to go from there or because they’ve got an infection, rather than they are coming in for contraception so that’s something obviously Family Planning wants to address

Dr Roke says many Maori still feel whakama or shy about discussing issues involving sex.

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