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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Harawira expresses confidence in leader Bird

Dissident Maori Party MP Hone Harawira says he's confident new president Pem Bird will do a good job, even though they differ on whether the Marine and Coastal Area Bill is a suitable replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Mr Harawira says he's invited Mr Bird to visit his Tai Tokerau electorate so he can hear members' concerns about the party's direction.

He says the Murupara kura kaupapa principal has his respect.

“Pem has always been a good man, a really good kaupapa man, he’s got a really ngakau mahaki that fella,” Mr Harawira says.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has also expressed confidence that Mr Bird will carry on the work of his predecessor, Whatarangi Winiata, in building party unity.


National's candidate in the Mana by-election says independent candidate Matt McCarten's call to lift the minimum wage to $15 an hour is unaffordable.

The Unite Union boss says a high number of the Maori and Pacific island workers in the electorate are on the minimum wage, and the policy would have a substantial impact.

But Hekia Parata says it would hit the electorate's businesses hard.

“That particular platform does open a whole lot of questions about how affordable it is and whether small to medium businesses can afford to absorb that kind of cost and the official advice is they can’t and it would be at the cost of 8000 jobs,” she says.

Ms Parata says at this stage three weeks out from the poll she's not sure if Mr McCarten's run will take enough votes from Labour to let her switch her list seat for the electorate seat.


The Auckland manager of infrastructure company Downer Construction is using kapa haka to keep his workforce happy.

Henare Clarke from Ngati Porou has won an Equal Employment Opportunities Trust Walk the Talk Award for his management methods.

The 51-year-old, who started in the company's Hamilton yard when he was 18 year old, and now oversees, says the workforce is a veritable United Nations, but they find a common bond through Maori culture.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says she won't allow divisions over Maori Party support for the Marine and Coastal Area Bill to undermine its support for the Government.

The replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act was a major topic of debate at the party's annual conference on the weekend, after Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira was stood down from the select committee considering the bill.

Mr Harawira says if there is enough flax roots opposition, the Maori Party should change its vote, but Mrs Turia says that won't happen.

“People have been very clear with us, they don’t want us to pull out of the Government, they know that’s where the decisions are made and if you can’t participate in decision making, all you can do is be critical. Our people don’t want that. They do want to have a say about our future and they do want to be participating constructively in the government,” Mrs Turia says.

She sees the Marine and Coastal Area Bill as a piece of Maori Party legislation.


Independent Mana byelection candidate Matt McCarten says the money the Government is giving Warner Brothers to make The Hobbit would be better spent creating jobs for the electorate's 3000 unemployed.

The National candidate, Hekia Parata, says there is no money for job creation.
But the former Alliance president says the National-led Government seems to have no trouble finding cash for its mates, like Southern Cross Finance lenders and Sir Peter Jackson.

He says creating the jobs is easy.

“Put two teacher aides to every classroom so they could do clubs and sports and read to the kids, patrol, help the teachers and so on. It’s work and people would love that job, go down to the school and help out my school and get paid for it. That would take, if you had two for each classroom, on average, you would create 120 jobs just like that,” Mr McCarten says.

Providing home help to pensioners and invalids would also provide jobs.


New Zealands' next top model, 19-year-old Danielle Hayes from Te Whanau A Apanui, says all Maori women are beautiful.

The 19 year old has the modeling world at her feet after winning Friday night's final.

She says the contest was far removed from her life growing up in Kawerau, and she sometimes had to be remind herself she was actually living in a house in the city with 13 other hopefuls, who would have to remind her they did not speak Maori.


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