Waatea News Update

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Key talks up free trade benefits

The Prime Minister John Key says the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement being negotiated in Auckland this week will be beneficial for Maori.

The United States, Australia and three other countries are seeking to join the agreement already agreed between New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and Chile,
Mr Key says Maori need only look to the free trade agreement with China to see the potential benefits.

“In the two or three years we’ve now signed that deal, exports are up four times in terms of dairy and three times in terms of forestry so if you think about Maori participation in primary industry they’re big beneficiaries of that export growth and I think you will see the same if we can pursue a deal with the Americans which is really what TPP is about,” Mr Key says.

He says exceptions can be made in the agreements to protect unique rights such as those iwi may have under the treaty.

TPP A THREAT TO TREATY WINS

But indigenous rights lawyer Moana Jackson says the Trans-Pacific Partnership could threaten treaty settlements.

He says it's a bill of rights for multinational corporations and a threat not just to Maori tino rangatiratanga but to New Zealand’s sovereignty.

“There are real dangers that the Maori interest in a particular matter or a particular trading venture or a settlement that might have reserved certain thngs for an iwi or hapu could be seen as a restraint on free trade and would therefore become unacceptable to the major powers who could quite easily then demand those settlement processes be removed,” Mr Jackson says.

He says Maori have been excluded from the negotiations, even though their interests are at stake.

LOCAL INPUT INTO MO TATOU AT OTAGO

Mo Tatou, a major exhibition of Ngai Tahu taonga, has reached Otago Museum … with some local embellishments.

The Ngai Tahu Whanui exhibition was originally pulled together for a two year run at Te Papa in Wellington, and has also been seen in Canterbury and Southland.

Museum spokesperson Juliet Pierce says the Moeraki, Waihao, Hokonui, Purteraki and Otakau runaka were asked to provide taonga and photographs of significant tupuna for the Aukaha Kia Kaha or Strengthen the Bindings section.

She says it was important to include the runaka in the development and proceedings of the exhibition, because the museum is telling their story.

Mo Tatou runs until April.

GOFF OFFERS REVERSAL ON FORESHORE BILL

The Labour Party has changed its position on the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill.

Leader Phil Goff told Radio Waatea that Labour had agreed to support the bill currently before the Maori Affairs select committee on the basis that it provided a sustainable solution.

But he says it's clear the National Party and the Maori Party have made a hash of it, and he's ready to propose a simpler solution.

“You have legislation that does what everyone agrees it should do, and first of all that is any land that goes under customary title not be able to be alienated by sale into private ownership, secondly, that there is guaranteed public access by all people to all of our foreshore and seabed area and then maybe what you should do is go back to pre-2004,” Mr Goff says.

SCREENING BRINGING CERVICAL CANCER RATES DOWN

Health researchers say screening programmes are starting to make a real impact of rates of cervical cancer among Maori.

A comprehensive study of cancer incidence among different ethnic and socioeconomic groups since 1981 found cervical cancer rates had halved in 25 years.

Study leader Tony Blakely says while the Maori rate was still twice as high as women of European descent, the decline had been dramatic because screening allows early diagnosis and treatment.

“And what it demonstrates is that even though participation rates for Maori and Pacific are a little less than European, it’s not as good as we would like, there’s still enough coverage for Maori to get a big benefit from it and because the rates of cervical cancer are so much higher among Maori to start with, that participation has seen the rates come down nicely, so it’s a good example of a screening programme making a difference,” Professor Blakely says.

In contrast to cervical cancer, breast cancer rates among Maori women were increasing rapidly, and lung cancer rates were also high.

HOWARD MORRISON MUSIC REVIVED BY NEXT GENERATION

Entertainer Russel Harrison says it's a privilege to be part of group honouring the man who gave him his first big break in showbusiness.

Harrison was just 18 when Sir Howard Morrison gave him a job as a backing vocalist, and he's now on the road with the Howard Morrison Trio ... that's Howard junior along with Chris Powley.

The former Lotto presenter from Ngapuhi says apart from the singing, the hard work was getting the comic timing needed to recreate the master's stage antics.

He says Morrison Jr’s abilities as a vocalist aren’t well recognised.

The Howard Morrison Trio plays at Te Mahurehure Maori Cultural Centre in Auckland on Saturday night.

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