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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, February 04, 2011

Goff open to NZ First coalition

Labour leader Phil Goff says he would be open to forming a coalition with New Zealand First after the election.

National's leader, John Key, has ruled out making any political pacts with Winston Peters even if he was able to bring his party back into Parliament.

But Mr Goff says MMP is about working with other parties.

“We'll work out a coalition to govern this country after November of this year and we’ll look at working with anyone that stands up for the same principles that we do and stands up for New Zealanders. That includes Winston. It includes the greens and I haven’t ruled out talking to the Maori Party either,” he says.

Mr Goff says Labour aims to win back the Maori electorates rather than concede them to the Maori Party as a potential coalition partner.

JACKSON DEFENDS MARAE BROADCAST FEE

The co-chair of iwi radio umbrella group Whakaruruhau o Nga Reo Irirangi has defended Te Tii Marae's decision to charge mainstream broadcasters who want to cover Waitangi Day events on its grounds.

David Rankin from Ngapuhi's Matarahurahu hapu says charging Pakeha media but not Maori is racist.

But Willie Jackson says iwi stations such as the Northland-based Radio Ngati Hine lose money when they do outside broadcasts, but they are committed to letting Maori know what is going on.

“If anyone should not have to pay it’s Maori radio and that is not going to be the case this weekend so I’m pleased they have decided they’re not gong to charge Ngati Hine because that would be an outrage,” Mr Jackson says.

He says it is absolutely right that broadcasters such as Radio Live, where he hosts an afternoon talk-back show, should pay because they can generate advertising revenue from their coverage.

LONG TERM UNEMPLOYED TRAINED FOR HORTICULTURE

The organiser of a marae-based horticulture course in Flaxmere says the industry is screaming out for qualified workers.

Henare O Keefe says he was approached by large Hawkes Bay growers who want to hire local people rather than bringing in workers from overseas on seasonal contracts.

That's resulted in 30 trainees on a 42 week course, with any part time work they get in the industry cross credited to their qualification.

“At the end of the 42 weeks there will be genuine jobs waiting for tem but I’ve also said to them think about being managers and supervisors, instead of working in the orchard think about owning the orchard. Those are the sorts of seeds we’re planting, trying to add a few more zeros to their thinking,” Mr O Keefe says.

He says many of the trainees were long term unemployed.

PRICE TO BE PAID FOR DEMOTING HOROMIA

Former cabinet minister and Mana Motuhake leader Sandra Lee says the demotion of Parekura Horomia could cost Labour dearly.

Phil Goff dropped the Ikaroa Rawhiti MP five places in his election year caucus reshuffle, and left Shane Jones in the second row despite the wish of Waikato Hauraki's Nanaia Mahuta that the list MP take the front bench seat she was vacating for family reasons.

Mrs Lee says Mr Horomia has managed to retain his seat against tough competition because of the respect he enjoys in Maori society.

“Unfortunately what I think we’ve seen is an argument given to the Maori Party as a gift because of a lack of strategy by Labour to this is how important they deem the portfolio of Maori affairs, that one of their most experienced minister who has held it in the seat has essentially, whatever way you try and cut it, been demoted,” Ms Lee says.

She says Labour needs to win back Maori seats as well as increase the party vote from the Maori electorates if it is to get the chance to form the next government.

ASSET SALE PUSH NOT SUPPORTED AT GRASSROOTS

Meanwhile, Waikato - Hauraki MP Nanaia Mahuta is attacking the chair of her Waikato-Tainui iwi for supporting the sale of state assets.

Tukoirangi Morgan and other members of the iwi leaders forum will put their case to Prime Minister John Key at Waitangi this weekend that they be allowed to buy in if National sells shares in the state owned energy companies after the election.

Ms Mahuta says the leaders' plans are causing concern in the tribes.

“While Tuku has said Tainui would be interested, it might be a bit premature. Most of the discussions I’ve had out amongst the electorate or people feeding back to me is that they’re really worried about asset sales so this will be a big election issue,” Ms Mahuta says.

She says power consumers are unlikely to benefit from the sell-off, and Government would lose an important source of revenue.

BOXJUICE RELEASE ALBUM ON MARLEY’S BIRTHDAY

Maori reggae band Boxjuice release their much anticipated second album at Waiwhetu Marae in the Hutt Valley on Sunday ... marking both Waitangi day and the birthday of the late Jamaican reggae legend, Bob Marley.

Lead singer Ray Bishop says the strong Maori support that bands like Boxjuice,
Katchafire and Kora enjoy has allowed a distinctly New Zealand version of the music to develop over the past 30 years.

Reggae lovers have also made this weekend's international Ragamuffin festival in Rotorua a sell-out.

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