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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Turia sketches gap with National

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says it's not true the party is too close to National.

Mrs Turia endorsed party whip Te Ururoa Flavell's complaint against Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira's newspaper column criticising the support agreement with the government.

She says she endorses policies like state asset sales because they could benefit Maori, not because she has to.

“There are many things that we don’t agree with with National and in fact when our voting record is released which will show how we have truly voted, you’ll find that Labour has voted with National more times than we have, so let’s not get locked into this whole notion that the Maori Party, because we’re in coalition, that we agree with everything that National does. We do not,” Mrs Turia says.

The Maori Party leadership asked Mr Harawira to meet with Mr Flavell in Rotorua today, but the maverick MP has made a counter-offer of a meeting at an Auckland marae on Thursday managed by Tai Tokerau and Waiariki elders.

GANG OUTREACH ESSENTIAL FOR WHANAU ORA

The organiser of a weekend hui in the Hawkes Bay which brought together previously warring gang members says the government needs to wake up to changes in gang culture if it wants its whanau ora policy to succeed.

Dennis O'Reilly says the wananga at historia Otatara Pa for gang fathers and sons resulted in a peace accord between leaders of the two largest Maori gangs in the region, Black Power and the Mongel Mob.

The accord included an endorsement of whanau ora as a way gang families can address their situation.

“On the one hand you’ve got Judith Collins saying she won’t even speak with gang members. On the other hand you’ve got the Government committing itself to whanau ora and there’s no way you can have whanau ora unless you’re prepared to deal with these below the line families. It just doesn’t make sense otherwise,” Mr O'Reilly says.

He says gangs have increasingly looked for ways to avoid confrontation since Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples brought they national leaders together three years ago after of a sharp rise in street incidents.

MAORI WARNED OF BURN DANGER

Maori are urged to put more slip slop slap into their summer.

Wayde Beckham from SunSmart says while there is a widespread belief that brown people don't burn, it's not true ... and too many Maori are among the 300 New Zealanders die from melanoma each year.

He says on hot days one in five people will get sunburnt.

“The reality is no matter what your skin type is in terms of colour, you can still get burnt. For people with darker skin colour, it can take longer for them to get burnt. We say do what you can to avoid being sunburnt. No matter what your skin type, sunburn can lead to melanoma later on in life,” Mr Beckham says.

Ultraviolet radiation levels can be high even on cloudy or cooler days.

MONOPOLIES EYED FOR TREATY REVENUE

The chief executive of the Federation of Maori Authorities says Maori treaty claimants will be asking for a chunk of any state assets the next National Government may want to sell off.

Ron Mark says the business of the state owned power companies that Prime Minister John Key has indicated are on the block is based on land taken from Maori and water rights that are subject to claims.

He says they are the sorts of assets that would put post-settlement iwi on a solid foundation.

“The dimmest of us know this. When we start playing monopoly, you buy the railyway stations, you buy the electrical company, you buy the waterworks, you buy the infrastructureand if New Zealand has decided it does not need all those asse4ts and it is going to put them on the market, it’s understandable that Maori entities that are in the process of negotiating might put their hands up and say ‘excuse me, but the way, we would like those assets to be considered as part of our treaty settlement,’” Mr Mark says.

He says the Crown has been taking a beads and blanket approach to settlements, but Maori believe they now have a shot at the Crown jewels.

OBESITY AFFECTING PREGNANT WOMEN

A Middlemore hospital obstetrician says more resources are needed to explain nutrition to pregnant mothers.

Dr Alec Ekeroma says obesity among Maori and Pacifica mothers-to-be is a major health issue in South Auckland, with more than half the women he sees being overweight.

He says despite obesity causing hypertension and diabetes and leading to higher raters of still birth, there's little obstetricians can do.

“We have so many patients in clinic we do not have time to sit down with the mum and explore what she is eating, what can be cooked by the family and all that kind of thing,” Dr Ekeroma says.

The hospital nutritionists are so overwhelmed with work they can only provide advice to those women with complications.

AMBITIOUS AIM FOR BOWLS TOURNAMENT

An organiser of this weekend's national Aotearoa Maori Bowls tournament is keen to see a Maori squad in international competition.

Rawiri Evans from the Wainuiomata Bowls Club says more than 400 bowlers from across the motu are registered for the three-day competition.

He says there's growing support to name a Maori rep squad from the top talent who will be displaying their skills on greens throughout the Hutt Valley.

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