Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Stick with democracy says Peters

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says there is a lesson for Maoridom in what's happened in Fiji.

The former foreign affairs minister says the government is wrong to Lieutenant Colonel Ratu Tevita Mara into the country, because he was a key leader of the 2006 coup ... even if he has now fallen out with Prime Minister (Frank) Bainimarama.

Mr Peters says those Maori who hailed past coups should now learn from our neighbour's troubled recent history.

“Stick with democracy because they’ve gone for four coups and the consequence over time in the last coup has been a massive drop in their economy, their GDP. Homelessness has gone from about 95,000 people to 145,000 people. It’s just tragic. There’s a lesson for Maori there. Whatever you think about democracy, it’s a whole lot better than anything else around the place,” he says.

Mr Peters says if Lieutenant Colonel Mara has information for the New Zealand Government, he should give it to foreign affairs officials in Tonga where he fled to from Fiji.


Auckland mayor Len Brown is promising to take Maori interests into account in the development of an underground rail loop in the central city.

Mr Brown says the concern raised by the Ngati Whatua representative on the Maori Statutory Board that the tunnel could upset the taniwha in the submerged Wai Horotiu stream was a minor hiccup, and mana whenua iwi will be part of the planning process.

“I have a pretty good understanding of Maoritanga and so I will certainly be listening to the views. At the same time we have got a major job to do down there with the inner city rail loop and we are full steam ahead with designating the route and in amongst all those processes will be any discussion relating to issues to do with Maori protocol or historical or spiritual issues,” Mr Brown says.


A Wellington Hospital cardiologist says Maori should have access to a currently unfunded heart drug.

Scott Harding says a Victoria University study has more than half of Maori and Pacific Island heart attack patients don't respond to anti-platelet drugs like aspirin and clopidogrel, which are supposed to improve blood flow.

He says giving Maori the more expensive prasugrel would be a better option for the overall health budget.

“What we know from research overseas is that people who have an inadequate response to clopidogrel are at much higher risk of subsequent heart attacks. That risk is estimated between two and three fold. Our research would point to Maori and Pacific Islanders potentially having a greater benefit from this drug than others.” Dr Harding says.

Maori may be resistant to the anti-platelet drugs because of diabetes or weight issues.


Labour MP Shane Jones says a poll showing the party's Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis on level pegging shows the electorate may be preparing to punish Hone Harawira for wrecking the Maori Party.

Mr Jones says the fact Solomon Tipene could only muster 15 percent support in the survey done for Maori Television shows not only that the Maori Party picked the wrong candidate but that its brand is damaged.

He says the fact Mr Davis has caught up with the Mr Harawira shows voters aren't buying their former MP's story he had no option but to start his own Mana Party.

“Never mind how Hone rationalises it, it’s waka jumping and he has wrecked the Maori Party. Now whether or not Te Ururoa overreacted or Hone was too whakakaki, too stubborn to say yes or no or whatever, the reality is once you pull the stunt Hone has done, you inordinately weaken the Maori Party, and I think a lot of Ngapuhis are sad about that,” Mr Jones says.

Labour is counting on a good turnout to get its candidate through.


A member of the Maori Youth Council says services are needed to support the families of young offenders.

Mereana Te Pere of Ngati Ranginui says the council's report delivered to Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples last week offers new ways to think about tackling Maori offending.

She says the mainstream focus is too much on the individual offender, rather than the whanau and communities they come from.

“Someone may work with the young person yet no one is supporting the parents which is not good because in the end that young person has to go home and we can work on that young personas an individual as much as possible, but if they do not have support from their whanau, they are going to fail as well,” Ms Te Pere says.

She says the youth justice system is too focused on negative behaviour.


Budding playwright Michael Rewiri-Thorsen is using the way men communicate with each other to tell a story of whanau ties.

Strong Hands starts a three-day season at the Auckland town Hall Concert Chamber tonight as part of the Tuakana-Teina Project, which pairs novices with established writers,

Mr Rewiri-Thorsen, from Ngati Kahu and Ngati Kauwhata, worked with Albert Belz to polish his tale of two brothers in a Hastings car yard workshop.

He says he’s worked on the way men talk to each other but don’t talk to each other.

Strong Hands is paired with Albert Belz's short play Te Awarua


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