Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Santa Claus policy boosts party momentum

It may be an Aussie idea, but the Maori Party likes it.

Hauraki-Waikato candidate Angeline Greensill says Kevin Rudd's idea of a Christmas bonus payment is worth trying here.

The Maori Party wants the incoming government to make a one-off payment of $500 to low income families with children and superannuitants.

Ms Greensill says the major parties are ignoring poverty and whanau ora as campaign issues.

“I know the communities that suffer the most think it’s a brilliant idea. It’s bringing a little hope to them that somebody really cares enough to even talk about the issue during the campaign, because we’re not hearing it,” she says.

Ms Greensill says the $500 payment would cost around $136 million dollars, compared with the $150 billion the Government is offering to support the banking sector.


The Green's Maori spokesperson says the Christmas bonus is short term thinking.

Metiria Turei says it would be more useful to look at ways to increase family income throughout the year.

“Having a universal child benefit, which is what we want to see, so that every week families are getting money specifically charged for the care of their children and they get it for each child. That would be a much more sustainable long term advantage to families, particularly to our whanau. That would be better,” Ms Turei says.

It's also better to raise the minimum wages and benefits as an economic stimulus.


Meanwhile, the author of a major study of Maori in Australia says they are living in a political no mans land.

A new report by Paul Hamer, a senior associate at Victoria University's Institute of Policy Studies, says 60 thousand of the Maori in Australia are potentially eligible to vote ... but only 600 did so last election.

They tend not to vote in Australian elections either, which means they get overlooked in policymaking.

“If they don't exist as a group with electoral influence then in the eyes of the politicians they don’t really exist and they can’t influence policies to help them at all or they have much lesser influence,” Mr Hamer says.

The Maori vote coming out of Australia doubled from 2002 to 2005, probably because of the emergence of the Maori party.


Men have been the focus of a community day at Manurewa Marae today.

Organiser Lorraine Beyers says while mana wahine days are now relatively common, there is not enough focus on mana tane.

Activities include free health checks and workshops, a session on combating methamphetamine abuse, and demonstrations of taiaha.

“It's about being able to run an event which is promoting our tane. We have a lot of mana wahine days out there and we thought it’s time to focus on our men as they’re so important within the family,” Ms Beyers says.


The final chapter in Michael Cullen's extraordinary year as treaty negotiations minister has been written.

Dr Cullen yesterday signed a deed marking the belated entry of Ngati Rangitihi into the Central North Island Forests Land Collective.

The Te Arawa iwi had stayed out of the main signing because of a representation dispute.

They will now take part in a consortium which will hold almost $200 million in forest land and $220 million in accumulated rents.

The Crown still holds 13 percent of forests in the region to use in settlements with iwi outside the collective.

A spokesperson for Dr Cullen says there will be no more settlements before the election.


Winston Peters wants Maori to remember New Zealand First's contributions to their welfare when they cast their party vote.

Mr Peters says unlike the Maori Party, he can point to tangible achievements rather than high flying rhetoric.

He says it was New Zealand First that won extra funding for the Maori Women's Welfare League and the Maori Wardens, and got changes in tax treatment to the advantage of Maori kiwifruit growers.

“The critical thing also for Maori is the fact we did secure the minimum wage of $12 an hour in April when it was $9 just three years ago it was $9. These are important achievements that speak of a party that is not words but action,” Mr Peters says.

New Zealand First has also been thanked by central North island tribes for the work it did behind the scenes to help bring about the Treelord forestry settlement.


A Maori political scientist says the rise of the Maori Party may encourage Maori in Australia to vote.

A report by researcher Paul Hamer say only one percent of a potential 60,000 Maori voters across the Tasman cast a ballot in the last election.

Kaapua Smith says most Maori who move to Australia probably feel that actions by governments back in New Zealand no longer affect them.
The Maori Party may change that.

“Before the Maori Party, the New Zealand Government focused on laws for New Zealanders in New Zealand. The Maori Party has a kaupapa of looking after Maori in New Zealand or overseas,” Dr Smith says.


One of the country's newest artistic laureates says the $50,000 prize gives him a lot of confidence for the future.

Painter Shane Cotton from Ngapuhi was one of five people honoured for their achievements at the ninth Arts Foundation Laureate Awards.

The 44-year old says while his work has attracted attention because of handling of Maori themes, he's aiming for the broader picture.

“I don't try to make a Maori image. I just try to make an image that is in keeping with the thematic concern at the time, and if it comes out looking as slightly less Maori or it’s perception is less Maori, I don’t really have a problem with that. I sort of go with it. I love Maori artforms, traditional and customary forms which have been a big influence for me and sometimes I bring those things into my work but sometimes I feel the work doesn’t need to have those things to make some kind of statement,”
Cotton says.

He's humbled to receive the award at this stage in his career.


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