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Monday, November 29, 2010

Brash bashing Maori Party for Orewa faithful

Former National Party leader Don Brash says he’s deeply troubled by the existence of National’s support partner, the Maori Party.

Dr Brash, who’s paid by the government to come up with ideas about where New Zealand should be in 2025, used a speech to the party’s Orewa branch to reprise his 2004 Orewa nationhood speech, which was widely seen at the time as an attack on Maori.

But Dr Brash says that’s not his intention, and he’s arguing for All New Zealanders to be treated equally.

“If New Zealanders of European ethnicity were to say we want a European party in parliament, I’d be deeply troubled by that and I think most New Zealanders would be. If the Chinese decided to have a Chinese party in parliament, I think I’d be troubled by that too. I think there is a real risk in having race based parties, and amongst throughout the world where there are race based parties, you get a degree of tension between races which I think is entirely unhelpful, Dr Brash says.

He says Maori seats have failed to prevent disparities between Maori and non-Maori in health, education and justice, and they should be abolished, probably once the treaty settlement process is completed.


Maori landowners in the Bay of Plenty are testing whether South African lace bugs can control woolly nightshade.

Forest scientist Jeff Tombleson says the invasive plant is well established on the 180 hectare Ngapeke Lands Trust Block at Welcome Bay, and it’s stifling the regrowth of native bush.

He says 300 lacebugs were released this week, and if they prove effective they will be used on other land blocks.

“While this particular insect sucks the sap and dries the leaf out and stunts the growth, ideally it would hopefully result in the death of the plant and if that occurs there will obviously will be considerable demand to move this biocontrol out to the other regions as soon as possible,” Mr Tombleson says.

The experiment has the backing of Ngati Pukenga and Ngati He, as well as Bay of Plenty Regional Council.


Researchers around the world are taking note of the whanau approach taken in the Growing Up in New Zealand long term study.

A team at Auckland University is tracking 7000 children from birth until their 21st birthday.

Polly Atatoa Carr, its associate director, says it’s different from similar longitudinal studies in the way data is collected on the whole family.

“We are looking at whanau ora I guess, we are looking at hauora, we are looking much broader, much more aligned I think with Maori models or indigenous models of health so we do look at the whanau, we have a whole domain looking at that,” Dr Carr says.

A new English study is deliberately modeling itself on the Growing Up in New Zealand study.


Public health researchers say the Government needs to act fast to maintain the momentum built up by the Maori affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry.

In an editorial in the New Zealand Medical Journal, researchers from the University of Otago and Whakauae Research for Maori Health and Development called on the government to pass the legislation needed to ban tobacco sales by 2025.

Professor Tony Blakely from the university’s department of public health says the inquiry came up with some sound recommendations.

“So it’s time to put flesh on these bones and the korero’s been great but now we need to legislate that date in, set that goal. Tariana Turia as associate minister has already got four or five initiatives off and going within a day of the Maori affairs select committee. We have identified 15 other recommendations in this report that could be done now without much political cost, without much financial cost, it’s just a matter of doing it,” Dr Blakely says.


Playwright Albert Belz is setting an ambitious schedule for his writer’s residency at Victoria University.

The 37-year-old from Ngati Porou and Ngapuhi hopes to spend the year at the International Institute of Modern Letters completing a stage play, three short plays for tamariki, and the second draft of a novel for rangatahi.

He says it comes at the right time, as he’s just come to the end of a Waikato University residency.

Albert Belz’s most recent play was the musical Raising the Titanics, which won acclaim at this year’s Maori playwrights festival in Auckland.


Organisers of Te Matatini are breathing easier now the Eastland Community Trust has pledged a quarter of a million dollars towards the staging of the national kapa haka competition.

Organising committee member Willie Te Aho says the grant from the trust, which holds shares in the region’s port, airport and power company, covers about 13 percent of the total budget.

He says the trust can see the value of the festival, which is expected to attract more than 10,000 people a day to the Waiohika Estate just out of Gisborne in late February.

“They see this as a long term partnership with Tairawhiti and kapa haka because we have our 60th anniversary for our regional competition in 2012 and also looking forward to the secondary schools nationals in 2014 with Lytton High School the current champions,” Mr Te Aho says.


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