Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Maori preschools threatened by $400m cuts

Labour leader Phil Goff says Maori will be particularly hard hit by $400 million in cuts to early childhood education.

He says Labour has surveyed more than 400 early childhood centres about the cut in the subsidy which was intended to increase the number of trained teachers.

He says the message has come back that fees will need to rise on average by 20 percent, participation levels will fall, and the number of qualified teachers will drop.

“That was particularly so in Maori and Pasifika centres where they said fee increases are just going to lock a lot of children out because their parents simply can’t afford increases of $30, $40 a week to keep their children in quality early childhood education,” Mr Goff says

He says more than 1000 Maori and Pasifika children will be denied early childhood education because of the cuts.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says an organisation to represent the voice of Maori women may help keep parliament's women MPs on their toes.

Te Whaainga Wahine was formed at a national hui in Thames over the weekend to help women speak out at local, national and iwi level.

Ms Turei says it's the sort of initiative that is needed in what is a time of massive economic and political change affecting Maori women and their children.

“You can't necessarily say that because a leader or a political person is a woman that thy hold the kaupapa of women or particularly Maori women at the forefront of their mind. As a Maori woman in politics, what I always need is that strong political voice telling me when I do good and telling me when I do bad,” Ms Turei says.


A Hawkes Bay Regional Council water symposium has been told Maori want to know about the health a water system rather than how much can be extracted out of it to feed the land.

Roger Maaka, the professor of Maori and Indigenous Studies at the Eastern Institute of Technology and a member of the Waitangi Tribunal panel which considered the WAI 262 fauna and flora claim, says most of the participants wants to debate water allocations systems.

But he says his Ngati Kahungunu iwi was more concerned about the welfare of waterways.

“Once that's healthy that will provide for people and we take it that way rather than saying what is the volume in drought conditions, what is the volume in winter conditions and how can we maximize of exploit these. Do you start from increased production of do you start from the health of the waterway,” Professor Maaka says.


A leading Maori policeman says the appointment of Peter Marshall as the next commissioner for a shortened term has increased the odds of a Maori becoming the top cop.

Mr Marshall will come back from running the Solomon islands police force to take over from Commissioner Howard Broad, who retires in April.

Wally Haumaha, the manager of Maori and ethnic services, says his decision to take the job for three years rather than the usual five is interesting.

“On that basis the deputy commissioner in waiting, Viv Rickards, will certainly be a strong contender at the next round or in the next term the office becomes vacant,” Superintendent Haumaha says.

He's hoping for big moves from Peter Marshall to tackle the high incidence of Maori crime.


A Maori attending this week's indigenous rights workshop in Auckland says she's letting the manuhiri from around the Asia Pacific region know that New Zealand's record with Maori isn't as good as the government would like to paint it.

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer from Ngati Ruanui and Nga Rauru in southern Taranaki says there is a false perception abroad that New Zealand is a leader in respecting indigenous peoples rights.

“There are a lot of laws not in our favour and we are constantly having matters like environmental protection, our ability to use and develop our lands and resources, our inability to improve on our economic and social conditions, our inability to be consulted on things that are affecting our lands and resources,” she says.
Mrs Packer says the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the Human Rights Commission-run workshop is considering, is a good starting point to address those issues.


Labour's candidate for Tai Tonga is calling on some heavyweight help from whanau to win back the seat for Labour.

Rino Tirikatene is the nephew of Whetu Tirikatene Sullican and grandson of Sir Eruera Tirikatene, who between held the seat for 64 years until 1996.

He says his aunt was the first one round with a bottle of bubbly when he won the chance to take on first term Maori party MP Rahui Katene, and with her encyclopaedic knowledge of the electorate she will be someone to bounce ideas off.

Mr Tirikatene says he knows the rohe well from the years he has spent working in Maori social and economic development in the electorate, which covers the South Island and Wellington city.


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