Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, December 24, 2010

Rule change benefits 2Degrees

Good news today for the Maori investors in mobile phone company Two Degrees.

The Commerce Commission says it intends to set the wholesale cost of calls from fixed to mobile networks at 4.6 cents per minute, and text traffic on a bill and keep basis, with zero charge between networks.

Maori spectrum claimants and their business partners have been advocating for this kind of regulation for almost a decade.

The Commerce Commission’s intervention should remove what the start-up company has argued is a major barrier to winning market share from Vodafone and Telecom ... the fact the incumbents could lock in customers through big price differences between calls or texts on their own networks and those to competitors.

Maori, under the umbrella of Hautaki Ltd, had the right to own up to 20 percent of two Degrees because of the 3G spectrum they brought to the company as a result of treaty claims.

But that stake has been diluted to just over 10 percent because Hautaki did not have the cash to keep up with the growing business, as uncertainty over the competitive landscape made it hard to attract new Maori investors.

The prospect of a level playing field means the path to profitability just got smoother . . . and Maori trusts and iwi may finally get out their cheque books.


Child abuse researcher Rawiri Taonui says impoverishment from colonisation and urbanisation is major factor in a higher rate of domestic violence among Maori.

The former head of Maori and ethnic studies at Canterbury University says earlier in the decade the rate of Maori child homicide dropped markedly.

But he says the recession has brought violence levels back to the levels of the Rogernomics era, as Maori families are harder hit by the economic downturn.

“Because of colonisation, the urbanisation of Maori and the sort of cumulative inter-generational impact of those experiences, a differential proportion of Maori are impoverished so you have this twin dynamic working together; impoverishment and not our ethnicity but our colonised experience coming together in a differential child homicide rate,” Mr Taonui says.

The trend is similar in low income communities around the world.


King Country shearer Stacey Te Huia wasn't going to let a power cut stop him smashing the world eight-hour ewe-shearing record yesterday.

The 32-year-old missed the record by just five sheep last January, and he had a sinking feeling when the lines went dead at Moketenui Station between Te Kuiti and Benneydale yesterday, just as he was about to start his final two-hour session.

But Shearing Sports New Zealand spokesperson Doug Laing says it was going to take more than this to break Te Huia, who trained for the attempt by shearing for 79 days in a row in Western Australia.

Linesmen detected and fixed a fault on a power pole, and the attempt restarted 40 minutes late.

The new record of 603 is 25 better than the total set by Ruawai shearer Matthew Smith earlier in the year


A far North leader is expecting the Government to fight a Waitangi Tribunal recommendation that Maori have more say in mineral exploration.

A new report on the Management of the Petroleum Resource found systemic failure to heed Maori concerns, and built on a 2003 report that found some Maori may have a treaty interest in oil.

Te Rarawa chair Haami Piripi says high handed treatment from officials that Taranaki claimants complained about has also been experienced by northern iwi concerned at propecting in the rohe and off their beaches.

“I think the government has really set itself on a course of conflict with iwi unless it acknowledges some kind of customary interest of customary right associated with these minerals because the days of carrying on with their business and ignoring us are over. We will take this matter as far as we can possibly take it because this is a very important issue to us and it’s as much about our future as it is about the country’s future,” Mr Piripi says.

Te Rarawa and other iwi are willing to go to the World Court to asset its right to the petroleum resource.


Christmas cheer has come to Ratana Pa near Whanganui, with the government's decision to fund a $2.7 million upgrade of the settlement’s housing stock.

Adrian Rurawhe from the Ratana Ahuwhenua Trust says the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority will repair and insulate about 100 of the 115 existing houses.

The grant will also cover the costs of getting 8 hectare of donated rural land rezoned residential for as many as 60 houses.

“Our population is aging and the young ones that have to move away from the pa to get a home generally move to Whanganui so we don’t want our people to leave and so if we provide opportunity for new housing they will stay,” Mr Rurawhe says.

The project will provide much-needed jobs for local people.


The new executive chef at Rotorua’s Hamurana Lodge says growing up hungry pushed him to learn more about food.

23 year old Charlie Brown of Tuhoe and Whakatohea grew up in South Auckland, and got his start in the food business through the innovative hospitality programme at Papakura High School.

He says he was inspired by what he didn’t have.

He intends to bring a Maori flavour to the country's first and only organic lodge restaurant, creating menus sourced entirely from local produce and including native vegetables and flavourings.


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