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Monday, December 13, 2010

Sharples keen on four year term

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says he likes the idea of a four-year parliamentary term.

He and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English are co-chairing a constitutional review to consider issues like the term of parliament, the number of MPs, the future of the Maori seats and the place of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Prime Minister, John Key, has backed extending the term, and Dr Sharples says he’s finding it tough to cram everything into three years.

“The first year you are still getting used to your portfolios. The second year, which is this year, you work like hell, you really go for it. Next year you’ve only got a few months before you a preparing for an election again so maybe a four year term is good and you can sort of get some continuity in things,” Dr Sharples says.

He says the workload has been made worse with parliament in urgency trying to cram things in before the Christmas break.


A Hawkes Bay health and social services provider hopes giving wahine Maori more information will help pick up cancers early.

An Otago University study has found the rates of breast, lung, lymphatic, and blood-carried cancers are rising among Maori women.

Sharon Rye from Te Kupenga Hauora Ahuriri says a demystifying cancer expo at Pukemokimoki marae aimed to show women what services exist to find and treat cancer.

“It was a huge information day, sharing of information flowing from both sides from the community and the whanau back to the providers and from the providers to the whanau. It was a very worthwhile exercise,” Ms Rye says.

As a result of what it learned in the exercise, Te Kupenga Hauora Ahuriri aims to employ more cancer support staff.


The head of Te Wananga O Aotearoa says the tertiary provider is taking a cautious approach to its move into secondary education

The wananga has got the green light to establish vocationally-oriented secondary schools or tai wananga in Palmerston North and Hamilton.

Bentham Ohia says the schools will have a Maori kauapa but the language of instruction will be English.

He says they will be closely monitored.

“Our aim is to provide an excellence-based educational initiative within the secondary school environment. We will move as we look to hone down the model, as we look to ensure that the achievement levels of our students realise our aspiration. This will be a quite cautious approach as we sort of look to a greater timeline in our model,” Mr Ohia says.


Labour MP Shane Jones says the Maori Party has put the Treaty of Waitangi at risk through its constitutional review.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples and deputy Prime Minister Bill English will be leading the review, which is expected to take up to three years.

Mr Jones says Maori Party wants to make the treaty part of a written constitution … but it needs to think through the consequences.

“Just go slow, be very careful, because once you start asking courts to ascertain what tikanga ought to prevail, is it the Maori Land Court, is it the High Court, and if you put the treaty into law then you are actually inviting the courts to define the treaty,” he says.

Mr Jones says the review is likely to turn into a three year talkfest, with any recommendations put into the too hard basket.


A lawyer with extensive experience working with rangatahi says a review of the treatment of children in police custody needs to take a close look at the role of welfare agencies.

The review by the Human Rights Commission, The Office of the Children's Commissioner and the Independent Police Conduct Authority aims to see whether New Zealand is meeting its obligations under the international Convention Against Torture.

Hyrum Parata from Ngati Toa says amendments to the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act which came into force in October have created more demand for places in secure youth facilities than there are beds.

He says some Child Youth and Family staff fail to put the needs of the child first.

“Someone would turn up to the police station that in a hurry, has other commitments, private commitments probably. The priority that should be given to the youth in custody seems to become a secondary matter and it is not good enough. There must be some way of drafting or compiling a checklist followed to the letter as opposed to having these arbitrary responses to any situation,” Mr Parata says.

He says the bulk of children spending time in police custody are Maori.


Maori research group Nga Pae o te Maramatanga wants to identify how the Maori language adds value to society.

Director Charles Royal says the study, Te Pae Tawhiti or the distant horizon, will look at issues like economic development, cultural identity and social cohesion.

He says New Zealand as a nation seems unconvinced about the value of te reo Maori.

“What we are attempting to do with this piece of research is try and understand the way the language enriches the lives of all New Zealanders and New Zealand society generally and the economy generally and what might be the potential contribution of the language in years to come,” Dr Royal says.

The study will also look at how more people can be encouraged to use te reo Maori.


Blogger Unknown said...

Child custody laws are needed because divorce situations are emotionally draining and can get quite heated at times. Children are very vulnerable in these situations, and if their parents start fighting over who should “get the kids,” they become even more in danger of emotional trauma. By having laws in place, states help protect the children somewhat from being stuck in the middle like this.

9:29 pm  

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