Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lost generation not acceptable

Labour leader Phil Goff says the country can't afford a lost generation of unemployed young Maori.

In today's state of the nation speech at the New Lynn Community Centre, Mr Goff pledged a greater investment in education, from the pre-school level to skills training later on.

He says far too many Maori boys and girls are moving from underachievement at school to unemployment and social offending.

“It is an absolute disgrace that half of our young Maori girls leaving school go on to unemployment, written off before they begin their life. You just cannot have a society that writes people off by throwing them on the unemployment scrapheap. We’ve got to provide the skills training. We’ve got to provide a future for them. We’ve got to give them hope,” Mr Goff says.


An urban Maori representative on the Auckland council's Maori advisory board says Maori have now got what they wanted from the super city reform.

The nine-member appointed board has nominated two members to each of the council's 20 subcommittees.

John Tamihere says that gives Maori more power than they would have got if National and ACT had not blocked the Royal Commission recommendation for dedicated Maori seats at the top table.

“For the first time in the history of a major city we can sit at the table where major decisions are being formulated rather than having to protest and march down streets after the event,” he says.

Mr Tamihere says the attack on the arrangement by Labour's Auckland spokesperson Phil Twyford shows Maori can't trust Labour.

But Mr Twyford says Labour supports democratic Maori representation in local government, but not self-appointed representatives having the casting vote alongside elected councillors.


A group reviving the ancient Maori ball game Kio Rahi will play demonstration matches on the Treaty grounds on Waitangi weekend to whet people's appetite for a competition timed to coincide with the Rugby World Cup later in the year.

Organiser Harko Brown says September's tournament with teams from France, Tonga and England at venues around the country has the endorsement of Rugby New Zealand chief executive Martin Sneddon.

The New Zealand men's and women’s teams which competed in Europe last year will reassemble at Waitiangi for the demonstration matches.


Phil Goff's election year state of the nation speech has got the thumbs up from a Maori member of Labour's ruling council.

Rudy Taylor from Ngapuhi says the Labour leader's speech to party faithful at the New Lynn Community Centre this afternoon hit the right notes with its focus on a fairer tax system and investment in jobs, education and skills training.

Mr Goff promised the next Labour government would drop tax on the first $5000 in income, claw back some of National's tax cuts for high earners and crack down on tax avoidance.

Mr Taylor says the economy is hitting Maori families hard.

“The fact is that the Government of today is putting a lot of our own people under pressure in terms of high employment, in terms of initiatives and vision about where the country is going and I think Phil’s given his speech to let people know what the Labour Party is going to deliver. Yes, there is such a thing as high Maori unemployment and I hop that the initiatives he is going to create will help our own people,” Mr Taylor says.


The chair of the Ngapuhi Runanga, Sonny Tau, says the northern iwi won't feel bound by what other tribes have come when it comes to negotiating settlement of its historic claims.

The runanga is seeking a mandate for a spin-off body, Te Roopu o Tuhoronuku, to seek a mandate to negotiate with the Crown without waiting for the Waitangi Tribunal to finish hearing all northern claims.

Mr Tau says the evidence the tribunal has heard so far, on Ngapuhi's traditional understanding of the 1835 Declaration of independence and 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, provides a solid basis to work from.

“The Crown must pay for the grievances it has caused Ngapuhi against He Whakaputanga o te rangatiratanga me te Tiriti o Waitangi. No more. No less. There is a quantum there and we expect to blow that quantum apart with the thesis Ngapuhi has that our tupuna did not cede sovereignty,” Mr Tau says.

He says Ngapuhi will want compensation to repair the damage colonisation did to its language and culture, as well as its loss of land and other grievances.


Maori social commentator Rawiri Taonui says it is unfathomable that there are no Maori on the New Zealand Tourism Board.

The government-funded board has come under fire for its latest international marketing campaign which omits any Maori content.

Mr Taonui says the board's website proclaims it as a multicultural organisation, but the Tourism Minister, John Key, hasn't seen fit to reflect that at governance level.

“There are no Maori, no Pasifika and no non-Pakeha people on the board of 12 to 14 people. Now if you look at the award winners from last year, three of the 14 prizes given out were Maori businesses and about half or more of the other businesses had Maori content in their operations,” Mr Taonui says.


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