Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fonterra plans could entrench monopoly

The chair of Maori owned dairy processor Miraka says Fonterra's capital restructure could create a monopoly that Maori farmers will find it hard to break away from.

Kingi Smiler says the land trusts behind Miraka can supply about 40 percent of the milk needed to run its plant at Mokai near Taupo when it opens in August, but the rest will have to come from other farmers.

He fears the government could be repeating some of the blunders that have blighted competition in the telecommunications sector.

“I think if you look right around the world, and even our own New Zealand experience, when you create monopolies you don’t get innovation and you get people that don’t change. And I think that’s been clearly demonstrated both in the performance of Fonterra since it’s been formed and the telecom examples and if you look overseas all that they want to do is be the big bully in the market,” Mr Smiler says.

He says since Miraka formed, Fonterra has been courting central North Island Maori farmers to dissuade them from switching to the new processor.


A Christchurch-based Maori academic says the Royal Commission on the Christchurch earthquake needs to take a look at the adequacy of relief efforts in the city's hard hit eastern suburbs.

Rawiri Tanui says not just the area's high Maori population but also many elderly Pakeha were left un-aided for days in appalling conditions.

He says it was a marked contrast to some other areas of the city.

“My area, it’s closer to the middle class areas, there were thousands of volunteers swamping our area. Out in the east there was no one. Things like basic supplies and water, they just got forgotten,” Mr Taonui says.

He says the city's leadership and the media seemed transfixed by the drama in the CBD.


Singer Anna Coddington from Tuwharetoa and Te Arawa says her Maori heritage is starting to come through more in her approach to songwriting.

The Raglan resident has just finished a series of dates promoting her second album, Cat and Bird.

She says she's inspired not only by her life experiences and the environment, but also by places such as her marae at Waihi on the shores of Lake Taupo.

Anna Coddington will be back on the road next month with fellow singer Julia Deans.


Prime Minister John Key says the government has rejected the idea of letting soon-to-be-released prisoners from Christchurch jails help in the earthquake relief effort.

The idea of predominantly Maori prison labour comes from Rethinking Crime and Punishment head Kim Workman and has been endorsed by Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples.

Mr Key says Mr Workman, a former Correction division head, has thought the issue through and the government is still considering whether prisoners on short sentences of three months and under can be used.

“He's got one very valid point and that is when people work, they make a contribution and it lifts their self-esteem because at the end of the day we don’t want people going back to prison, we want them to lern skills and feel like part of the community,” Mr Key says.


Co-leader Meteria Turei says the Greens would have no trouble working with Hone Harawira in a future Govermnment.

Labour leader Phil Goff has ruled out the Tai Tokerau independent MP as a future coalition partner, even if he comes back to Parliament with some list MPs behind him, and Prime Minister John Key says Mr Harawira has made it clear he won't work with National anyway.

Ms Turei says she met with Mr Harawira yesterday and they agreed on a lot of issues.

“We do work with everybody. That has always been our kaupapa. We are independent and we are constructive so we will continue to work with Hone in whatever form his political movement takes,” Ms Turei says.

She doesn't understand why Mr Goff was so emphatic about quarantining himself from Mr Harawira at this point in the political cycle.


The Coastguard is using this week's Polyfest to spread the message about water safety.

Up to 100,000 performers and spectators are expected to attend the annual Auckland secondary schools' cultural festival at the Manukau Sports Bowl.

Kylie Sisley. Coastguard's education manager, says it's the perfect opportunity to get the message out to the huge number of Maori and Pacific students who'll be there.

“Unfortunately Maori and Pacific people are overrepresented in drowning statistics and coastguard are wanting to reduce those numbers, especially when it comes to boating,” Ms Sisley says.

“Key messages are to always wear lifejackets, always take a VHF radio and mobile phone in a waterproof bag and never drink alcohol while boating.


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