Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 04, 2011

Sharples advocates Christchurch rebuild on tick

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says the government should borrow to rebuild Christchurch.

Prime Minister John Key has suggested Working For Families and interest-free student loans could be shaved to pay for central government's share of the reconstruction.

But Dr Sharples says the costs should fall on those who can afford it.

“To resurrect the city we need either to borrow, and maybe that’s the best solution – we seem to shop ourselves out of debt ok. So we should bite the bullet and say we’re going to save Christchurch and borrow. Failing that I don’t think we should touch Working for Families. It was set up for families that really need help. There could be a graded tax along the lines of ‘we give what we can afford,” Dr Sharples says.

He says tax rises should start on people earning over $30,000.


Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says she understands the frustrations of eastern Christchurch residents who feel they have been left in the dark.

The Green MP and Christchurch resident is working with Comfort for Christchurch delivering food, water and information to residents in Dallington and Aranui.

She says most people need certainty back in their lives.

“The east parts are still the bits without the water, sewerage and power. They’re the last ones to get portaloos and things. It is coming but it is going to take a few more days and people are genuinely running out of patience,” Ms Turei says.

She says now people are no longer running on adrenaline, they are just worried about what to do next.


The country's biggest iwi will gather in south Auckland tomorrow for the annual Ngapuhi Festival.

Hone Sadler, the chair of Te Taurahere O Ngapuhi Ki Te Tonga O Tamaki Makarua, says many of the 50,000 people expected at Sir Barry Curtis Park in Flatbush will be there for the music, the stalls or the kai.

There will also be forums to discuss issues like the tribe's response to the Marine and Coastal Area Bill and progress on its historical Treaty of Waitangi claims.

He says a lot of Ngapuhi are concentrated in south Auckland, and it’s a chance to see where they are going collectively as an iwi.

As officials deny they have been slow to get relief supplies into the most damaged of Christchurch's eastern suburbs, one Aranui mother is expressing frustration at Housing New Zealand.

Te Rina Anderson says her house sunk into the ground after last week's earthquake, and its walls and foundation are laced with cracks.

She fears for her children's safety and needs to get out now ... but officials say the house is suitable for living in.

“They said to me look we have to put you down on the priority list because it’s not like you have lost your house which is a bit unfair because a lot of people I know have gone through Housing New Zealand, they haven’t lost their home either. We’re also the ones waiting for power and water and I know that Aranaui is not feeling like a massive priority. Aranui feels they're forgotten,” Ms Anderson says.

She's moving to Dunedin in a week, but still needs a safer place to stay until then.


Meanwhile, Housing Minister Phil Heatley says Christchurch residents who have been rejected for accommodation should try again.

He says officials have logged more than 2000 offers of accommodation around the city, and only about 500 people so far requiring emergency housing.

Mr Heatley says Te Rina Anderson might get a more sympathetic hearing if she applies again.

“Housing New Zealand would have to look at the case. The reality is we are dealing with those particularly high needs people at the moment. She might well fall into that category and if so it will be dealt with so I encourage her to contact their help centre,” Mr Heatley says.


Radio Ngati Porou and Turanga FM have raised more than $60,000 for Christchurdch earthquake relief through a 24 hour East Coast Radiothon.

Ngati Porou station manager Erana Keelan Reedy says the event went to more than 27 hours, with the phone lines only being turned off just after midday once the pace of donations slowed.


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