Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sharples keen on prisoner labour idea

March 11

Associate corrections minister Pita Sharples wants prisoners released to help with rebuilding Christchurch.

A former head of Corrections and now director of the Rethinking Crime and Punishment Kim Workman says 70 percent of the prison population, of which more than half are Maori, are serving sentences under 6 months and both the city and the prisoners would benefit.

He says the only thing that's stopping this is an attitude within Corrections wrongly believes the prisoners present a security risk.

Dr Sharples says he will be moving to have Mr Workman's proposal implemented.

“There were five inmates and four staff at court in Christchurch when the earthquake struck. Instead of running away they rushed around and comforted people who were frightened by the severity of that quake and the talk in some of the prisons down south is how comforting the inmates have been to the staff who have had their houses wrecked,” he says.

Dr Sharples says it would be important the media not to follow prisoners around doing beat up stories.


Rotorua lawyer and foundation Maori Party member Annette Sykes is predicting the party will morph into a new political entity being formed by rebel MP Hone Harawira.

She says she'll give him her full support, but as she is committed to defending those charged during the 2007 Tuhoe raids, will decide down the line whether she puts her name forward to contest the Waiariki seat currently held by Te Ururoa Flavell.

“The reality is that we are now having the largest confiscation of Maori land happening right under our nose this week without hardly a murmur from the people that represent us. The Maori Party will not sustain itself unless it moves to represent Maori interests, and I think they will morph. I don’t think some of the ones there will be there at the next election. No disrespect to Rahui Katene and Te Ururoa Flavell, but I think their moment in politics will be tested this next election,” Ms Sykes says.


The Maori and Pasifika adult education community wrapped up their three day conference in Auckland today, after networking to provide better services for adult learners across the country.

ACE Aotearoa met at Auckland Airports Te Manukanuka O Hoturoa marae to discuss professional development across the sector.

Co-ordinator Annaliese Robertson says the wharenui was full to capacity and the hui was a great opportunity for often isolated organisations to get together and share information.

“Quite often it's Maori working with Maori and for Maori but not often with Pacific groups in their area, so it does provide opportunities for that cross collaboration, Maori and Pacific groups working together,” she says.


MP Hone Harawira says a meeting in Auckland this morning gave resounding support for his setting up a new political party.

Mr Harawira who says he hopes to have the new party with candidates up and running within a month says the response from 50 supporters at this morning's meeting was the same as he received at a meeting held in Wellington on Wednesday.

“The meeting this morning was 100 percent supportive of the national movement. I said look you guys will have to make a commitment to doing the door knocking, the rebuilding a new party, and they are all keen. They are keen to get back out o the road and do something positive,” he says.

Mr Harawira says however if the elders in Te Tai Tokerau where he is heading for the weekend tell him they want him to remain as an independent he won’t continue putting a new party together.


Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples is backing Ngai Tahu leader Mark Solomon in his view that looking after people is more important than putting resources into rebuilding AMI stadium for the rugby world cup.

Dr Sharples says with many people still living in horrendous conditions, rebuilding the stadium is not a priority.

“To quote Mark Solomon, the rugby is a distraction and we should get on rebuilding the city and looking at where we are going, The odds are against it for a start and people aren’t in the right frame of mind to host something full blast, let alone have the premises, let alone their own houses being comfortable. So many houses, 100,000 houses need repair,” he says.


The shock of the Christchurch earthquake means health and social services that were hesitant about whanau ora are now working together.

Whanau Ora provider He Oranga Pounamu have a network of 35 Maori health and social services in Te Waipounamu with 17 located in Christchurch.

Senior Manager Angela Ria says organisations which were hesitant at first pulled together after the earthquake, nd barriers to working together have come down.

Angela Ria says Maori families have fared well through the earthquake, with only two deaths and only one was earthquake related.)


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