Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Two Degrees cracks half million

The chief executive of mobile phone company Two Degrees says the company is on track to move into the black in the next couple of years, which will stop the decline in the Maori shareholding.

The stake held by Te Huarahi Tika Maori spectrum trust's Hautaki subsidiary has been almost halved to 10.3 percent as other shareholders bring in the cash needed to expand the network.

Eric Hertz says today's announcement that just over 580,000 people had signed on in the first 19 months shows the company on the right track.

But he says despite some regulatory change there is still not a level market, so many customers still have accounts with more than one company.

“We think that probably one in three people are carrying more than one mobile phone. Until the ability to penalize someone for calling (another network) goes away, until you don’t worry about who you are calling or what network they are one, until we get that condition in the country I think people are still inclined to carry multiple phones,” Mr Hertz says.


New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the Marine and Coastal Area - Takutai Moana - Bill is both unnecessary and a total mess.

About 300 people marched from Te Papa to Parliament today to protest the bill, which is in its final stages.

Mr Peters, who was part of the Labour-led government which passed the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act, says that law wasn't the disaster its critics claimed it would be ... and the Maori Party was foolish to ask National to write a replacement.

“Our stand is the 2004 legislation where we went to all the coastal tribes, Ngati Porou, Ngati Wai, Ngai Tahu, all the ones who have coastal interests, and with them came up with this solution, which they all then backed,” Mr Peters says,

He says the concept in the new bill of making beaches a public domain which nobody owns is a nonsense.


The tutor of the top Auckland secondary school kapa haka group says the Maori performing arts are a great way to get students motivated for the rest of their education.

Te Kura Kaupapa o Hoani Waititi in west Auckland fought its way back into the top spot at the four-day Polyfest, pushing last year's winner Western Springs College into second.

Te Hira Paenga says the students are now back on their academic track, but they're feeling great.

“All our kids are talented in kapa haka. It is not even about pulling out those talents, It is about pulling out the morals and values we have in a positive way our kids are able to latch on to,” he says.

Te Hira Paenga says while only a lucky few can make a career out of kapa haka, taking part gives them a good grounding for other parts of their lives.


Ngai Tahu leader Mark Solomon says the iwi's tourism businesses are being hit by cancellations in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake.

The South Island iwi has whole or partial stakes in a number of ventures, including Tourism Holdings, Shotover Jet and Whale Watch Kaikoura.

Mr Solomon says there is little it can do to stem the losses.

“We definitely have had lots of cancellations. Tourism numbers look they are going to fall. It’s something we have got to ride out. Our businesses are up and running, so we’ve just got to see how we perform,” he says.

Mr Solomon says the Ngai Tahu might not be able to get back into its CBD head office for another year.


Family services organisation Jigsaw fears its funding for domestic violence and child abuse programmes will be cut to provide the money for whanau ora.

Chief executive Liz Kinley says many of its 45 child advocates are hosted by Maori organisations.

She says rumours are rife that many face the chop ad the Ministry of Social Development puts its Budget bids together.

Liz Kinley says the likely end of public education programmes like the "Its not OK" TV campaign will also have a negative effect of levels of domestic violence and abuse.


Auckland mayor Len Brown says he intends to visit marae around the city seeking ideas for the future.

Under the super city legislation, the council is required to draw up a development blue print plan for the next 30 years.

Mr Brown says that will require lots of public input, so he will be all over the region to get people’s ideas.


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