Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, April 01, 2011

EmplOyment law will hurt Maori workers: CTU

The Council of Trade Unions' Runanga is slamming new employments law that came into effect today.

As well as allowing all employers to arbitrarily dismiss workers in their first 90 days, the law restricts union access to worksites, allows employers to demand medical certificates for a single day of sick leave and allows the fourth week of holiday entitlement to be traded in.

President Syd Keepa says the law change will have a significant impact on Maori workers because of the position they occupy in the workforce.

“It will have a big effect because unfortunately a lot of our people are on the margins, they’re in the low pay, low skill jobs, and it’s in those areas that it will have the most effect,” he says.

Mr Keepa says rather than attacking workers, the Government should look at ways to create jobs in areas such as forestry, which is a big employer of Maori.


Associate corrections minister Pita Sharples says this week's opening of the new Mt Eden remand prison was a sign of social failure.

Dr Sharples has been visiting the rock, as the old prison is known, since the 1960s when the late Peter Awatere was held there.

He says no amount of kapa haka training behind the walls can hide the fact it's a dreadful place.

He's keen to see his Whare Oranga Ake units open in Hastings and Spring Hill prisons in July to show an alternate way to get Maori inmates back into the community as fast as possible.


Auckland's Rugby World Cup Maori engagement manager has a special task in mind for pupils in Maori immersion classes.

Lucy Tukua today launched the te reo translation of the school activity packs, which include sport development ideas and an "adopt a second team" scheme.

She says 38 out the 50 kura kaupapa and bilingual units in Tamaki Makaurau will take part in the programme in Term 3.

She is hoping to use the kura in activities like airport welcomes.


There could be a new Maori political party by the end of the weekend.

Independent MP Hone Harawira is meeting his Tai Tokerau electorate committee in Whangarei on Sunday to decide whether to start signing up enough members to get a party registered before the election.

He says he's buoyed by what he's hearing from the rest of the country.

“The response has been awesome, really positive. People are disappointed with where the Maori Party is at. People are disappointed they don’t see their MPs any more. People are disappointed the party is too close to National. They just want something different,” Mr Harawira says.

A party means he can try to attract list votes and bring other MPs into Parliament with him if he retains Te tai Tokerau.


But the rebel MP may find he has pushed his former party too far.

Despite a non-compete agreement at the time of the split, Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says Nga Puhi leaders want the party to stand a candidate in tai Tokerau against Hone Harawira.

“We've had Ngapuhi leaders growling us becaused we’ve deserted them up north and I mean the leader leaders, the ones you see on tv doing all the claim and speaking on behalf of the iwi at Waitangi and everywhere else . They’ve had meetings and they’ve been in touch with me personally, they’ve been in touch with Tariana Turia and with the president to come up north and reestablish our branches up there,” Dr Sharples says.

He doesn't believe Mr Harawira's claim that support for him to form a new political party is coming from Maori Party branches around the country.


Maori singer songwriter Whirimako Black is one of the star attractions at this weekend's Titirangi Festival of Music.

Artistic director cat Tunks from Whakatohea and Te Whanau a Apanui says the four-day festival in Auckland's west showcases local and international talent.

There are also workshops in instrument construction, ukulele, hand drumming, and music marketing.

She says Whirimako Black plays the 90-seat theatre in Lopdell House on Saturday.


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