Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, May 20, 2011

Constitutional review funding a sham

Labour MP Shane Jones says the $2 million in the budget for Maori to participate in the constitutional review is a farce.

He says the spending has nothing to do with what the people in Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples's Tamaki Makaurau electorate need on a daily basis, and shows the Maori Party has its priorities wrong.

Mr Jones says Don Brash's takeover of the ACT Party and the deal he cut to retain its cabinet positions is a truer reflection of the current state of the constitution.

“That's how shoddy the constitution has turned into under the current government. This notion you can have a Maori constitutional input without actually taking a very long time and opening it up so it has complete support across the House is a sham,” Mr Jones says.


Northland's medical officer of health is welcoming a $12 million budget infection to fight rheumatic fever.

Clare Mills says the disease is at alarming levels in Tai Tokerau, with Maori and Pacific kids more than 20 times more likely than non-Maori to develop the disease, which can lead to heart problems in later life.

She says while the money is desperately needed to fund community programmes aimed at swabbing kids with sore throats so the disease is picked up early, it doesn't address the underlying causes.

“It is very much a disease associated with people living in poorer conditions and on lower incomes and there is a lot more that needs to be done to address some of those bigger factors,” Dr Mills says.


The developer of Te Kotahitanga says the professional development programme to help teachers relate to Maori students is starting to have an influence throughout the education sector.

Russell Bishop says he's surprised and delighted by an extra $17 million in the budget to extend the programme to another 20 schools.

He says even though it's currently only in mainstream secondary schools with high Maori rolls, the ideas underlying Te Kotahitanga are now well understood in the Education Ministry.

“Ten, 12 years ago they were saying the biggest influence on Maori kids’ achievement was their home life. Now they’re clearly saying the biggest influence is the relationships that take place within the schools and particularly in the classrooms, so there’s been a major shift in the theorizing of the ministry and amongst the wider sector,” Professor Bishop says.


Labour's candidate in the Te Tai Tokerau by-election says yesterday's budget won't harm his chances.

Kelvin Davis says while on the surface the Maori Party is crowing that it secured $100 million for educational initiatives, the devil is in the detail, and it’s hard to tell how many extra schools or classroom places will e created in the funding.

He says while the budget includes $12 million to fight rheumatic fever, which will address a real problem in the north, it does nothing to address the underlying reasons the disease is so prevalent in Maori communities, such as over-crowded housing.


Ngai Tahu chair Mark Solomon says the $42 million in the budget for trade training in Christchurch will allow young Maori to start apprenticeships.

He says rebuilding the city will take more skilled labour than the country has available, so it's important to start training now.

He says decisions on when, where, how and even whether the city gets rebuilt can't be made until geotechnical reports are available towards the end of the month.

“The rebuild itself is not going to happen any time soon but for apprentices to get them ready, we need to get the training started. We’ve got a problem in front of us to see if we can address it It is possible we have to shift,” Mr Solomon says.

Ngai Tahu has a number of blocks of land on the outskirts of the city which may be suitable to future development.


The crowd at Eden Park tonight might pick up some fresh Maori and Pacific flavours when the Blues run onto the field to take on the Stormers.

Their new fanfare played by the Auckland Philharmonia was composed by 16 year old Auckland Grammar student Alex McFarlane.

His 90-second competition-winning piece is called Wheturangi Kahurangi , or blue star, and it uses log drums to maintain a Maori and Pacific feel.


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