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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mana tops Maori Party in early poll

Mana leader Hone Harawira says he's stunned by a Horizon poll showing his party is more popular than the Maori Party.

Last week’s nationwide survey of 1845 people found 2.3 percent support for Mana compared with 2.1 percent for the Maori Party.

The poll has a margin of error of 2.3 percent.

Mr Harawira says sensed strong support in Te Tai Tokerau as he starts his by-election campaign, but the Horizon poll result is better than even he could have anticipated.

“What it probably says though is there is quite a general spread of support for Mana as opposed to the Maori Party who are probably just locked into the old loyal members they once had. I suspect also that a lot of m support is coming from disillusions Maori Party voters,” he says.

Mr Harawira says he may also be picking up support from Pakeha working people who don’t see the Phil Goff-led Labour Party as representing their interests.


Meanwhile, Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says it’s time for the party to speak out about what it’s done for Maori.

He says an accounting of the benefits that have flowed from the party’s participation in the Government will be a key weapon in the Te Tai Tokerau by-election.

“We’ve done an analysis on how much millions the Maori Party has extracted for Maori people and the projects. We’re going to publish this soon. It‘s quite stunning when you add up all the projects. And this has been dampened by slander we’re doping nothing. It’s our own fault. We’ve got to get this stuff out there,” Dr Sharples says,

He’s confident the party will win the by-election with the backing on iwi leaders in the north.


A Maori woman who has lived with HIV for 18 years says social stigma can mean many of those infected may be put off getting the help they need.

Marama Pala, the executive director of the Maori, Indigenous and South Pacific HIV/AIDS Foundation, says rate of HIV among Maori women is at its highest in 20 years.

She says because many wahine only get tested when they start showing symptoms of AIDs, which lowers their chances of survival.

Ms Pala says it’s hard enough living with the disease without having to face unnecessary discrimination.

“It’s offices like WINZ and hospitals it can pop up in and it’s just lack of knowledge so one of the jobs we do in our organization is go round and educate people so they’re not afraid of it any more. I think the hardest thing for us is getting people the see it is in New Zealand it is in Aotearoa and our community and the Maori community,” she says.

Marama Pala is one of seven global community representatives to the 19th international AIDS Conference in Washington DC in July.


The head of the electoral college which appoints directors to Te Ohu Kaimoana says members were shocked to find they had dumped chair Ngahiwi Tomoana.

Naida Glavish says the 11 members of Te Kawai Taumata used a secret voting process to pick four directors from seven nominations.

She says Mr Tomoana, who leads the Hawles Bay Ngati Kahungunu iwi, had made a significant contribution in his four years on the Maori fisheries settlement trust.

“It’s unfortunate that he hasn’t been returned by a process that is very transparent and above board. It left us all in shock actually,” Ms Glavish says.

The four selected were Rikirangi Gage of Te Whanau a Apanui, who was up for reselection, Hinerangi Raumati from Ngati Mutunga and Waikato, Matiu Rei of Ngati Toa, and Jamie Tuuta of Ngati Mutunga.


A west Auckland anti-violence worker says Social Development minister Paula Bennett's prescription for fighting child abuse amount to re-victimizing young Maori mothers.

In a weekend newspaper column Ms Bennett put forward what she called radical ideas including managing the money of at risk teen parents, making benefits dependent on having well child checks, and mandatory reporting of child abuse.

Ngaroimata Reid from Tu Wahine disagrees.

“She’s re-victimising these young mothers instead of providing the support and the resources that they need to improve their well being and to improve their way of life,” she says.

Ms Bennett claims it isn't a race or class issue, but that half the 4552 babies born to teenagers last year were Maori and half the children abused are Maori.


Political activist John Minto is considering a run as a Mana Party candidate in Epsom at the general election.

The Unite Union organiser, who Mana leader Hone Harawira describes as a great New Zealander, says after a lifetime of working outside the party system he would be delighted to be a Mana list candidate.

He would also joust for Epsom if ACT selects former mayor and National MP John Banks as its candidate,

“I'd make an appeal to the voters of Epsom not to be so bloody selfish. Why should the whole country be subjected to the policies and practices of ACT just because we have a very selfish electorate in the middle of Auckland,” Mr Minto says.


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