Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, May 23, 2011

Poverty no excuse for child abuse

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says Maori must stop blaming poverty for child abuse.

The Associate Social Development Minister this month launched a new hohourongo (family violence) whanau intervention programme for the Auckland District Health Board area.

She says her generation finds it hard to understand how children are treated.

“All of us grew up in very poor households. This is about our behaviour, not our income, and we’ve got to stop this in its tracks and all; of us, every single one of us in our communities are gong to have to step forward and make sure we are making everybody in our street our business,” Mrs Turia says.

Abuse of alcohol and drugs seems to be the major contributing factor to child abuse.


Labour's Te Tai Tokerau by-election candidate says he's humbled by the backing the party is giving him.

The by-election was a major talking point at the party's election year congress over the weekend, with new president Moira Coatsworth emphasising the party's commitment to the Maori seats,

Kelvin Davis says the commitment he got from all levels of the organisation indicated Labour's determination to do well.

“There was just unanimous support for the fact we are contesting Te Tai Tokerau. That’s members of the party everyone who was there, knows the Maori seats are important to use as Labour and we are keen to win those seats back,” he says.

A good showing in Te Taitokerau will help with the campaign for the other Maori seats in November's general election.


Maori Televison chief executive Jim Mather says the weekend's telethon shows the value of being a state broadcaster.

The 12-hour Rise Up Christchurch telethon raised more than $2.5 million for earthquake relief.

Mr Mather says the channel brought together private sponsors such as Fontera and state funders including te Mangai Pahu and te Puni Kokori competition between channel personalities was able to be put aside.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says National has been courageous in providing dedicated money to Maori initiatives in an election year.

She says the Maori Party was able to secure $213 million of spending in the Budget when virtually every other area of spending got cut back.
Mrs Turia contrasted it with Labour's approach in Government.

“When Don Brash was in before (as National’s leader), when he started speaking anti-Maori, Labour really got speed wobbles and they tried to mainstream absolutely everything and they wouldn’t give any dedicated money to Maori at that time so we’re really pleased because it is unusual for a Government to do this,” she says.

Mrs Turia says in the two and a half years the Maori Party has been in coalition with National it has secured more than $600 million for Maori initiatives.


But Labour MP Shane Jones is questioning the Maori Party's maths.

He says Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia must hope their supporters can't read a budget, and can't tell the difference between new spending and existing funds which have been renamed.

“I did get Pita (Sharples) statement, I think it was $623 million, I’ve got three university qualifications, I couldn’t make it add up, so maybe these kura kaupapas that he’s strengthening, maybe he needs to go back there and get an abacus and work out how to add,” Mr Jones says.

His best estimate of new spending won by the Maori Party is $25 million.


Auckland Maori wardens are keen to get a rehabilitation programme developed by the Church of Scientology into the country's prisons.

Criminon, which was developed in New Zealand 40 years ago and is now used in 35 countries, offers courses in drug detoxification, ethical behavior, literacy, anger management and parenting skills.

Jack Taumaunu, the chair of the Waitemata Maori Wardens Trust, says it offers a way forward for the large number of Maori in prison, and could give prisoners skills to teach others alternatives to crime when they get out.

He says the wardens have a license to run the programme from ABLE (Association for Better Living and Education) International, which runs courses in Israel, Indonesia and Taiwan.


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