Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, May 06, 2011

Summit offers little for 16 percent unemployed

The Maori vice president of the Council of Trade Unions says yesterday's Maori economic summit had little to offer for young unemployed Maori.

Syd Keepa says the summit in Auckland was held on the say day the Government announced an increase in Maori unemployment to 16.1 percent, and youth unemployment to 27.5 percent.

He says Pita Sharples’ Maori Economic Taskforce seems to have focused on how Maori corporates can break into international markets, rather than what is happening in the community.

“It's all very well to talk about investing in China and everywhere else but I think we should be investing in our people that are unemployed,” Mr Keepa says.

He says Maori want to work, which is why so many are moving to Australia.


Massey University Maori studies lecturer Veronica Tawhai wants Don Brash to sit in on her Treaty of Waitangi classes so the new ACT leader can learn what the document really says.

Ms Tawhai says Dr Brash's view that the treaty demands one law for all New Zealanders is wrong.

She says it's a common misinterpretation of article three, which promises Maori the rights and privileges of British subjects.

“That means that Maori have a right to be represented politically, that means they have the right to an education, they have a right to healthcare. It does not mean there can only be one law,” Ms Tawhai says.

She says the article two guarantees that Maori would have authority over their own resources and lives is what drives the notion of partnership, which Dr Brash also seems to reject.


Te Aute Trust board co-chair Whatarangi Winiata says the future of the historic Hawkes Bay boarding school and its sister college Hukarere is looking healthier.

Professor Winiata says the schools were under threat of receivership last year.

He says with help from donors in the Anglican church, a new school board has instituted much needed changes and put the schools on a sounder footing.

“It's gone from having creditors that were getting old and getting restless and any one of them could have taken action last May, 12 months ago. They didn’t. We managed to get their patience and since then we’ve dealt with all the creditors,” Professor Winiata says.

Investment in refurbishing hostels at the schools means student numbers have increased, improving the financial situation.


BERL chief economist Ganesh Nana says Maori enterprises need to find new ways to collaborate and innovate if they are to realise their potential.

In a report for yesterday's Maori economic summit in Auckland, Dr Nana predicted the Maori sector could create another 150,000 jobs over the next half century.

But he says that will require investment in science and innovation, an a collaborative approach to exporting.

“We get economies of scale. We can start investing in science and innovation. We can start investing in adding value and marketing ourselves, whether it’s putting brand Maori or brand New Zealand on the products and services we sell so we can actually start reaping the benefits of those price premiums,” Mr Nana says.

He says the Maori Economic Taskforce's Koura Inc project, which aims to bring Maori lobster exporters into a single body, is the sort of collaboration that is needed across multiple sectors.


The Medical Association wants the government to address the social issues affecting the health of Maori.

The association's new chair, Auckland University haematologist Paul Ockleford, says big strides to overcome health inequalities can be made relatively cheaply.

“From a Maori perspective there are very important matters relating to cardiovascular disease and malignancy, there’s obviously smoking and obesity. Some of the solutions aren’t simple but for some of these interventions the cost is relatively low,” Dr Ockleford says.

The NZMA is making health inequalities a priority as it's where New Zealand performs poorly in international rankings.


Auckland statutory board chair David Taipari says the appointment of a secretariat chief executive will boost the board's effectiveness in working with the Auckland city Council.

Brandi Hudson from Ngati Maniapoto and Ngati Pakiao has worked extensively in the Auckland region with Te Puni Kokiri and other central and local government agencies, and has recently worked with the Crown Forestry Rental trust on treaty claim research and negotiation.

Mr Taipari says she was a stand-out candidate.

“She was very very commited to the kaupapa of the board. Her networks, her skills, her general persona were perfect for what the board was seeking and the panel was unanimous in that decision,” he says.

Mr Taipari says other members of the secretariat will be employed on secondment from the council.


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