Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Polling shows little interest in race

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the winner of the Te Tai Tokerau by-election could struggle to claim a mandate.

A Baseline poll released during Maori Television's candidate debate shows Mana's Hone Harawira and Labour's Kelvin Davis neck and neck at 41 and 40 percent support respectively, with a 4.5 percent margin of error.

Maori Party flag bearer Solomon Tipene was way back on 15 percent.

Mrs Turia says her party's polling reveals the race has failed to galvanise voters.

“Over 50 percent of the people we have polled are not sure what we are going to do. A lot of people are saying they probably won’t vote in the by-election because they see the general election as being the important vote,” Mrs Turia says.


Auckland mayor Len Brown is endorsing the awarding of a convention centre project to Sky City's mid-city proposal.

The $350 million project, which is tagged to an expansion of Sky City's casino operations, beat out competitors including Ngati Whatua's plan to use railway land east of downtown.

Mr Brown says it ties in well with the council's plans to put an underground rail loop, with a station right outside Sky City Casino.

He says he's comforted by advice from Ngati Whatua that the possible existence of a taniwha in the stream running under Queen Street shouldn't derail plans for an underground rail loop.


It's Men's Health Week, and the national Maori men's health coalition wants whanau to help their men shape up.

Mana Tane o Aotearoa spokesperson Rhys Jones says men need to understand that looking after themselves means they can look after the people they care about.

He says the disproportionate number of Maori men dying early of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease is a national disgrace.

Dr Jones says Maori boys and young men also need to be made aware of how things they do today can have long term consequences for their health.


Labour's Te Tai Tokerau by-election candidate says latest poll results show rival Hone Harawira's appeal to voters is wearing thin.

A Baseline survey of 500 voters done last week for Maori Television shows only a point separating the two main candidates, despite Mr Harawira outpolling Kelvin Davis two to one in the 2008 general election, when he was wearing the Maori Party's colours.

Mr Davis says Mr Harawira's lack of forward-looking policy is starting to show.

“I think he's trying to come across as Johnny Rebel, the maverick that is out there saying what he wants to say and not giving a stuff what people think and I think there has to be more political substance behind the noise,” he says.

Mr Davis says the survey released during last night's televised debate shows the candidates have a lot of work to do to get the voters to the polling booth.


A senior Maori Women's Welfare League member says an attempted Destiny Church takeover could be what's needed to jolt the organisation back into life.

Denise Ewe says the church has been aggressively infiltrating branches or setting up new ones, and Auckland pastor Hannah Tamaki is running as national president.

She says while the 60-year-old organisation has considerable mana and resources, in recent years it has struggled to attract younger Maori women.

“With Hannah Tamaki standing, it has awoken the league from its slumber, from its complacency. The current membership are saying how did this happen, we must get out there and do more about membership, looking after ourselves and growing the profile of the league again,” Mrs Ewe says.

The league's foundation principle that it is a non-sectarian organisation could conflict with Destiny's plans for it, whatever they may be.


Meanwhile, Ngapuhi controversialist David Rankin says Destiny Church head Brian Tamaki is the only effective Maori leader.

Mr Rankin has attacked Kingitanga leader Tuheitia, saying he was at best the King of Huntly.

But he supports Brian Tamaki 100 percent.

“Born again Maoris attacking Brian Tamaki. Brian Tamaki is changing our people’s lives. He is the only Maori leader is effective. All my relatives along Panama Rd, they were all Black Power, they‘re all Destiny church now,” Mr Rankin says.


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