Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Maiden Speech Notes of Mita Ririnui

MAIDEN SPEECH NOTES
SHORT PRAYER (IN MAORI)`

MR. SPEAKER, I MOVE THAT A RESPECTFUL ADDRESS BE PRESENTED TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR GENERAL IN REPLY TO HIS EXCELLENCY’S SPEECH. IN SO MOVING, I PAY TRIBUTE TO THE SUCCESSIVE GENERATIONS OF DISTINGUISHED MAORI MEMBERS WHO HAVE STOOD BEFORE ME IN THIS HOUSE TO REPRESENT THE VIEWS AND CONCERNS OF THEIR PEOPLE. I AM HONOURED, MR SPEAKER, TO STAND IN THEIR SHADOW. I ACKNOWLEDGE IN PARTICULAR, THE LIFE AND WORK OF MY ESTEEMED ELDER AND MENTOR, THE LATE BROWN REWETI, WHO REPRESENTED THE EASTERN MAORI ELECTORATE FOR LABOUR FROM 1968 TO 1981.

LET ME NOW CONGRATULATE HELEN CLARK ON LEADING THE LABOUR PARTY TO VICTORY AT THE LAST GENERAL ELECTION AND ON ACHIEVING THE DISTINCTION OF BEING THE FIRST WOMAN TO BE ELECTED TO THE OFFICE OF PRIME MINISTER. WOMEN WILL NO DOUBT TAKE HEART FROM HER SUCCESS AS THEY WILL FROM THE PRESENCE IN THIS HOUSE OF THE 34 OTHER WOMEN REPRESENTING VARIOUS ELECTORATES AND REGIONS.

CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU, TOO, MR SPEAKER, ON ATTAINING THE HIGHEST OFFICE IN PARLIAMENT. YOUR UNANIMOUS ELECTION TO THE POSITION IS AN INDICATION OF THE CONFIDENCE THAT WE HAVE IN YOUR EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE. I HOPE THE MEMBERS WILL SHOW YOU THE RESPECT YOU DESERVE.

GREETINGS TO MY COLLEAGUES, THE MINISTER AND ASSOCIATE MINISTERS OF MAORI AFFAIRS AND TO ALL THE MEMBERS OF THIS HOUSE.

WAIARIKI IS A NEW ELECTORATE STRETCHING FROM THE WESTERN REACHES OF THE TAURANGA HARBOUR TO THE EAST CAPE AND THEN SOUTH TO INCLUDE TAIHAPE. IT ALSO INCLUDES TOKOROA AND TURANGI IN THE WEST AND LAKE WAIKAREMOANA IN THE SOUTH EAST.
THE NAME ORIGINATES FROM THAT OF THE MAORI LAND DISTRICT, WHICH IS ADMINISTERED FROM ROTORUA.

THE MAJORITY OF MY CONSTITUENTS BELONG TO ONE OR MORE OF THE LOCAL TRIBES. MOST OF THESE TRIBES BELONG IN TURN, TO ONE OF THE TWO MAJOR CONFEDERATIONS - MATAATUA AND TE ARAWA. THE REST AFFILIATE TO EITHER TAINUI OR TAKITIMU.
THERE IS, IN ADDITION, A GROWING NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO COME FROM TRIBES OUTSIDE OF THE ELECTORATE. THEY LIVE MAINLY IN THE CITIES OF TAURANGA, ROTORUA AND TAUPO AND IN THE TOWNS OF TOKOROA AND TURANGI. THE PEOPLE OF MY ELECTORATE HAVE RETAINED MUCH OF THEIR TRADITIONAL CULTURE AND SOCIAL ORGANISATION. AND COMPARED TO SOME OTHER AREAS OF THE COUNTRY, THE LANGUAGE IS STILL QUITE WIDELY SPOKEN. ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS, THEY STILL OPERATE AS WHANAU AND HAPU.
BUT IT IS USUALLY AS TRIBES THAT THEY INTERFACE WITH EACH OTHER AND WITH LOCAL AND CENTRAL GOVERNMENT.
FOLLOWING THE WARS IN THE 1860S, VAST TRACTS OF MAORI LAND IN THE BAY OF PLENTY WERE CONFISCATED AND ARE NOW THE SUBJECT OF WAITANGI TRIBUNAL CLAIMS. AND, DUE TO THE DEALINGS OF THE MAORI LAND COURT AND OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, CERTAIN LANDS IN AREAS THAT WERE NOT SUBJECT TO OUTRIGHT CONFISCATION ARE ALSO UNDER CLAIM. INORDINATE AMOUNTS OF TIME AND ENERGY ARE CURRENTLY GOING IN TO THE PREPARATION, PRESENTATION AND NEGOTIATION OF THOSE CLAIMS AND THERE IS GROWING FRUSTRATION WITH THE PROCESS. THE PERCEPTION IS THAT PROFESSIONALS HAVE CAPTURED THE PROCESS AND THAT ITS ADVERSARIAL NATURE IS AT ODDS WITH MAORI DECISION-MAKING. TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE TIME PUT IN BY IWI RESEARCHERS (MOSTLY UNPAID), LAWYERS, HISTORIANS, OTHER EXPERTS AND TRIBUNAL MEMBERS AND THEIR STAFF,
THE ALL-UP COST OF CLAIMS IN WAIARIKI MUST RUN INTO MANY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. THE CYNICS OUT THERE DELIGHT IN OBSERVING THAT TREATY-RELATED ISSUES NOW CONSTITUTE A GROWTH INDUSTRY.

THE TREATY OF WAITANGI IS, OF COURSE, MUCH LARGER THAN THE RESOURCE CLAIMS THAT IT UNDERPINS.

IT IS NOW WIDELY ACCEPTED THAT THE SIGNING OF THE TREATY MARKED THE BEGINNING OF CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT IN NEW ZEALAND. UNDER THE TERMS OF THE TREATY, THE CROWN RECOGNISED THE EXISTING RIGHTS OF MAORI AND PROMISED TO PROTECT THEM. BY THIS ACTION, MAORI WERE ACCORDED A UNIQUE CONSTITUTIONAL STATUS. WHAT THIS MEANS IN TERMS OF INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS IS OPEN TO QUESTION BECAUSE BY THE TIME THAT NEW ZEALAND’S CONSTITUTIONAL, LEGAL AND POLITICAL ARRANGEMENTS WERE BEING ESTABLISHED, THE TREATY HAD BECOME “A NULLITY” AND MAORI POLITICAL AUTHORITY HAD BEEN EFFECTIVELY ERODED. THE LONGEST STANDING MAORI GRIEVANCES ARE NOT ABOUT LAND OR FISHERIES OR FORESTS BUT ABOUT THE EROSION OF MANA MAORI MOTUHAKE – MAORI AUTONOMY, SELF-DETERMINATION OR SELF-RULE. THE ONLY REAL CONCESSION MADE TO THE MAORI PEOPLE’S STATUS UNDER THE TREATY WAS THE INSTITUTION OF SEPARATE PARLIAMENTARY REPRESENTATION IN 1867.
THE MATTER OF THE MAORI PEOPLE’S CONSTITUTIONAL STATUS REMAINS ON THE AGENDA, AND IS THE SUBJECT OF GROWING DEBATE NOT JUST IN MY ELECTORATE BUT NATIONALLY. IT HAS BEEN ON THE AGENDA FOR THE PAST 160 YEARS AND I PROMISE YOU, IT IS NOT GOING TO GO AWAY.

THE MATTER NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED BY BOTH MAORI AND THE GOVERNMENT AS THERE IS AN URGENT NEED FOR AN AGREED FRAMEWORK TO GUIDE THE FORMULATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF POLICY. THE GOVERNMENT HAS COMMITTED ITSELF TO CLOSING THE GAPS BETWEEN MAORI AND PAKEHA. THIS COMMITMENT POSES A HUGE CHALLENGE FOR THE GOVERNMENT BECAUSE THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC GAPS WE ARE TALKING ABOUT ARE HISTORICAL AND DEEPLY-ROOTED. THEY HAVE THEIR ORIGINS IN THE EVENTS THAT OCCURRED BETWEEN THE SIGNING OF THE TREATY AND THE POVERTY THAT OVERTOOK MAORI AS TRADITIONAL AUTHORITY ERODED AND THEIR RESOURCES WERE STRIPPED AWAY. THEY ARE THE FRUITS OF DISPOSSESSION.

THE POLICY FRAMEWORK I AM THINKING OF WILL BE ONE THAT MAORI AND THE GOVERNMENT HAVE SETTLED ON THROUGH NEGOTIATION, ONE THAT REFLECTS AND GIVES EFFECT TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL STATUS OF MAORI. IN THE ABSENCE OF AN OVERARCHING FRAMEWORK, WHICH REFLECTS A SHARED UNDERSTANDING OF THE MAORI PEOPLE’S POSITION, GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS HAVE BEEN LEFT TO THEIR OWN DEVICES. THE RESULT HAS BEEN A PROLIFERATION OF TREATY FRAMEWORKS (NONE OF WHICH HAVE BEEN CONSENTED TO BY MAORI) AND AD HOC, PIECEMEAL AND INCONSISTENT APPROACHES TO MAORI DEVELOPMENT. WE CANNOT AFFORD TO BE PIECEMEAL IN OUR APPROACH TO CLOSING THE GAPS.

HOW SHOULD THE MATTER OF A COMMON FRAMEWORK BE APPROACHED?
I DRAW THE ATTENTION OF THE HOUSE TO RECOMMENDATION 7 IN THE REPORT OF THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM 1986. IT READS AS FOLLOWS: “PARLIAMENT AND THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD ENTER INTO CONSULTATION AND DISCUSSION WITH A WIDE RANGE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MAORI PEOPLE ABOUT THE DEFINITION AND PROTECTION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE MAORI PEOPLE AND THE RECOGNITION OF THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL POSITION UNDER THE TREATY OF WAITANGI.” I URGE THE NEWLY FORMED SPECIAL CABINET COMMITTEE ON CLOSING THE GAPS TO INITIATE FORTHWITH, A PROCESS FOR SEEKING THE VIEWS OF THE MAORI PEOPLE ON HOW THE CONSTITUTIONAL TALKS RECOMMENDED BY THE COMMISSION, SHOULD PROCEED.

MR SPEAKER, THE RESOLUTION OF THE SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES OF THE TREATY ARE CRUCIAL TO THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE CLOSING THE GAPS POLICY. CAPACITY BUILDING IS THE MEANS BY WHICH THE GOVERNMENT EXPECTS TO ACHIEVE ITS OBJECTIVE. TO ME, CAPACITY BUILDING MEANS ASSISTING LOCAL COMMUNITIES TO GROW THE INFRASTRUCTURES THEY NEED TO REGAIN CONTROL OVER THEIR FUTURE, WITHOUT TRYING TO DICTATE THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS.
IWI AND HAPU ARE TIRED OF BEING TREATED AS MERE EXTENSIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRACY. A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF, AND RESPECT FOR, THE CONSTITUTIONAL POSITIONS OF THE RESPECTIVE PARTIES IS NEEDED IF THE CAPACITY BUILDING PROGRAMME IS TO SUCCEED.

IN SOCIO-ECONOMIC TERMS, MY ELECTORATE PRESENTS A MIXED PICTURE. THE RESTRUCTURING WE WENT THOUGH IN THE LATE 1980S AND EARLY 1990S DEVASTATED SOME OF THE MAORI COMMUNITIES IN MY ELECTORATE AND RECOVERY FOR THEM, HAS BEEN SLOW. AT THE LAST CENSUS THE MAORI MALE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE RANGED FROM 16% IN ONE DISTRICT TO 31% IN ANOTHER, AND WAS ABOUT THREE TO FIVE TIMES HIGHER THAN THE NON-MAORI RATE. WHILST THE SITUATION MAY WELL HAVE IMPROVED SINCE THEN, THE PROBLEM IS THAT MANY MAORI LACK THE EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS, SKILLS AND/OR EXPERIENCE NEEDED TO COMPETE FOR JOBS IN THE LOCAL MARKET. THE GOVERNMENT’S EDUCATION POLICY ADDRESSES THIS ISSUE.

THE EFFECTS OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND POORLY PAID JOBS ARE EVIDENT IN THE COMPARATIVELY LOWER HOUSEHOLD INCOMES OF MAORI FAMILIES AND IN THE RELATIVELY HIGHER PROPORTION OF THESE FAMILIES WHO SHARE A HOUSEHOLD WITH OTHER FAMILIES.
AROUND 15% OF MAORI FAMILIES ARE IN THIS SITUATION AND I DON’T BELIEVE IT’S A MATTER OF PREFERENCE. NO, THE PROBLEM IS THE COST OF HOUSING COUPLED IN SOME AREAS WITH LOCAL BODY ZONING. TO ADD TO THE PROBLEM, FAMILIES ARE NOW RETURNING HOME FROM PLACES LIKE AUCKLAND AND WELLINGTON TO LIVE IN CARAVANS, CONVERTED GARAGES AND SHANTIES ON FAMILY LAND. THE GOVERNMENT’S INTENTION TO INCREASE THE SUPPLY AND QUALITY OF HOUSING THROUGH THE CREATION OF SPECIAL HOUSING ACTION ZONES IS THEREFORE, WELCOMED.

ON THE OTHER HAND, THE WAIARIKI MAORI LAND DISTRICT HAS THE HIGHEST AREA OF LAND STILL IN MAORI OWNERSHIP. AND, THERE ARE SOME EXCITING BUSINESS INITIATIVES IN THE AREAS OF FARMING, TOURISM, FORESTRY, HORTICULTURE, FISHING AND GEOTHERMAL ENERGY. SOME OF THESE ARE PRIVATE ENTERPRISES BUT OTHERS ARE THE INITIATIVES OF WHANAU, HAPU AND IWI. IN SOME AREAS MAORI LAND INCORPORATIONS AND TRUSTS MAKE SUBSTANTIAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE EDUCATION OF SHAREHOLDERS’ CHILDREN AND TO THE UPKEEP OF LOCAL MARAE.
AND, OF COURSE, THEY MAKE A SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO THE LOCAL AND NATIONAL ECONOMIES. HOWEVER, EVEN IN THOSE PARTS OF THE ELECTORATE EXPERIENCING ECONOMIC SUCCESS, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DISPARITIES BETWEEN MAORI AND PAKEHA CONTINUE TO EXIST.
IN SPITE OF THEIR MATERIAL CIRCUMSTANCES, MR. SPEAKER, THE PEOPLE OF MY ELECTORATE ARE CULTURALLY AND SPIRITUALLY STRONG. THAT STRENGTH COMES FROM THEIR SENSE OF IDENTITY AS MEMBERS OF A HAPU OR AN IWI OR A CONFEDERATION OF IWI, FROM THE MARKERS OF THEIR TRIBAL DOMAIN AND FROM THEIR VARIOUS RELIGIOUS FAITHS. THEY ARE THE DESCENDANTS OF MAORI SIGNATORIES TO THE TREATY OF WAITANGI AND I EXPECT THEM TO BE TREATED AS EQUAL AND AUTONOMOUS IN THE CAPACITY BUILDING PROCESS AND IN ALL DEALINGS THAT THEY HAVE WITH THIS GOVERNMENT.

IN CONCLUSION, MR SPEAKER, I THANK MY CAMPAIGN TEAM AND MY WHANAU FOR THE EFFORT THEY PUT IN TO MY ELECTION. I PAY TRIBUTE TO MY FATHER FOR THE UNSWERVING SUPPORT HE GAVE ME DURING THE CAMPAIGN AND EXPRESS MY REGRET AT THE FACT THAT HE PASSED AWAY BEFORE THE ELECTION DAY. I PAY TRIBUTE ALSO TO THE LATE RANIERA TE AO HOU TAHUPOTIKI WIREMU RATANA, WHO URGED ME TO CONTEST THE SEAT AND WHOSE PHILOSOPHY FORMS THE BASIS OF THIS ADDRESS. FINALLY, TO THE PEOPLE OF WAIARIKI, I AM HONOURED AND HUMBLED BY THE CONFIDENCE YOU HAVE EXPRESSED IN ME. THANK YOU MR SPEAKER

(WAIATA)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>

ALSO:

Corrections Corrected: Supreme Court Rules On Release Dates

Corrections has always followed the lawful rulings of the Court in its calculation of sentence release dates. On four previous occasions, the Court of Appeal had upheld Corrections’ practices in calculating pre-sentence detention. More>>

ALSO:

Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>

ALSO:

General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news