Sandra Goudie Maiden Speech
Sandra Goudie, MP for Coromandel
Wednesday 4 September 2002
I congratulate you The Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt on being re-appointed as Speaker of the House and also congratulate the Deputy Speaker, Ann Hartley, and the Assistant Speakers, Ross Robertson and the Hon Clem Simich on their appointments.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the many staff who work so hard to ensure the smooth running of Parliament, and for their unstinting efforts to help me, as a new Member of Parliament, adjust to this rather unique environment.
For me, it is an honour and a privilege to be representing the people of the Coromandel Electorate as their new Member of Parliament.
I thank the people of my Electorate for the confidence they have placed in me, and will endeavour to serve each and every one of my constituents to the very utmost of my ability.
Mr Speaker, I would not be here today without the support of many people throughout my life.
Today is one of the few occasions that I can publicly acknowledge that support.
So to my Mum and Dad, who are the best, my brothers, sister, husband Bernard and our sons Lewis and Lawrence - I love you all dearly.
To my friends, my campaign committee, our electorate committee and all our hard working volunteers - thank you for your unstinting efforts and support. I could not have achieved so much without you all. I can only reward your efforts by the example I set both here in Parliament, and in our electorate.
Over the years, we have had a number of boundary changes, and Members of Parliament for our electorate. I pay tribute to those who have gone before me.
For all those who are in this House today, I congratulate you and look forward to working with you - or against you - for the betterment of our great little nation.
Agreeing on the "how" is the ongoing challenge.
We, in the Coromandel, have it all! Our many scattered communities have the privilege of great beaches, wonderful forests, rivers and streams, mountains, valleys, plains and rolling country. The electorate spans from Cape Colville in the north, to the Wairoa River in the south, just north of Bethlehem.
Our people have a great sense of freedom, and embody an abundance of individuality, diversity and creativity. More importantly, they care about one another.
And that is what community is all about. Pulling together in times of need.
At no time has this been more evident than in our recent weather bomb event. So much can be achieved when people work together, selflessly, without expectation, and free of charge.
From the people come the trials, the tribulations, and the inspiration for the future for our children and our grandchildren.
And from the people come the many voices that we must all listen to and bring to this House on their behalf.
It is up to us to provide the leadership that will balance the competing needs, for both communities and the nation as a whole.
For the Coromandel Electorate, protecting the environment is balanced with the community demand and need for growth, with significant growth anticipated from the recreation, forestry and fishing sectors.
Agriculture, forestry and fishing are still the predominant economic and employment activities of the electorate, followed by the service industries, which includes tourism.
Agriculture is changing, becoming incredibly diverse. Dairy farms are being amalgamated into larger units, in turn reducing some of our rural population, which can have an adverse effect on our rural townships, services and schools.
There is a continuing demand for lifestyle blocks closer to our many rural townships such as Coromandel, and Thames, but more particularly, between Katikati and Tauranga.
Horticulture is growing rapidly, largely in the south near Katikati, with small pockets around Whenuakite in the north.
Immigrants and itinerant workers have been the saving grace for the kiwifruit industry, which continues to struggle to find people who will do the work.
Alongside conventional agriculture are a small but growing organic producing sector with some being subsidised while their market grows.
The Pacific Coast Highway route traverses this wonderful rural environment and is a runaway tourism success, taking pride of place as a destination for visitors. That success is largely due to the marketing efforts of Tourism Coromandel, which is one of the best tourism promotion agencies in the country.
With the demand for recreation and tourism activities, and the growth of our forestry and fishing industries, comes the additional demand on existing infrastructure, the predominant one being roading.
Roading is a major issue throughout the electorate. We have one death a month on average on the state highway south of Katikati.
We have major traffic delays at the Kopu Bridge, which is a one-lane bridge at a critical point of state highway.
We have continuing challenges from weather patterns causing slippages and dropouts, the most recent being the infamous weather bomb on the Thames Coast. You had to see the devastation to believe it.
Communities are struggling to cope with the costs of having to upgrade or provide roading, and new wastewater and stormwater services.
One of the greatest impediments to our communities being able to afford such services is the Resource Management Act process. The cost of a project can go over the million-dollar mark on process alone, before even a peg is put into the ground.
We, as representatives of the people, have to find a way of addressing the process of the RMA, which is crippling so many of our communities throughout the country with unwarranted costs.
The RMA is the one process where conflict abounds.
Look around you New Zealanders. Its principals are confused. Community engagement and consultation is valuable, but the RMA is also used as a vehicle to battle one another and the environment becomes lost in the process.
In the fourth schedule of the RMA, it refers to matters to be considered, and makes reference to spiritual values.
The lesson of history is clear. If our aim is to have us all live in harmony in this land, we must maintain the separation of religious belief and the powers of the state. Yes, the state has a duty to protect people's freedom of belief (freedom of belief is one of the key property rights), but the state must not be given the power to enforce one set of religious beliefs on others. This should not be a battleground.
The RMA started off with good intentions, but has been used and abused for people's own ends.
In the case of the Coromandel, one example has been the Whitianga Waterways. This was a development that had full community support. Support not just for the developers, but also for the justice that was being denied, and the people of Whitianga roared. They demanded justice, and finally it happened.
New Zealanders have an innate understanding of what is right and what is wrong.
These types of values have been built into our legal systems and political structures.
For the general public, there is now a sense of disillusionment about how those values are being undermined through those very same legal systems and political structures.
The legal system should remain based on those well established values which are as true now as they ever were and have stood the test of time.
We need legislation which is clear in its intentions.
We need an analysis of the effects at all levels before any legislation is enacted.
A Law Commission Report deplored the poor legislation that was beginning to appear in this way and I believe that warning has gone unheeded. The cost of poor legislation is the burden that our communities bear. If we pass the Local Government Review Bill in its current form, we will add to that burden.
My election went against the trend. And why?
It comes back to the people. The people saw in me the values, commonsense and practical nature that they are seeking.
They are sick and tired of being buried in paperwork and the demand for money.
People want Treaty Claims settled now. Not in ten years time. Maori want settlement now, so that along with everyone else, they too can get on with their lives.
People are tired of political correctness, where one group is accorded respect at the expense of others.
They are tired of that same political correctness beginning to underpin our legislation, which is our law, and undermining the respect we should have for one another.
What is even worse, if we start to articulate some of those concerns, we are labelled racist.
During the campaign, the espousing of simple values struck a chord. People felt a deep down, innate connection to that.
They saw it as something that has been missing for a long time.
Simple values and a degree of common sense.
We can all put a different spin on it, but we need to keep it simple. People are sick of conflict, division and protest.
Values are about caring for our families and community; about honesty and integrity and working together in good faith.
Values are about taking responsibility.
Values are about equality in our diversity, valuing success and leadership.
From living those values, comes respect.
These are my values.
These are the values of the National Party and I am proud to be a part of such a great team of people that are the National Party.
The one thing that came across loud and clear is that we cannot compromise our values.
As soon as our political structures start to do that, we minimise who we are and raise the flag of no confidence in how we do the business for our country.
The real challenge will be about making sure our values are restored to their rightful pace in our legal structures and political systems.
Mr Speaker, I am committed to doing just that.