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Tamihere speech: Wellington Maori Business Network

Tamihere speech to Wellington Maori Business Network

Extracts From A Speech To The Wellington Maori Business Network, Te Papa, 22 July 2003

John Tamihere on:

The Government's relationship with Maori: "The key engagement agency obviously is Te Puni Kokiri, so we need to determine whether the system and structure that we have there is appropriate for the year 2003 going forward .1854 was our first Parliament. We never really got a stocktake of our position till about 1984. . so it might be appropriate for us to have another one. In a re-aggregated grouping, we continue to think of ourselves as Maori, notwithstanding our iwitanga, so rather than disaggregating, it might be nice to see what we have got in common going forward in the next wee period."

The impact of the reforms of the 1980s on Maori:

"Huge destruction happened through the 1980s .We lost 24,000 jobs between 1987 and 1992. The impact of that on our communities has been quite severe for a whole bunch of reasons, particularly the loss of our menfolks' ability to have a presence and standing in their minds, let alone anyone else's . The degradation of our communities has been pretty severe in the last 30 years or so. We owned more houses in 1960. We had more employed in 1970. And so on and so on and so on. The reality in our communities is we are building five new criminal justice facilities. I'd like to see a thousand Maori leaders at a hui to turn the tap off on our people going into those facilities. But when we're talking about money, they'll flock to them."

Small business vs big business: "The needs of small business are absolutely different to the requirements of big business. When it comes to advocating for business, the Business Roundtable and Business NZ may not necessarily be singing from the same songsheet as small business. For example, our proposal to make small businesses more cashflow-friendly by aligning your GST payments with a range of other payment dates. Big business doesn't want that - they would rather have the use of that money. That's just an example of how big business can think totally differently to small businesses on their way up."

The Brown Bureaucracy: "40 per cent of GDP is produced out of the Beehive . what that simply means is it doesn't matter that you are a brown bureaucrat, because a lot of other people are feeding out of the same trough, including me. In the last 10 years, Maori employment growth has occurred dramatically in one area and that is the unbundling of health, welfare and education services. That has allowed us to start accelerating ourselves in a level of organisation, administration and professional decisions that others would not have allowed us an opportunity to get to. This is a great place to be, in Wellington, for pursuit of opportunity on behalf of your people. I don't make any mistake or worry about being a State-owned hori."

Challenging Maori leadership: "Given the nature of the youth of our people - and half of them should be at school today, hopefully - the reality is that within the next 10-15 years our demographic is going to change quite dramatically. Our people will come out with significant demands of our leadership - not the Pakeha leadership . If Maori think they are sitting under an umbrella, but it's still raining pretty heavily on them, they're going to start wondering where the cover is . There's going to be a lot of intra-Maori tensions unless we get a different methodology of engaging where that asset base is. It is no longer in the tribal name."

Delivering for Maori "It's no good having some of the greatest performing assets in the country and reading a nice, glossy report about it, when I am part of one of the greatest under-performing communities in the country. The protégés of those who scored the opportunities really need to start to engage where our people are .That's the challenge we all have to face and sooner rather than later. Because I fear the rise of, not an elite, but a new sort of a class who are there in the name of all of us. A model where everyone is embraced is the benchmark of success .The return on assets as a be-all and end-all of performance isn't the only measure of success. What I can say to you is go to a community and have a look around. ."

Accountability: "You have got to watch your governance. . What you get is your chair, maybe your deputy chair, the CEO and secretary and a couple of others. You no longer have a healthy tension. The next minute the processes no longer apply. It's a wink and a nod. It's not good enough. It's unacceptable, because the assets are not theirs . We don't need to parody the worst excesses of Pakeha business. We don't deserve it."

The next generation of leaders: "A lot of our people come close to killing themselves - and a lot of them did - to get us where we are. That doesn't mean to say that they can take us where we have got to go. That loyalty factor can sometimes get in the way of acknowledging that they are now no longer capable or competent to take us to the best level of development. That's quite a hurtful thing in our communities, because we don't like to discard people. The reality is not that you have to be cruel to be kind, but that you have to move on, because that is what good leadership is about. . It's right to ask the questions, it's right to set up a number of performance indicators for our leaders."

Maori and welfare: "I don't want my nephews and nieces to get the dole. They rock up at Christmastime and say 'How's it going down in Wellington - you know the best thing you can do is get us another hundred bucks .' The dole will subsidise our failure and all the rest of it - I'm not interested in that any more. I have higher expectations of my nephews and nieces. What I am trying to say is that money is merely a tool, it's a measure of a number of things but it's not the be-all and end-all of things."

The Treaty settlement process: "It's not happening with the clarity and dynamism that Moana Jackson would love, but it's happening. It's a bit like that ad for shampoo - things are working out OK. That's an issue for Maori leadership in the VIP area - maybe if they sacked some of their lawyers it might go a lot quicker."

The foreshore and seabed: "I could not stand up and say you are going to get all the foreshore and seabed - that would be a lie. Any lawyer in this country could tell you that. Any of our leaders who stand up and place that expectation in the minds of our people, knowing it to be wrong, that really upsets me. . The reality is that that was never going to work. You cannot say as of now, according to the Court of Appeal decision, all Pakehas are now living in the Sahara, because 1, it was not legally well founded, and 2, it was not going to work."

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