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Horomia: Opening of Parliament 2005

2 February 2005

Horomia: Prime Minister's Statement and Debate Opening of Parliament 2005

2005 is the time to further the work of this government from dealing with disparities to one of realizing the full potential of Maori, and of building upon past successes – of which there are many.

As Minister of Maori Affairs I am leading this approach to Maori succeeding as Maori. All the energies of my wider portfolio responsibilities will be directed towards an environment of opportunity and choice that supports and encourages moving Maori from dependency to development.

Our work programme going forward in 2005 will consistently focus on unlocking, supporting and realizing Maori potential.

The Maori Caucus and other colleagues have supported me in taking the Maori Affairs portfolio to the next level, one that is based on realizing Maori potential. This approach compliments the tried and tested pragmatic approaches of those who work with our people kanohi ki te kanohi, face to face, day after day.

My associate responsibilities for State Services will also compliment this work, as well as give momentum to succession planning.

My associate responsibilities in Social Development, Employment, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Education will pick up the challenge of providing seamless services in the communities where our government departments operate and provide opportunities for Maori to realize their potential.

When this Government took office in 1999 we recognised that New Zealanders’ had put their trust in us again and that no matter what, we could not let them down.

After 15 years of adhoc change, New Zealanders were looking for stable and predictable leadership and a commitment to the basics that households and families rely on – work, a home, good education and health care and opportunities for all to innovate, succeed, and build a solid platform for future generations.

As our economy’s grown, as unemployment has plummeted, as our films, music, arts, sportspeople, businesses and high achievers have attracted international recognition we have felt a real pride in who and what we are.

Keeping the momentum going by building on current Maori success, and investing in Maori potential is the primary focus of my work programme going forward in 2005.

Though we have much to celebrate we are also mindful of the challenges ahead.

Our contribution as tangata whenua to the greatness of this country is in our unique cultural identity, which defines and sets us apart from the rest of the world.

One of the biggest challenges to our national pride and to the stability of New Zealand has come from those who’ve used Maori as a political target, claiming that the most disadvantaged group in this country is somehow the most advantaged.

New Zealanders have a deep desire for this country to move ahead as one – understanding that we are not all the same (and nor would we want to be!).

We must respect Maori as the first people of this land. That is a fact of our shared settlement history. Crown and Maori made commitments to each other in the Treaty of Waitangi that cemented our respective rights and responsibilities. The relationship that has flowed from this settlement pact has, like all relationships, had its ups and downs. Striking the balance – again, as with all relationships – is what committed partners, who believe in their future together, do.

Under our government, a lot more opportunity, a lot more choices are available for all New Zealanders – Maori included. Maori have been as quick to see and as keen to take up these opportunities as anybody else.

Some people in this country are divisive and happy to remain so. They do not want Mâori to go forward; they are used to their being behind. I am a 54-year-old Mâori. I am from the last generation of children of manual labourers. Ninety-nine percent of my parents’ generation, worked for the Ministry of Works, worked for the Post and Telegraph Department, worked for the freezing works, worked on the railways, and did all those great labouring jobs. They were loyal; they worked for 30 to 40 years. They were neither close to management nor close to enterprise, because other people kept them out of the opportunities.

Well times are a changing and fast.

In 1986, two-thirds of working-age Maori had no qualification, by 2004 that figure decreased significantly to one-third.

There are some exciting things happening in Maoridom. More people are in good housing, hundreds of Maori are participating in the modern apprenticeships programme and more Maori are taking on managerial responsibility.

I know that the next 5-10 years will be some of the most exciting and progressive periods of time for Maori economic development in a long time. In the sport and cultural areas our people excel. The cultural revitalisation amongst Maori is also strong.

Kaitiakitanga and rangatiratanga are about rights and also responsibilities. They are about maintaining those things passed down from our ancestors. They are about mana.

Moni is about earning income and creating a better life through enterprise, better housing and providing for our mokopuna so they can enjoy life – we need both mana and moni.

Maori are good at building partnerships but there is room for improvement. We need to be more rigorous in the sense of what partnerships can mean. Often when we talk about partnerships we instantly think about the Treaty relationship between iwi and the Crown. To me partnership is also about working better with pakeha, central and local government and corporates as well as in international forums. And while these partnerships are important and must continue, we need to, in these contemporary times develop specialist partnerships with Maori groups that support succession planning and leadership.

But, by far the most important partnerships we can have are with each other - we need to get better at working amongst ourselves. Leadership roles make it difficult to please and address everyone's needs at every level. Leadership is about balance, about ensuring that enduring decisions are made in a strategic and well-managed way.

This year I will continue to work with leadership at all levels of development with the aim to help us keep "trucking forward". There will be stresses in that journey, but I have learnt from experience that the bumpy bits are all worthwhile.

For the year to September 1999, the Maori unemployment rate had averaged 17.9%. Over the last year, Maori unemployment has averaged 9.1%. That's right, in just 5 years we've nearly halved Maori unemployment. Around 40,000 more Maori were employed in 2004 than in 1999.

Also during this time we've about halved the number of Maori on the unemployment benefit. There were more than 44,000 on that benefit in December 1999 by the end of last year that figure had fallen to around 22,500.

Over 950 young Maori are now in workplace learning, overall there are over 20,000 Maori participating in some type of industry training.

For Maori, the numbers in early childhood education have almost trebled since 1983, and although this is still not high enough, it is a substantial base.

The tertiary education participation rates for Maori are now very high with the numbers at more than 15 times what they were in 1986. But enrolments are clustered in lower level courses. Our challenge here is to lift the level of study and qualification being achieved. Maori TV has been up and running for almost a year now, and what a successful year that's been. How tired we were of unfair negativity about Mâori in the media. How enjoyable and refreshing it is to see positive images of Mâori on public television. It seems almost funny now, looking back, to recall the mean and anxious resistance to Mâori television. Of course Mâori must be able to see themselves on television, just like other New Zealanders. Even the National Party has changed its mind about that.

Total Maori-owned commercial assets were estimated to be worth nearly $9 billion in 2001. Of this it is estimated that over half is made up of Maori businesses.

The value of Maori agricultural output is estimated to be approximately $700 million, representing about 7.4% of New Zealand's total agricultural output.

The estimated value of Maori exports in 2000 was $650 million, 2.5% of New Zealand's total exports.

Maori collectively owned assets and businesses produce $1.9 billion each year.

Maori are estimated to control up to 37% of New Zealand's domestic fishing quota, with the potential to generate approximately $299 million in fishing revenue.

Maori are estimated to control around 10% of New Zealand's forest holdings.

Maori self-employment has grown from 6,700 people in 1981 (of whom 37% were in the agricultural sector) to 17,000 in 2001 (of whom 11% were in the agricultural sector). Self-employed Maori make up around 10% of all employed Maori.

95% of Maori able to work are in deed working.

These successes owe much to the partnerships this Government have forged with Maori. They are proof that any investment in Maori is also a contribution to the overall wealth of all New Zealanders.

The question posed now is where to from here? Let me assure you that we are not resting on our laurels.

Working closely with Maori will continue to be a vital aspect of this Government’s partnership with Maori.

Over the past 6 years as we have engaged with our communities up and down the country, we have been repeatedly told that Maori success, now and in years to come, must enable Maori to be the architects of their own future and to succeed in their own unique ways.

Our response has been first to confront the disparities that have constrained Maori development. Our shared record of achievement, both Maori and the Government’s, is reflected in the stories of success I have already outlined.

It is time to move on. While consolidating on these gains, our emphasis has moved to one of investment in Maori potential. We are confident that this approach will compliment work with the energy and appetite that Maori are displaying in their access and use of resources; their capacity to lead, influence and advocate; their use and development of traditional and contemporary knowledge, and their increasing sense of wellbeing.

It is also consistent with one of the Government’s key goals, which highlights the need for New Zealand to achieve sustainable development.

Whanau, family and individual development lies at the heart of this with considerable attention being paid to building leadership success; enhanced wellbeing; collective engagement; innovation and investment in sport, culture and enterprise.

We recognised early on that any investment in Maori potential would have minimal impact if we ignored obstacles that have long hindered Maori asset development.

After a decade of exhaustive debate and discussions we now have The Maori Fisheries Act in place allowing Maori to be active participants in the fishing sector.

Quota, income shares and cash will be allocated to iwi organisations and other fisheries assets will be centrally managed on behalf of iwi and ultimately on behalf of all Maori.

The Act secures the future involvement of Maori in the industry through the provision of Maori education, training and research opportunities in fishing and the advancement of Maori interests in freshwater fisheries.

The Aquaculture Reform Act addresses Maori interests in commercial marine farming space by providing iwi, where possible, 20 per cent of marine farming space allocated since 1992 and 20 per cent of future new space.

We want to reduce uncertainty and cost, and avoid unrealistic expectations that can have a corrosive effect on relationships between iwi and local authorities.

We know from international studies that governance structures that are culturally attuned are more likely to achieve success. We want Maori collectives to have access to governance structures that enable Maori to succeed as Maori.

The current Maori asset base, historical Treaty settlements and the fisheries allocation, mean that improvements in Maori governance will have a corresponding positive impact on the country’s broader economic, social and cultural outcomes.

Our confidence to face the future however is buoyed by the optimism we share with Maori - that remarkable as these achievements have been – the best of Maori innovation, enterprise and success is still to come. But we must remember that there are many examples of our trusts and incorporations that have met these same challenges before.

There are numerous success stories and we must learn from them. We must learn from the expertise that is around us, and draw on the experiences that we have collectively built over the generations.

We also need to be thinking about the philosophies and values that guide us – for example kaitiakitanga, and the intergenerational nature of our unique assets are important to us as Mâori. We need to keep reminding ourselves of the importance of succession planning and creating opportunities to ensure that the next generation don’t start from scratch, but are given the benefit of our experience as we had the benefit of learning from those who came before us (not that we always listened ourselves!).

It is these sorts of initiatives that will assist our youth to develop beyond manual labour working for others, to become more entrepreneurial, managing and leading enterprises ourselves. I am pleased with the progress Te Puni Kokiri, has made in aligning with this forward looking vision. Together we will be using the Maori potential framework to sharpen our investment strategy.

Our past funding has secured strong organizations around the country, built a solid base of management and governance, achieved community specific outcomes, and facilitated Maori into business and enterprise activities. We will leverage off these gains. The Prime Minister and I are delighted that this Labour Government stands again at this end of a 20 year period of Maori development marked by the Hui Taumata.

I acknowledge our kaumatua Koro Wetere who chaired the first Hui Taumata in 1984. Next month we look forward to this conference of Maori leaders, architects and creators, thinkers and doers gathering to reflect on the past two decades and contribute to the shape and direction of the next twenty years. Hui Taumata will focus on people, assets and enterprise. I am excited by the contributions this will make to our vision of realizing Maori potential and Maori succeeding as Maori. So, to re-iterate, the overall aim of Labour’s policies for Mâori is to ensure that Mâori have the same opportunities to achieve their potential that other New Zealanders have. For Mâori, this means the opportunity not only to succeed as New Zealanders, but the opportunity to succeed as Mâori. We cannot know what the future will bring. We cannot know what being successful as Mâori will mean in the years ahead.

But you can see the "doom and gloom, benefit bludging, victim entrenched" vision that the Opposition like to paint of Maori is all humbug. I am saddened to see people in this country who want Maori to be subservient in all ways to be trapped in the dungeons of doom and gloom. Maori capability must be accelerated at all levels. Partnership needs to be relevant to modern needs and this great economy.

Maori must stop being marginalized or worse still marginalizing themselves by not taking up mainstream and everyday opportunities. Mâori must be able to define their own terms of success, and directions for advancement, in all their diversity and this is what THIS GOVERNMENT is working towards.

ENDS


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