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Tamihere Address: To Maori Leaders at AUT Forum

John Tamihere MP for Tämaki Mäkaurau

Address: to Maori Leaders, Forum AUT Technology Park, 585 Gt South Rd Penrose 7am 20 May 2005

The Budget And Maori

It is important that our access to information and knowledge increases. There is a oft quoted but very true cliché that says: ‘knowledge is power.’

Maori are a people that are in dynamic transition and change. We are a people that have huge latent potential and we must bring this potential to a head and accelerate our progress in doing so.

In terms of assets held collectively and individually, by Maori: if we were to cash them up and divide them on a per capita basis we would be one of the richest groups of people in this nation. It is important that we must now start to understand our true strengths, our true capacity and our true potential.

It is important that we then move to unleash all that energy, all that positivity and demonstrate to mainstream the magic it is to be Maori.

Maori in a Labour led Government are now part of a Government. That is an essential and crucial point. We are no longer in opposition, we are no longer victims, we are no longer in grievance mode, we are in solution mode. Budgets are crucial, they are vital, they are essential markers and key performance indicators of how Maori must measure the performance of their Parliamentary representation.

This is the sixth budget that Maori members have had a part in designing, but more particularly helping and ensuring in the implementation standards of the budget.
What are our deliverables:

The lowest unemployment rate since we started to count unemployment 28 years ago amongst Maori.

The highest education participation rate of any racial group in this country.

Accelerated participation in health, welfare and justice programmes.

Better access and cheaper access to health care and pharmaceutical products and the list goes on and it is difficult to contain ourselves and be awfully modest.

We have arrived:

In this budget Maori members of the Labour Party argued strongly that we must now start to participate as champions in mainstream. The day of us continually having segmented ring fenced funding, we noted, had adverse impacts. What were they?

Firstly the ring fenced budget amounts were never fair enough

Secondly, the compliance impacts of accessing these funds meant that there were few winners, many losers and the quality of service was therefore, variable.

Thirdly, our cost in administration overheads and the ability to personally develop and reward our own staff in Maori managed models is always under significant stress.

Consequently Maori members in Labour argued that we must now break access open and available to Maori across the whole of the economic framework and the whole of the budget cycle.

In terms of leadership for Maori, Maori members in Labour say “we have arrived”, it is now our time and our place to stamp our mark as Maori people in mainstream activities. No longer can our funding be ghettoised and ring fenced, no longer should we tolerate this form of funding.

We are demonstrably Maori on the move upward and onward. We must open up another range of opportunities for our young people. Those opportunities lay in forging our innovative way in putting our hands up and saying “Yes we can compete in the mainstream and yes we can lead in the mainstream.

The shift from grievance and victim hood must occur rapidly. We owe it to your young and vibrant populations as leaders to ensure that that occurs.

The Government continues to spend $48.2b into the New Zealand economy. This is a huge stimulant in economic activity and we must now be participants across the whole budget cycle.

We have locked in our rights and entitlements both from a statutory perspective, from a policy perspective and in a constitutional sense. We have arrived.

The budget presented by us provides stability, solidity and certainty. Maori leaders can now walk out of these briefings and shift their strategic and business plans accordingly.

Maori must start to understand the leverage that they have and start to apply it and use it. We have won the constitutional debate over the Treaty, we now must win in terms of the force of our abilities, our capacities and our merit which our children justly deserve. We must continue to send our young ones positive messages.

This budget builds on this particular vision and these particular attributes.

Deliverables to Maori in this Budget:

A Budget for Security:

$173 million for increased police resources $157 million to ease pressures on the courts and justice services Around $1 million to hire 18 more court security officers $3 million toward global disarmament $19 million to strengthen security at diplomatic posts overseas $59 million in 2005-2006 to increase New Zealand’s overseas aid

A Budget for Opportunity:

Over the new four years:

$4,000 million for Vote Health $1,430 million for education $134 million to build more state houses $149 million to forward the social development agenda

A further billion dollars has been voted towards the industry of health and we are major players in it. Whilst we make up 14.6 per cent of the New Zealand population, we make up 7.4% of the health work force. This is a very good result, given the fact that half of our population are not of a working age.

Maori are being requested, to participate across the economy, whether it be at trade training, whether it be in health, welfare, or the private sector. Opportunities abound.

Further money has been voted to education, to welfare as we continue to build off the policy developments of the last five years.

Significant support is now coming in to lift our own savings culture and we will be providing $1,000 per employee as part of an incentive for all people to start to save for their retirement. This is notwithstanding the Cullen fund which ensures the affordability of old age pension, regardless of savings background.

This fund can also be utilised to bridge deposit gaps after 3 years savings as families head toward the opportunity of buying their own home. Plus the government tops up your deposit on your first home to a maximum of $5,000 per person ($10,000) for a couple. So if a couple have saved for 5 years they get their savings out, plus a bonus of $10,000. Furthermore, a mortgage guarantee scheme has also been announced in the budget for those who are higher earners but do not have either a deposit capacity, or an ability to build a large deposit.

Conclusion:

Budgets set significant opportunities, they embed significant structural impacts in the economy and budgets are how Governments champion their programmes.

We have arrived, we are moving on up, we are part of Government and our re-election campaign starts today with the announcement of this budget and the fact that we now know we have arrived – we must now start to deliver. That is a challenge, not for Labour Maori Members of Parliament, that is a challenge for Maori Leadership in the street to take the opportunities that are now being made available to you and to turn those opportunities into realisable goals to the betterment of our people.

We will not promise and not achieve. We have delivered, we will continue to deliver.

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