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The Mapp Report - 4 July 2008

NORTH SHORE MARINE INDUSTRY :

GROWING POTENTIAL

Auckland's northwest (North Shore City and Waitakere City areas) has become a thriving environment for the marine industry. The marine industry in Auckland is 58% of the whole of New Zealand's marine sector and Northwest Auckland is becoming the centre of this industry.

World class expertise

I have recently visited a number of marine enterprises in this area. There are many successful companies which have made a name for themselves not only in New Zealand, but worldwide. They have specialised in custom built yachts and launches, a niche market not often found in bigger international companies.

Some of these companies include: Yachting Developments Ltd, a super yacht company, and Formula Cruisers. Both these companies have doubled in size since moving to the old Hobsonville airbase. Other companies include High Modulus, who supply advanced composites and engineering used around the world, and McDell Marine and Salthouse Boatbuilders, both based in West Auckland.

Potential for growth

As the industry evolves there has been more potential for growth. The old Hobsonville airbase will become the heart of the boat building cluster, where approximately 15 ha of land have been bought for the development of a marine precinct. It will incorporate buildings for 10 or more marine industry companies with close access to deep water for launching purposes. Both local and central government have contributed to the financial cost of this project.

The Hobsonville cluster has the potential to be leading the dynamic growth of the marine sector over the next few years, building exports, jobs and skills.

ACCOUNTABILITY NEEDED IN DEFENCE FORCE

Integrity is the hallmark of the Defence Force. Those who lead have a duty to protect those who serve. There cannot be two standards of justice.

Double dipping at the UN

We have the extraordinary situation of a decorated senior officer being brought back to New Zealand, and kept in service specifically for a court martial, weeks before he completes his 38 years' of service.

What had he done wrong? This whole saga stems from claims by seconded personnel for New Zealand housing allowances. It is extraordinary that Colonel Heaton was told by senior officers in the NZDF to apply for these allowances, just as were other officers seconded to the UN. That is why National says the Defence Force Chiefs failed to do their duty to Colonel Heaton. He was led to believe he could make such a claim and he is then court martialled.

And when they couldn't get him for the housing allowance, they continued to prosecute, even though there were other options available under military law to deal with the issue of cigarettes and tobacco.

Court martial unwarranted

A court martial is a grave event, and in this case was unwarranted. The Chief of Defence Force has ordered an Internal Court of Inquiry. Since this is an issue affecting the most senior level of the Defence Force, any such inquiry should be fully independent. It should be carried out by the State Services Commission. At least the Minister has acknowledged this may be necessary.

Who told the Minister?

Another extraordinary feature of this case is that the Minister said on Sunday he knew nothing about this whole event. This is despite specific questions being asked by MPs on the Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade Select Committee about claims for UN housing allowances. The NZDF would have known exactly what they were about. After all, how many Colonels are currently being court martialled?

Apparently they did not tell the Minister the significance of the questions - how's that for a 'no surprises' policy?

This issue demands an independent investigation. The integrity of our Defence Force is at stake.

OUT AND ABOUT

I went to the tangi of Lady Rose Henare QSO who passed away peacefully at her home Pukehau, earlier this week. Lady Rose is the wife of the late Sir James Henare (who died 1989), and is the aunt of my wife, Denese. The tangi was held at Otiria, and her burial at Takapuna cemetery at Motatau (inland from Kawakawa). Lady Rose was virtually the last of her generation, and was a matriarch of Ngati Hine (a northern iwi of 30,000 people). Lady Rose and Sir James had married in 1933 and had three children prior to World War II. After the war their family grew to six children, and they adopted five more. Sir James had distinguished service in the Maori Battalion, and was its last commanding officer in Northern Italy.

The leadership of their generation brought Maori into the modern era, while still holding on to their culture. This led to many of the contemporary achievements of Maori in education, social and economic development. The lives of Lady Rose and Sir James were committed to whanau, and public service both to Maori and to all New Zealanders.

Lady Rose's great nephew is my colleague Tau Henare MP. We and our fellow National MPs, are looking forward to the challenges of the next decade to build on the achievements of past generations.

Takoto mai Takoto mai.

Rest in peace.

4 July 2008

ENDS

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