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Hone Harawira: Vote Maori Affairs

Vote Maori Affairs: 2008/09 Estimates
Hone Harawira, Mp For Tai Tokerau
Tuesday 29 July 2008

Reading the Maori Affairs Select Committee on the 2008/09 Estimates is like watching a horror movie.

The Minister of Maori Affairs was really cheeky when he said that the record numbers of young Maori fleeing these shores is “in-keeping with the voyaging traditions of the Maori” and calls the loss of nearly 100,000 of his own people to Australia, as a “positive and natural process”.

WHAT!!! Is the Minister trying to claim credit for Maori leaving our shores in their droves?

MATE!!! Maori are leaving their homeland in record numbers not because of “voyaging traditions”, but because this government has failed miserably and utterly, to offer them anything worth staying here for. They’re running away to a better life Minister because your useless mob, offer them no future here.

The Minister should be ashamed of himself, his department and his government for allowing such a huge loss of his own people, for opening the doors to tens of thousands of immigrants to fill the gaps, and for doing nothing to stem the tidal wave.

And then the report skips over references to the Maori Business Aotearoa New Zealand board, with a comment that “the chief executive was unforthcoming with information” but in fact, there was a little more to it than that.

In fact, the Maori Trustee was very forth-coming, and very clear in his statement to the committee that he had serious concerns about Labour’s plans to use $35 million of money built up from Maori peoples unclaimed land monies, to set up a multimillion-dollar business fund to be administered by the personal appointees of the Minister.

The Maori Trustee was also very forth-coming, and very clear in his statement to the committee that much more public debate was needed before he would lend his support to the Maori Trustee Bill.

It was also very clear, that in fact, the expectation that the Minister had the support of Te Puni Kokiri and the Maori Trustee for this misuse of beneficiaries monies, was a myth, and that the deal was a long way from being done.

And then we hear about how the Minister of Maori Affairs, sees fit to give $1.56 million to Te Runanga o Ngati Porou to support their aspirations in governance, education and economic development, just before an election year, an iwi authority which surprise, surprise, just happens to be part of his electorate.

Which is just brilliant, but given that that sort of practice is encouraged, might I also ask whether the Minister’s generosity extends to other iwi, because I know that iwi up my way, like Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa, Aupouri, Ngati Kahu, Ngati Wai and Ngati Whatua, also have major aspirations in terms of their governance, education and economic development too.

And I have no doubt, that the people of Taranaki and Whanganui have the same aspirations too, as well as Kahungunu, Te Arawa, and everyone else as well.

Yet interestingly, it seems that this government investment into Te Runanga o Ngati Porou, simply ain’t going to be available for anyone else.

With thirteen weeks to go, it would seem that the Minister of Maori Affairs, has either got to spend about another $100 million to bring everyone up to the same level, or risk having simple people like me, think that he gave the money to Ngati Porou to buy votes, he might not otherwise get in election year.

There are many other points I would like to raise Mr Speaker, but I end with this challenge.

Any Maori happy with the horror story that is Maori Affairs, can keep voting for more of the same – Labour, National – you’ve had them both for the last 75 years for no return.

Any Maori wanting a change for the better, a change for a brighter future, and a change whereby they can feel positive and proud about calling Aotearoa home, can turn to the only party that will guarantee a Maori role in any future we have in this House – the Maori Party.


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