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Hon Tariana Turia: General Debate

General Debate 30 July 2008

Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party

Tena tatou katoa

I stand here today, acknowledging the significance of this moment in time, and celebrating the pre-treaty whakapapa relationships that tangata whenua have with all our tuakana of the Pacific.

I acknowledge the first official visit to Aotearoa of the new Premier of Niue, the Hon Toke Talagi; and we recognise the historic events taking place in Nuku’alofa this week, with the coronation of King George Tupou the fifth.

The partnerships we have with the peoples of Te Moana Nui a Kiwa provide us with an enduring foundation, from which to tackle global challenges that threaten the sustainability of our world – issues like climate change, the commercial over-fishing of the high seas, the peril of global economics and the rush for growth.

The emphasis on manaakitanga –as observed in hospitality and generosity – on kotahitanga – the sense of purpose and unity; on whanaungatanga – nurturing positive relationships between peoples – are all basic values that we will forever uphold.

As the independent voice of Maori in Parliament, we endeavour to influence through the promotion of kaupapa such as these.

We stand strong in our responsibility to protect the natural world that our ancestors left to us, to look after for future generations.

We have spoken out against the current rate of increasing carbon emissions, the ever-depleting energy supplies and the lack of viable alternatives, as signs that we are in an energy crisis now.

We do not believe that the Emissions Trading Scheme will address the problem of unsustainable growth. All that it does is to create a new currency, disproportionately dispensed to business elites, maintaining the status quo.

Our solution, instead, has been to encourage our communities to look to each other to protect and preserve, to restore and replace, to recreate and sustain our precious resources.

At the level of Parliament, we have repeatedly called for collaboration across the House to prepare for an emerging post-carbon world.

Our focus is on the collective strength, to underpin local control and self-reliance.

Such a focus is also essential in the important task of caring for our communities, of supporting te pani me te rawakore, the vulnerable and the poor.

We are determined that this country can eliminate poverty.

We are convinced that whanau ora is essential in restoring our land to a country which lives by values of social justice.

And there is no more important challenge ahead for Aotearoa, than the ongoing aspiration for Treaty justice.

Unlike some other parties around this chamber, we will always respect the standing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of this land.

We recognise that the Treaty establishes our special status as tangata whenua. The Treaty also places particular obligations on us to look after and protect peoples whom we welcome to this land.

The Treaty is a signpost to the nation, to ensure that tangata whenua are able to continue the control and authority over their treasures.

And in this time of pre-election generosity and the incredible pace in which the Government is suddenly interested in speeding up Treaty settlements, I would ask that this largesse be extended also to the advancement of WAI 262 – the flora and fauna claim.

We commemorate today, the passing of Dell Wihongi, as a profound loss to the nation.

We think of her work, and those who have passed before her, in striving to protect and preserve indigenous flora and fauna and associated cultural and intellectual heritage.

Only one original claimant to WAI 262 is alive today and her name is Saana Murray of Ngati Kura of Te Tai Tokerau.

What a fitting tribute it would be to their leadership, if the benevolence of the Government that has been extended to iwi in recent months, could also enable WAI 262 to be advanced and not to wait till all of the claimants have left this life.

Tena koutou.


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