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Hone Harawira: Parliamentary Service Bill

Parliamentary Service Amendment Bill

Thursday 7 August 2008

Hone Harawira, MP for Te Tai Tokerau

Nobody's bothering to speak on this bill I suspect Madam Speaker, because it’s a petty little nothingness on the global stage of free trade agreements, emission trading, drug-fuelled Olympics, smog-filled stadiums, and rising fuel costs, but there’s a couple of little points I’d like to raise if I could Madam Speaker.

The first is how foolish this Electoral Finance Act is looking now, with the Commission thinking of taking TUI Beer to court for their excellent billboards – likeWinston – No means No andNew Zealand First does not accept donations from big business interests.

And I have no doubt that many, if not most of those who voted for that idiotic piece of legislation had no idea how dull, boring, petty, vindictive, and nasty it was going to be.

Well that bill came about as a direct result of another one of these parliamentaryfix-up jobs, when the House saw fit to pass one of those“yes we spent the money when we weren’t supposed to, and yes we took money from people that we probably shouldn’t have, and yes we took money from business interests and we ain’t going to declare it” pieces of ‘validating legislation’ – which reminds me of another piece of ‘validating legislation that many Maori know about.

Back in the 1800s, after stealing, robbing, embezzling, purloining, thieving, pinching, and ripping-off millions and millions of acres of Maori land, the robber barons masquerading as the New Zealand government of the day, passed legislation that we now know as theValidation of Invalid Land Sales Act, which is how you steal till you’re a fat bloated pig, and then pass a law to make what you did right.

Actually, when you think about it, the government of the 1800s ain’t that much different to the current mob who just stole millions of acres of Maori foreshore and seabed.

Anyway - that’s what‘validating legislation’ did back in the 1800s, that’s what‘validating legislation’ still does in the new millennium, and both of them seem to slip under the legislative overcoat that is parliamentary services, which is what this bill is, that we have before the House today.

This bill however, is a little bit different. It allows parliament to provide candidates who are likely to be elected, with certain travel and accommodation entitlements, between polling day, and the day when election results are formally announced.

But the most obvious point about this bill Madam Speaker, is how quickly MPs are to rush bills like this through the House, to make sure our pay goes through without a hitch, but will dither, dally, dawdle and delay, over dealing with the rampant poverty afflicting great swathes of our communities, right throughout our nation, and I take this opportunity to commend both Sue Bradford and Tariana Turia for again raising the desperate plight of beneficiaries, whose needs we should be paying, a hell of a lot more attention to.

I recognise and I congratulate this government, for its efforts to encourage people back into work through the Working for Families package, but I am also seeing the destructive effects of the loss of that tax-credit, when good hard-working people, are being dismissed from employment as a direct result of businesses heading overseas, and families coming under the immediate stress caused by loss of income, and constantly rising prices, when children start getting scared of their dad because he’s a lot more grumpy all of a sudden, there’s less kai on the table, and both parents are worried about how they’re going to pay the mortgage.

So as we look to rubberstamp this Bill to ensure our money keeps flowing, let's not also forget the 230,000 children in this country denied benefits because their parents can’t get a job, let's not forget the 75,000 old people living in poverty, and let's not forget also, that Maori make up a disproportionately high number of those suffering the effects of poverty.

So fine – no reason why we shouldn’t jump up and down about the obscenely high wages we get, and how we expect to get them every week, but spare a thought for those down the bottom end of the food chain, those in genuine need, and let's see if we can help feed them first, before feeding ourselves.

The Maori Party will be supporting this bill Madam Speaker, but believe me, when it comes to the Maori seats, there won’t be any gnashing of teeth and hair-pulling by the bean counters on polling night.

We’re looking to make it 7 - Zip to the Maori Party, and bring on board

• Angeline Greensill, Maori Party Member of the House of Hauraki Waikato,

• Derek Fox, Maori Party Member of the House of Ikaroa Rawhiti, and

• Rahui Katene, Maori Party Member of the House of Te Tai Tonga,

so that the nation will wake up to a bright, new day in politics in Aotearoa the very next morning – a sunny day, a positive day, a Maori day.


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