Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Debate on Prime Minister’s Statement

Debate on Prime Minister’s Statement –

Te Ururoa Flavell MP for Waiariki

29 January 2013; 5.40pm

Mr Speaker, it is good to be back.

First, because our capital city is looking absolutely beautiful today. As Wellington people say, you can’t beat Te Whanganui a Tara on a good day.

And it’s wonderful that the golden weather has arrived in time for one of the world’s great sporting parties, the Wellington Sevens.

We are going to see some fabulous creativity, on and off the field. We are going to see people cheering and singing and strutting their stuff. It’s going to be a massive celebration as well as a fierce competition. If only we could borrow some of that spirit for this Chamber for the rest of the year.

The second reason it is good to be back is because it means an end to the silly season of commentators interviewing themselves about politics.

As I read the summaries of 2012 and the forecasts for 2013, I was struck again and again by how many journalists and commentators and bloggers find it difficult to describe or categorise the Maori Party.

Are we left, are we right, are we in the centre?

I suspect that he will not thank me for this, but David Farrar at Curiablog is the only commentator who gets it consistently right. Whenever he analyses the potential coalition outcomes of a new political poll, he notes that “The Maori Party is not shown as part of the centre-right or centre-left.”


The Maori Party is not about labels that have been imported from other political traditions. We have our own kaupapa.

And I know that can make it difficult for mainstream commentators to understand what we’re on about, or to explain it succinctly and accurately to their readers.

We are – proudly - different from any other party in this House.

We are not from the ‘right’ which thinks that politics is all about smaller government allowing big business to create wealth that then magically trickles down to everybody else.

We are not from the ‘left’ which thinks that it is all about bigger government generously sharing some magically appearing wealth.

We are not from the ‘centre’, which thinks it is about a sprinkling of magical common sense.

We come from a different tradition, one that starts by thinking about relationships.

Relationships between people.

Relationships between people and the natural environment.

Relationships between the past, the present and the future.

Relationships are not about theories. Relationships are about practices.

Relationships are about how we talk together, and work together, and create things together, so that together we can pass on something better to our mokopuna. Relationships are what the Treaty of Waitangi is all about.

We come from a tradition that has survived the blind efforts of previous governments – governments of the left and the right, governments that could be brutal or merely paternalistic – governments that tried to eliminate differences, to impose a single, standard way of thinking and living.

We come from a tradition that knows what it takes to emerge from sheer survival, to standing up and asserting our role in this world on our terms.

We are honoured to carry forward the tradition of great New Zealanders such as James Carroll and Apirana Ngata and Matiu Rata.

It is a tradition carried forward by Pita Sharples whose visionary work in Maori language education and kapa haka and prison reform is paying real dividends today.

It is a tradition carried forward by Tariana Turia, whose courage and commitment to upholding the actual meaning of the Treaty of Waitangi inspired a new generation of political action.

This is what the Maori Party is about.

It is about relationships and it is about resilience.

We will continue to work with any party on policies that can deliver real progress for real people. Not theories, not politics, but people.

Sometimes it will be progress measured in inches, and sometimes – just occasionally - it will be measured in miles. I acknowledge especially the transformational progress being made by the Minister for Treaty Negotiations.

That is why the real reason it is good to be back here today, is because we’ve got a lot to do. There are a lot of people who need this Parliament, and this Government, to do more, better, faster: not just to provide “stable government in difficult times”.

We know about difficult times. We’ve been living in them for two hundred years.

And we want progress, not stability.

Back in 2008 the Maori Party decided that we could make better progress by being at the table in a National-led government.

We knew that it would have been much easier politically to be on the outside making dramatic hand gestures. That was an option.

But neither Tariana nor Pita nor myself got into politics because we thought it would be easy. We got into it because we wanted to make real progress for real people.

And we are, through Whanau Ora and insulating homes and tataiako and tackling rheumatic fever.

Is the progress fast enough or far enough?

No, and it never will be. We are hungry and we are impatient, and our eyes remain firmly on the horizon where our dreams lie.

Where every family is healthy and strong, where every child is loved, where every person is using their talents and skills to the utmost.

Not just Maori New Zealanders, but every family, every child, every person.

Because as a party, we naturally celebrate diversity as a sign of strength not weakness.

We know that Tainui is different from Ngati Kahungunu is different from Kai Tahu is different from Samoan or Tongan or Chinese or Indian New Zealanders, and on and on and on.

We know that in our bones, because that is the experience from which we spring.

And it is why our Party is not - emphatically not - an ‘ethnic’ party. We are a party of kaupapa and tikanga.

Our kaupapa is a gift open to everyone in Aotearoa – tangata whenua and tangata tiriti,

rich and poor, men and women, young and old,

white, brown, black or sunburned,

tattooed, pierced or blue-rinsed,

it doesn’t matter to me.

Our kaupapa is a gift that is open to everyone who knows that “one size fits all” solutions just don’t work, because we come in all different sizes and shapes and colours.

It is a gift that is open to everyone who knows that healthy families – whanau ora! – are the first measure of successful communities.

Our kaupapa is a gift that is open to everyone who knows that we must all go forward together, or we surely will not go forward at all.

It is good to be back. Let’s get to work.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Members' Bills: Seymour Lodges Assisted Dying Bill

“The End of Life Choice Bill is a response to the anguish faced by a small but significant minority of people with terminal illness or who are grievously and irremediably ill, as they anticipate the prospect of intolerable suffering and the indignity of the final few days and weeks of their lives,” said Mr Seymour. More>>


Activism: SHAN Protest Against State Housing Sales

The State Housing Action Network (SHAN) led a protest in Wellington against the sale of state housing by the Government. At midday thirty to forty protestors marched from Civic Square to Parliament accompanied by the sounds of the Brass Razoo Solidarity Band. More>>

1080 Threat: Police Arrest 60 Year Old Auckland Man

New Zealand Police have arrested a 60-year-old Auckland businessman in relation to the criminal blackmail threat to poison infant formula with 1080, made public in March this year. More>>


Canterbury Transition Bill First Reading: Government Hiding From ECan Submissions

The Government has radically reduced the amount of time for public submissions on their controversial ECan bill, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods... “Their shortened timeline could mean that instead of the usual six weeks, Cantabrians get just one week to submit their views on the bill." More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Our Apparent Inability To Stand Up To Australia

Alas, and only days before the first meeting between our Prime Minister John Key and the new Australian leader Malcolm Turnbull, this country is showing no sign of standing up for itself. Quite the reverse. We seem to be rolling over, and making gestures of appeasement. More>>


Health Not-So-Many Benefits: Auditor-General On Scrapped Cost-Saving Plan

The Auditor-General decided to look into the costs and benefits of HBL’s work in the health sector and, where possible, identify lessons... We found that several factors contributed to the difficulties that befell HBL and, in particular, the Finance, Procurement and Supply Chain (FPSC) programme. More>>


Wikileaks: TPP Intellectual Property Rights Chapter Released

“If TPP is ratified, people in the Pacific-Rim countries would have to live by the rules in this leaked text,” said Peter Maybarduk, Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines Program Director. “The new monopoly rights for big pharmaceutical firms would compromise access to medicines in TPP countries. The TPP would cost lives.” More>>


Redundancies: 120 Laws To Be Repealed

The Statutes Repeal Bill will remove 120 pieces of superfluous legislation, and parts of eight other acts. It is being consulted on before it is introduced to Parliament. “The proposed Bill would reduce the total number of public Acts in force by more than 10%,” Mr Joyce says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news