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Reply to Prime Ministers Statement


SPEECH

Reply to Prime Ministers Statement

The Hon Dr Pita Sharples

Maori Party Co-Leader | MP for Tamaki Makaurau

3.40pm, 30 January 2013

Mr Speaker, I stand in the house today refreshed after an Auckland summer. I have had the pleasure of spending quality time with my whanau; my kids, the moko’s at waka ama, touch rugby, kapa haka, mau rakau and more time at the marae, time with kuia and koroua.

This time spent with whanau, reminded me of the great hopes and expectations that people have placed on us; and the duty that we have as representatives in parliament to carve a pathway so that our people may pursue their own dreams, whatever those dreams may be.

That is rangatiratanga. That is self-determination – and that is what we, the Maori Party have come here to do – to hold at bay the many policies that stifle the development of our whanau, hapu and iwi, and to push forward and progress the things that restore to tangata whenua our right to participate; our right to succeed; and our right to express our unique status as tangata whenua.

The Maori Party is a party built on kaupapa. Manaakinganga, rangatiratanga, kaitiakatanga and more.

We come with a wide view of the world, a holistic view of what wellbeing is, and a view to addressing the systemic issues that have contributed to poor outcomes for Maori and for all New Zealanders.

It is our kaupapa, our history and our experiences that should remind all of us that wellbeing is not defined in economic terms alone.

Yes, jobs are absolutely critical in restoring a sense of rangatiratanga to our whanau. And I am proud that the Maori Party have worked with this government to provide more training and employment opportunities, to establish cadetships and trade training programmes, and to enhance education and skills training outcomes. I look forward to continuing to work on this front to ensure that every New Zealander has equal opportunity to participate in the workforce.

The Maori Party are also proud of the work done in the wider economic space. Last year we launched He kai kei aku ringa: the Crown-Maori Economic Growth Partnership Strategy to 2040.

‘He kai kei aku ringa’ is the vision – literally, to provide the food you need with your own hands – it is all about rangatiratanga and supporting self-determination for our whanau and our hapu.

Mr Speaker, what I am most pleased with in this plan, is that while the outcome is economic, the action plan is all based on creating transformational change. It focuses on education. It focuses on building relationships. It focuses on a whanau-centric approach.

That approach absolutely excites me, because what that strategy tells me – is that the economic outcomes will be driven by the social, cultural and structural transformation.

And that is what we, the Maori Party are all about. We are about transformation.

When I was growing up in Takapau what was important to us as a whanau, was having kai on the table, knowing that each of our whanau members were safe, healthy and happy, and knowing that we lived in the greatest metropolis in the whole of New Zealand.

It is these simple things, ensuring our whanau are fed, are healthy, and happy that should channel our focus in this house.

Economic development has a part to play in this picture, but we need to get the balance right. We need to concentrate on the things that matter to us as people. We need to preserve the way of life that New Zealanders treasure – we have bountiful lands, beautiful rivers, we have a unique cultural edge, and we have the resources to provide people with the richness of life that they deserve.

But in order to take advantage of these things, we need to protect our environment, protect the health and wellbeing of our people, protect our cultural identity, and the things that make us, makes New Zealand a special place to live.

And the Maori Party are pleased to promote this vision here in Aotearoa.

We are pleased to have established a constitutional review which will look partly at the role of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in our modern society.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi is the founding document of this country, it is the reason there is a parliament sitting here today. It is the cornerstone of the relationship between Maori and the Crown, and it sits at the heart of our policy.

Yesterday we heard passionate dialogue about the role of the Treaty in Aotearoa – this is a conversation that should not be reserved to politicians. It is a conversation that must include all New Zealanders, all whanau, young and old. And I think you would find, Mr Speaker, that our younger generations of New Zealanders will have very different views to some of us sitting here in this house, and that gives me such hope for the future of our communities.

Another thing that we know Mr Speaker, is that culture counts. We are working hard to ensure that culture is respected and reflected in the way we do things across the spectrum of government.

I am proud that the Maori Party has introduced Whanau Ora into our political landscape. It truly is an innovative policy that recognises and promotes the primacy of the whanau or family in navigating through a wide range of interconnected issues. And it is an approach which puts in practice all the kaupapa that we stand for, and that many other New Zealanders believe in.

I am also proud of the work that we have done in education, to build bridges between cultures through tataiako, and to celebrate the wonderful potential of our kids to succeed, and the role of the whanau in supporting educational outcomes. If we are to truly address the issue of poverty in this country, then education is a key area of focus for us.

Literacy and numeracy are critical to education success so I am so pleased that we have secured funding for Reading Together for all decile 1, 2 & 3 schools. This is a whanau centred literacy programme, which is receiving absolutely glowing feedback. It supports children, but it also provides skills for parents and whanau members to support them to participate in their children’s education.

Kainga Whenua loans is another area where we have made an impact. We are proud to have supported this initiative which will provide a means to tangata whenua to build on multiply owned land

Land supply is a major issue in the housing space, and it is also a major issue facing Maori. For years we have talked about unlocking the potential of Maori land – and it is time that we looked at how we push forward on this issue. This is the year!

Of course, this year we must also ensure that we are all working hard to address the issue of whanau poverty. In our Relationship Accord with the National Party we established a Ministerial committee to look at how we address this issue in this country.

We are extremely excited about the findings of the Childrens Commissioners Expert Advisory Group – and we will be lending our support to the 78 solutions that they identified.

The work that Tariana has been leading in rheumatic fever prevention has been absolutely vital to ensuring that our kids have a decent quality of life – but make no mistake, this illness has no place in our country. It is an illness that results from poor living conditions and is associated to poverty – and the fight to eradicate it must go hand in hand with the work to move our kids and our whanau out of poverty permanently.

If there is one thing that we know, that our kaupapa and our history tells us – it’s that everything is connected. We must fight our battle for social justice on all fronts simultaneously if we are to see real transformation for our communities, and for our tamariki mokopuna.

In all of our mahi this year Mr Speaker, the key thing that binds it together is the expression of our kaupapa and tikanga; of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, rangatiratanga, and of course, whanau ora.

These are our measures of wellbeing and success. And we believe that these measures would also fit well within a new model of measuring wellbeing such as GPI. And that is something that I am keen to promote this year.

Tena koutou katoa

ENDS

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