Sharples: General Debate Speech 18/9/13
General Debate Speech
Kei konei ahau e tu ana; kei konei matou o Te Paati Maori e tu ana ki roto i te Whare Paremata ki te rapu i tetahi kaupapa hei whakakotahi i nga iwi o Aotearoa
Na te mamae me te
pouritanga o Ngai Maori ki te tahaetanga o te takutai moana
i pupu ake ai te riri I roto ia tatou
Te riri ki te kawanatanga
Te riri ki tenei whare paremata
Te riri ki nga ture, nga kawa, me nga whakahaere o tenei te whare e pupuri ana i te tikanga kawanatanga mo Aotearoa whanui.
Na roto i tena riri, ka tipu ai te kaupapa o Te Paati Maori. Na o matou whanau, hapu, iwi o ratou wawata, tumanako, aa tikanga Maori i whakatoo ki roto i Te Paati Maori hei kawe ki roto i tenei whare
Na, e te rangatira, ko tenei te timatanga o Te Paati Maori, me to matou hikoi ki te whai i nga kaupapa Maori mo tenei whare; mo tenei kawanatanga.
Anei ahau; anei matou o Te Paati Maori e tu atu nei, hei mangai mo ratou; hei mangai mo o tatou tipuna; hei mangai mo a tatou tamariki, mokopuna, whakatipuranga.
E tu Maori ana matou.
Mr Speaker, I want to tell you something about the Maori Party.
We are unashamedly Maori.
We are unashamed to say who we are, where we have come from, and who we represent.
We are a small party, but we are a Maori Party.
We are not encumbered by a caucus that puts ‘Maori issues’ in a box. Every issue for us, is a Maori issue.
We are not encumbered by a caucus that will give lower priority to those issues in that ‘Maori box’.
And when we measure Maori issues, we are not encumbered by having to consider these issues from any viewpoint other than our own kaupapa Maori.
When Ruatoki was raided by the police, mandated by the Labour government of the day, we did not have to negotiate our position with anyone else but Tuhoe. We stood by them. Wecontinue to stand by them to this day.
When injustice is present in our ‘justice system’ we do not have to ask for permission to speak out – we just speak out about the issues we see.
When Mataatua waka were faced with the Rena devastation – we were there to voice the concerns of the iwi.
When the Waitangi Tribunal found in Wai 262 that te reo is still in a state of vulnerability – we stepped up, and now we are developing a Maori language strategy.
When our whanau are being disproportionately affected by the impact of poverty – we moved to action, and we established a Ministerial Committee on Poverty, and secured $1billion worth of support for them.
When Maori rights are threatened – we will be there. We will be there, and no one can stop us from standing by their side.
So I stand here today Mr. Speaker – to say how proud I am to be a part of a kaupapa that prioritises the aspirations, tikanga and desires of the indigenous people of this land.
I am proud to say that in everything we do, we are Maori.
And I tell you this Mr. Speaker, because I am sick to death of hearing people debate Maori issues ‘in a box’.
Generation after generation of our tipuna have represented us in this house – and have had their voice marginalised.
I have seen this happen in every shape, sphere and space of our political system
We had to fight
the system in order to maintain our culture
We had to fight for our language
We had to fight for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
We had to fight to maintain our Maori seats
And this is not about fighting for fighting’s sake Mr Speaker. This is about fighting for survival. And when you are in survival mode it is so hard to lift your head up and see clearly the pathway forward.
But see, aspire, and vision that is what our people did – and we are an instrument of their vision.
The job of the Maori Party is to clear the pathway forward for Maori to not only survive, but thrive and contribute to the greatness of our nation.
We all, as members of this house, have a responsibility to support Maori success. I have said it before, and I will say it again – what is good for Maori is good for New Zealand. And so we all have a job to protect the indigenous people of this nation.
When we have an opportunity to move forward on Maori issues, we should grab those opportunities with both hands. We should leap for them, because those are the moments that are remembered in our history as moments of courage and greatness.
I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that the Labour Party had a huge opportunity to move our journey forward as Maori. It was an opportunity that they misused, and overlooked.
Despite what Shane said about me on twitter this morning, which I have put down to a basic need for my attention – he is part of my community. He is Maori, and he could have been the first Maori leader of the Labour Party; and thus, possibly the first Maori Prime Minister.
Now that would have been wonderful for our communities. That opportunity was wasted.
And I want to say that despite my feelings about that Party, I am sorely sorely disappointed that Labour did not take that step for Maori people. This is from the very Party who claim to hold Maori aspirations on high.
What that tells me is that the Maori Party, while small, still has a very important role to play in keeping Maori issues front of mind, and front of house because, Mr. Speaker, Labour cannot and will not do this for Maori.
Tena koutou katoa