Parliament

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

 

Dunne Speaks: Chatham Islands

Dunne Speaks

2 May 2014

Time out is often a great way to refresh one’s sense of perspective.

I have spent the last few days on the Chatham Islands where the problems and issues of Wellington have seemed far away as we discussed the reality of life for the 600 or so souls who inhabit the main island. For example, our visit to Pitt Island coincided with the arrival of the supply vessel, which mean that about 30 or the island’s 50 residents gathered on the local wharf to welcome it and watch as their supplies were offloaded.

Back on the main island much interest in recent days has focused on the towing of a barge containing a large crane over to Pitt to assist with the reconstruction of the island’s wharf. The tow was the main topic of conversation in many of our meetings, and the sense of relief palpable when the tow began, and especially when it was completed successfully.

These stories may appear trivial to some, but their predominance is an inevitable focus of life on small isolated island communities, where the sense of engagement will always be that much stronger.

Discussions with local people drive home a real sense of reality: the quest for opportunity, and the high cost of living. Fuel and energy costs, for example, account for well over half most household budgets, and there is the inexorable drift of population west to New Zealand for education and employment.

In these circumstances one might be forgiven for anticipating a sense of expectation that New Zealand is a sugar-daddy to hand out largesse to the Chathams as required, but that is absolutely not the case. I saw a strong sense of self-determination and pride, with the prevailing wish that the Chathams should shape their own destiny, then work in partnership with New Zealand to achieve that.

Now all this raises questions about New Zealand’s current approach. We have carved out a fine record in recent years in our relationships with many of our Pacific neighbours, with whom we have enduring relationships, based very much on providing practical assistance and material aid to assist them achieve their priorities. We are justifiably proud of what we have done in this space, and rightly so.

This is the same spirit and tangible approach we need to follow with the Chathams. They are, after all, an inalienable part of our country and our closest offshore territory, excluding the islands of the Hauraki Gulf.

My time on the Chathams was enjoyable and inspiring, and a welcome relief to the psychoactive substances drama I have been dealing with in recent weeks. As one of the locals said to me before I boarded the plane, “you’re lucky, we have no legal highs here, we just go for the real stuff!”


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Fallout From The Barclay Tape

This is hardly a case of cleaning out your desk and being turfed out onto the pavement.

As others have pointed out, the disgraced Clutha-Southland MP will remain on the public payroll for three months until the election, and for three months afterwards. More>>

 

Ombudsman: Canterbury Schools Reorganisation Mishandled

An investigation into the Canterbury schools reorganisation after the February 2011 earthquakes has found significant gaps and flaws in the Ministry’s engagement and communications with schools and communities. More>>

ALSO:

Law Commission: Contempt Report "Protects Right To Fair Trial"

The proposed Act limits what news media representatives and bloggers can report on court proceedings, but it also makes clearer than the current law where the line is between contempt and freedom of expression. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Our Refugee Intake (And Uber’s Woes)

On figures released this week, there are currently 65.6 million people worldwide who have been displaced from their homes by war, famine or other external causes… More>>

ALSO:

IGIS Report: GCSB Support For Groser WTO Bid Not Illegal

“The inquiry has found that the GCSB did not act unlawfully or improperly in providing assistance to the New Zealand government campaign”, Ms Gwyn said. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: Pike And Houses

There were questions on Pike River mine re-entry after new video from inside the drift was released over the weekend. English maintained a human effort would not be feasible irrespective of any future coalition demands from NZ First. He said the government would continue to work with families on non-manned re-entry. More>>

ALSO:

Flogging A Dead Horse: NZ First Seeks New s59 Referendum

10 years on from the so called “anti-smacking” law - NZ First calls for a binding referendum. NZ First MP Tracey Martin told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that the law change has had a “chilling effect” on NZ parents including herself. More>>

ALSO:

Always Interesting: Internet Party Has New Leader

The Internet Party has a new leader: Suzie Dawson... She currently resides in Moscow, Russia, where she has applied for temporary asylum due to severe persecution she reports being subjected to by those whose corruption she worked to expose.More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog