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 What John Key Should Be Asking Joe Biden

No doubt, US Vice-President Joe Biden will be updating Prime Minister John Key on the chances of a TPP vote taking place in the ‘ lame duck’ session of Congress that’s held between the November’s election and the inauguration of a new President in January. More>>

ALSO:

Make NZ Make Again: Greens Will Establish A Minister For Manufacturing

The Green Party announced today that it will establish a Minister for Manufacturing in Cabinet, to better represent the interests of manufacturers and ensure they thrive. The Minister will be inside Cabinet and have responsibility for the long-term interests of the manufacturing sector. More>>

ALSO:

Cannabis Party: Treasury Figures On Cost Of Criminalisation

Figures released by Treasury prove the economic viability of The Cannabis Party's policy, while destroying the credibility of police claims about cannabis harms. More>>

ALSO:

Green Party: Investigation Into Mental Health Facilities Shows Disarray

The Health Minister must urgently launch an inquiry into mental health services, after serious issues with the standard of care at mental health and disability facilities around the country were revealed today, the Green Party said. More>>

ALSO:

Apparently He Means 'Years 0-8': Seymour Announces 4th Partnership Schools Application Round

“The continuing growth of this policy reflects the achievement of the eight existing Partnership Schools, and the strong levels of interest educators and community leaders are showing in the Partnership Schools model and what it offers students and their families,” Mr Seymour says. More>>

ALSO:

Trust Directors: Urban Māori Win Case Against Te Ohu Kai Moana

The National Urban Māori Authority (NUMA) and Te Waipareira Trust have succeeded in their claim over a $20 million trust set up for the benefit of urban Māori, meaning all directors of the trust must represent Māori who are not affiliated with an iwi. More>>

New Model: Carbon Tax Could Lower Emissions And Boost Economy

A carbon tax targeting emissions-intensive industries, along with a revamped Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), could boost economic growth, with the extra tax generated used to cut GST from 15 percent to 12.5 percent. More>>

ALSO:

Budget Docs Release: ACC Sought $158mn In Budget 2016, Got $26.4mn

The Accident Compensation Commission requested an extra $158 million in funding for 2016/17 from the government ahead of Budget 2016, but Treasury instead recommended an interim payment of just $26.4 million be funded to tackle demographic changes, papers published by the government show. More>>

ALSO:

Submissions Sought: Māori Party Joins Opposition Housing Inquiry

People who are homeless, those who were once homeless, those working with the homeless and concerned New Zealanders are being asked to share their experiences and solutions to this growing issue with the Cross-Party Homelessness Inquiry. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news