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Te Ururoa Flavell: Budget Speech


21 MAY 2014; 5PM

Te Ururoa Flavell: Budget Speech

Tēnā koe, Mr Assistant Speaker. Kia ora tātou e te Whare.

These are historic times to be speaking to the 2014 Budget as a strong and independent Māori voice in the Parliament of this land.

In two days time we celebrate ten years to the day since over 200 people gathered at Hoani Waititi Marae in Auckland. At that time representatives from Te Tai Tokerau , Ngāti Whātua , Tāmaki-makau-rau , Tainui , Raukawa, Waiariki , Te Arawa in my area, Mataatua and Ngati Porou , Ngāti Kahungunu , Te Atiawa, Ngāti Apa, Whanganui, Raukawa ki te Tonga, and the New Zealand Māori Council journeyed across the country. They attended a hui to discuss the need for an independent Māori political voice.

It was that hui that mobilised over 200 Māori leaders to build on the momentum gained from the hīkoi opposing Labour’s Foreshore and Seabed Act of 2004. This hui unanimously agreed that the people are ready to act collectively to bring to the fore Māori interests of value to all New Zealanders. So began the journey of the Māori Party, a journey that has taken us through a three-year term in Opposition and two subsequent terms in a relationship with the Government.

Today I read a release from the Labour Party that talked about the Māori Party gains in this year’s Budget, and it described them as being mere crumbs on the table—crumbs on the table. If the $100 million of new money for Māori development that we achieved in Budget 2014 was crumbs, then the money received in times of surplus when Labour was in Government equates to a mere third of a crumb—a third of a crumb.

I am thinking of the days of plenty, in 2007, when, theoretically, Māori should have been at the very best we have ever seen. Times were good. In that memorable year, Dr Michael Cullen announced a mere $35.6 million committed not just to Māori but also to Treaty-related initiatives—$35 million.

I say memorable because, of course, 2007 was the year the Labour Party chose to vote against the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People , citing opposition particularly to article 3—the right to self-determination. That happened on 13 September. One month later in the same year, 2007, on 15 October, more than 300 police carried out the dawn raids on a dozen houses all over Aotearoa in response to what they described as terrorist threats from the indigenous activists. So, yes, in the context of the Tūhoe raids and the rejection of the declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, I guess that even a third of a crumb is memorable.

Comparing the two, then—$35 million in 2007 for Māori and the Treaty as opposed to $100 million of new money this year for the Māori Party initiatives. That is how it stacks up.

But listen, there is a bit more: $35 million in 2007 compared with $300 million across a whole range of votes in 2014—of both new votes and reprioritised funding, which have tangible benefits for whānau , hapū, and iwi.

The 2007 equivalent is just a little bit over 10 percent of a crumb—10 percent of a crumb. That year was, if you like, a perfect storm. There was a rare combination of circumstances that came together to convince iwi Māori that the time had come for a new direction. That direction came some twelve months later with the relationship formalised between the Māori Party and the Government to form a coalition of the willing to negotiate a more successful future for all to enjoy.

Budget 2014 reveals that the Māori Party has pushed this Government hard on a number of matters, including
· a commitment to establish the $30 million Māori Information and Communications Development Fund in 2014-15,
· the establishment of a $5 million Te Mana o Te Wai Fund,
· the establishment of the centre of research excellence for the funding of Mātauranga Māori research,
· recognising the relevance and effectiveness of Whānau Ora as a lead social and economic transformation approach for Māori, Pasifika peoples, and other New Zealanders, through the ongoing funding committed to Whānau Ora, the work of three new commissioning agencies, and the establishment of a Treaty-based partnership group comprising senior Ministers and iwi leaders, to provide joint direction, oversight, and promotion of Whānau Ora. I go on.
· Following up on the recommendations of Te Paepae Motuhake, the name of that report was Te Reo Mauriora, through to the Māori Language Strategy and the proposed amendments to the Māori Language Act that the Hon Dr Pita Sharples hopes to introduce into this House prior to the House lifting for the 2014 election,
· securing funding to invest in three economic development initiatives that will address some of the outcomes sought in the Māori Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan, He Kai Kei Aku Ringa,
· the funding secured for Māori radio and Te Māngai Pāho for iwi Māori economic development,
· $16 million for the Māori housing fund, to support the repairs and rebuilds of rural houses and developing Māori social housing providers,
· $90 million to provide free general practitioner visits and free prescriptions for all of our tamariki up to age 13 and,
· most important and most exciting of all, Moving the Māori Nation fund, which is about investing in capacity-building and development and support for sporting and cultural excellence.

That is just a start. Do we believe in the collective rights of indigenous peoples? Well, hell yeah—hell yeah.

What is even more exciting about the 2014 Budget is that it shows the maturing of the relationship between the Crown and iwi—a relationship that has been evident through iwi leaders being now able to be intimately associated with the policy development process right across key portfolios of the Government.

We are particularly proud of the Budget’s $500 million fund, the package to support children and families as the absolute foundation of our nation. That is what having influence is all about.

If I can in the last few minutes that are available to me to talk about the Budget, I would like to just angle a little bit of discussion across to one who is leaving the House today, Mr Shane Jones.

ENDS

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