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General Debate; Te Ururoa Flavell

Wednesday 28 May 2014;

General Debate; Te Ururoa Flavell; Co-leader of the Maori Party

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

There is a whakataukī in Māoridom that goes something like this, Kai ana ngā kākā, noho ana ngā kereru. In essence, it suggests that while the kākā are eating noisily so that everyone notices, the pigeon gets on with the mahi, gets on with the job, without any fuss, and that pretty much describes where the Māori Party has been at. We have been getting on with the mahi.

Today we want to share some of the work with you that we have been involved with, acknowledging also that later today we will bring to the House the 21st bill that has been presented by the Māori Party under the Māori Party name over the first ten years of our movement.

I am really proud of the work that we have undertaken to advance the aspirations of whānau, hapū, and iwi in the interests of a stronger, more diverse Aotearoa.

There are three broad categories into which this wealth of legislation fits, and I want to go through them. The first category is around building resilience around whānau, hapū, and communities. We have a suite of legislation associated with the drive for Aotearoa to be smoke-free by the year 2025. There is legislation to increase the duties on all tobacco products, to remove tobacco displays from shops, and to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products. In that social hazard area of legislation, we also had one of my bills, the Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Bill, which was passed in September last year.

The second grouping is around maintaining the ground that Māori have already gained. A key one that was passed into law late last year was the amendment to the Māori Television Service (Te Aratuku Whakaata Irirangi Māori) Act put forward, of course, by the Minister of Māori Affairs, Pita Sharples. There are also various Acts now on the statute that Pita has sponsored around the Māori Trustee, Māori development and Māori corporations.

We have progressed a whole series of different bills—some on behalf of specific iwi, such as Ngāti Tapu, Ngāi Tamarāwaho and Ngāi Tūkairangi, who are actually with us right now in the gallery—that will be later on this afternoon—to witness the third reading of their bill.

Tariana Turia has put forward a series of bills to give effect to a deed of settlement for the original owners of Maraeroa A and B Blocks in the Maniapoto area, and in 2012 I sponsored a bill that successfully repealed the Mount Maunganui Borough Reclamation and Empowering Act. This was a really constructive relationship between the council and mana whenua through the initiative of the Tauranga City Council and Ngā Pōtiki. I have to say that there is nothing more satisfying as a member of Parliament than to be doing the business that your constituency wants to see happen.

There are a number of bills in this category that are about rectifying a wrong, an act of grave injustice by the Crown. Uppermost in my mind is the bill led by Pita Sharples, the Mokomoko (Restoration of Character, Mana, and Reputation) Bill. Another important milestone was the Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill and, of course, the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill, which followed on from our very first bill introduced in the House, the Foreshore and Seabed Act (Repeal) Bill.

The third grouping of bills that we have advanced comes through the focus of developing and advancing new spaces for Māori development. We have not always been able to progress these ideas with the support of the wider House, but the important principle for us is that the discussion has been raised. Into this area, of course, I would mention the following:
· the Matariki Day Bill in 2009, which was to acknowledge the significance of Matariki and Pūanga as our own unique cultural markers in Aotearoa;
· the Local Electoral (Māori Representation) Amendment Bill, which would establish Māori wards and constituencies and is particularly important in light of the way in which we are seeing our tupuna seats, the Māori electorate seats, becoming pawns for other parties to come into Parliament under a mainstream agenda which diminishes and reduces the whole potency of those seats to represent Māori interests;
· the Public Works (Offer Back of and Compensation for Acquired Land) Amendment Bill in 2010 was another one;
· the introduction of the Oaths and Declarations (Upholding the Treaty of Waitangi) Amendment Bill in August 2012; and
· the Goods and Services (Exemption of Healthy Food) Amendment Bill in 2010.

Into our relationship accord with the National Party we also had built in specific support around legislation related to Parihaka, which has been an important benchmark for our discussions with the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations.

This is just a sampler of the range and complexity of issues we have been able to bring to the House and to do the business that our people have sent us to do. I am sure I have forgotten a lot of things that we should have put in, but nevertheless we will pick those up and continue as we move into Parliament the next time round


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