Sandra Lee's leader's address to Mana Motuhake
Welcome to the Mana Motuhake Hui a Tau. This is the most important annual conference that we have had in recent years. It is the last one this century, indeed this millennium, and it is the last time we will meet like this before the election.
So today I want to outline in detail, our key Treaty of Waitangi policy, which is our blue print for the next generation, the legacy we will leave our children. Empty words, reports and inquiries into the plight of our people are no longer sufficient. The time has come for a plan of action that will empower our people to prescribe their own destiny.
It is that plan I want to share with you today.
I believe that the day is coming when you will be able to
say to our people: 'government department' and their first response will not be a list that starts with WINZ, DSW, MACCESS and ends with CYPS (or CYPFA as it's now called)
We know these departments personally - and they know us - largely for the wrong reasons.
I believe the day is coming when that will change because our people are no longer prepared to tolerate unemployment three times higher than the national average, the worst housing in the country, the worst health statistics.
I believe it, because we in Mana Motuhake and the Alliance have a plan which can start on day one of a new government.
I also want to tell you, not only what we will do in government, but when we will do it. I make a commitment to everybody here today that there will be changes on day one, and there will be further major initiatives this time next year.
I want to talk about accountability. It's a word on everyone's lips.
Golden handshakes of three figure sums are paid out to public service managers - to two tourism board members, to senior staff at NZQA, to Chief Executive of Infrastructure Auckland - and the list goes on. The public asks, and rightly so, who is to be made accountable?
Who made WINZ CEO Christine Rankin think that it was ok to spend hundreds of thousands of tax payers dollars on glitzy team building conferences, and expensive air travel, when she heads a department whose job it is to deliver basic benefits to too many of our people?
This government is responsible, and its ministers, for infecting the public service with a private sector mentality that says its ok to spend $165,000 on chartered air travel when you pay a single beneficiary only $147.89 to live on for one week.
Who is responsible for the woeful lack of accountability for the Vote Maori dollar?
Who is responsible for measuring whether or not those government departments who receive the money are actually delivering the service to our people?
The answer is - no-one. We want to change that.
Yet again the tax payer's dollar is so shamefully
Christine Rankin's expense account pales into insignificance compared to the misrepresentation of how Vote Maori Affairs has been applied since mainstreaming was introduced.
Just look at the recent budget:
$25.770 million spent on 'policy advise' to the Crown. That's 46.7% of the entire budget set aside to give the crown advise about how to deal with Maori. 46.7% of the budget gone, and not a cent yet spent on services to Maori.
A miserly third of a million dollars a year to improve the Maori language proficiency of early childhood teachers in Maori immersion. The same amount of money given in golden handshakes to two tourism board members. Are two over-paid board members more important than an entire people?
And then we have one and a half a million dollars thrown at bureaucrats to 'assess Maori potential,' we're told. In other words, one and a half million dollars to tell us what we could be, if only we had the chance.
Since mainstreaming in 1991, governments have been happy to appear to be throwing money towards Maori, knowing full well it doesn't reach its destination.
Like water in a sponge, that money is swallowed up and lost, long before it reaches our people.
We in Mana Motuhake and the Alliance are committed to taking
responsibility for each dollar allocated to Maori.
At the heart of the problem is this botched up, piecemeal strategy called mainstreaming. In 1991 the activity of providing services to the Maori community was no longer administered by the Department of Maori Affairs, but distributed among all other government departments (health, education ect)
For Maori, mainstreaming has meant stalemate by bureaucratic intervention.
Under a new government, that will change. Mana Motuhake and the Alliance will do away with the wasteful bureaucracy.
Day one of a new government we will begin the process of
introducing legislation that will change the mandate of Te Puni Kokiri.
At present TPK can advise the Crown, and monitor what's not happening for Maori, but not much else. We will empower TPK to 'police' the Vote Maori dollar.
In future, government agencies will be put under contract to ensure that Vote Maori Affairs not only reaches its destination, and is no longer swallowed up by the Crown itself and layers of bureaucracy, but that these agencies deliver the service to Maori they are contracted to do.
Let me make this very clear. Because the time has come to set aside the rhetoric and good intentions, and present each and every Maori with a practical plan, a map, of how we can get out of the hole that has been a holding cell for our people for too long.
Government agencies will be placed under contractual obligation. TPK will be given the job of auditing each agency that has been given a piece of Vote Maori is delivering a service to Maori. A bit like a school inspector.
Mana Motuhake and the Alliance will ensure through legislation, that if state agencies fail to meet their targets for Maori, community organisations will be able to contest for the same allocation of Vote Maori.
TPK will become the middle man between the minister of Maori Affairs, and the Minister of any other department, and Maori in their communities. All other bureaucracy will fall away. Instead there will be a direct line of accountability.
Contracts will be terminated and reallocated where failure to deliver is apparent.
Whether you are Maori or Pakeha, a government agency or a community group, if your organisation can make that Vote Maori dollar work for Maori, then you will be able to bid for the contract.
We are not attempting to re-invent the wheel. The beauty of this plan is that it uses existing structures to make changes that will see a vast improvement in the delivery of services to Maori - as of day one of a new government.
It will launch us into the next millennium with a blue print for partnership in this country.
A partnership that allows Maori a fair stake in our own governance, and sets up a structure whereby Maori and Pakeha can create responsible government together.
WHAT WE WILL DO ON DAY ONE
To sum up, this is what Mana Motuhake and the Alliance will
do from day one, if part of the next government:
1. Legislate to change the mandate of TPK so that all agencies receiving Vote Maori will be audited for effectiveness .
2. Legislate for change in the contestability of Vote Maori that will allow community organisations to have services purchased directly from them by the Crown - that means no bureaucracy in-between.
3. Require all public sector CEOs to set inside their performance agreements, a regulatory review that is specifically bench-marked by the Treaty of Waitangi.
In other words, after nearly 160 years, we will introduce a Treaty policy that clearly articulates the relationship between the Crown and Maori.
A DEMOCRATIC VOTE THIS TIME NEXT YEAR
That's what we will do on day one. Now I want to tell you
what we plan to do after that.
I make a commitment here to you today, that this time next year Maori across the country will be offered the chance to vote on what kind of democratic representation they want, not only at a national level, but a local level too.
Mana Motuhake and the Alliance will advocate a vision that the late Matiu Rata first gave life to in the 1970s.
It is a vision of a regional and national system of Maori councils. Many mocked him in 1970 and told him he'd just written the shortest political suicide note in history.
The words on that note were Rohe Pooti, and it's an idea whose day has profoundly come of age.
Ten rohe (councils) of 15 members will be established to represent iwi, hapu and other Maori community groups of the region. Eight members will be democratically elected by hapu, iwi of the regions. The other seven will be elected by people on the Maori electoral roll, resident in the region.
Rohe Pooti will develop and manage the implementation of local and regional policies that will enable Maori development to take place in areas such as employment, housing, afforestation, farming, fisheries, aquaculture, commerce, education, health and welfare.
An assembly of Maori will be held each year to identify key issues regarding Maori/Crown partnership.
The assembly will be inclusive of all Maori, including representatives from iwi, hapu, marae, Maori organisations and individual Maori.
Guaranteed Maori representation in parliament will continue to be based on the number of seats generated by Maori represented on the Maori electoral roll.
Mana Motuhake and the Alliance supports the creation of a central Maori Council which will consist of ten members elected by the assembly and two representatives from each Rohe Pooti.
Maori will be given the chance to vote on this model of democratic representation this time next year.
DEMOCRACY, LONG OVERDUE
These are policies that are truly fresh and innovative.
Policies to take us into tomorrow. If you want to see yesterday, then make your way to Wellington right now.
There, people are chucking their names in a hat as Crown nominees for a new board on the Fisheries Commission. The Minister will 'appoint' his chosen few for a new board.
It is a travesty of democracy when a body that is meant to represent all Maori, and be the kaitiaki (guardian) of our assets is run by people 'appointed by the Crown.'
In the six years to 30th September 1998, the Fisheries Commissioners have paid themselves it appears a total of $6.149 million by way of annual fees, other remunerations and directors fees.
That is over a million dollars a year. And it could be even more than that. Despite my best efforts as an MP using parliamentary questions, I cannot get detailed information on the payments they have made to themselves.
Unlike all other public bodies, the Commission is not legally obliged to disclose its payments.
I would like to move a motion here today, that the legislation be changed so that full disclosure can take place, and that there be a full inquiry into the financial activities of this present commission.
I also move that none of the present fisheries commissioners be re-appointed.
In seven years they have failed to come up with a model of allocation that will deliver to all Maori.
They have continued to peddle the myth that litigation has delayed the allocation of the fisheries asset to Maori. In fact it is the delay in fair allocation that has generated all the litigation.
I also move that we call on the Minister of Maori Affairs to set up democratic elections for all future Commissioners, and do away, once and for all with 'the Crown shall appoint' legislation.
If he doesn't do it, we will, in a few months time.
OTHER POLICY ANNOUNCEMENTS
There are many other policy initiatives in the area of Maori
education, health, the environment, job creation and broadcasting, which we will announce in more detail alongside key Alliance policy launches, in the nature of partnership.
Today is dedicated to announcing our Treaty of Waitangi policy which is I believe, truly innovative, and a blue-print upon which all our other Maori policy initiatives will grow.
Without that basic structure in place, all other initiatives are just good intentions.
What I can say today is that Mana Motuhake and the Alliance are committed to creating a Maori Education Authority which will guarantee a cohesive strategy to fully support the Kohanga, Kura and Wananga movements.
What I can say is that the Alliance regional development and venture capital initiatives are committed to creating real jobs in areas where Maori live, as a matter of urgency.
I can say that our health policy acknowledges that the mainstreaming of health services has failed to address Maori health problems adequately, and that we are committed to resourcing Maori health initiatives that are proven to deliver to our people.
The initiatives announced here today will eventually lead to
the type of partnership between the Crown and Maori that will encourage greater productivity, greater innovation, and greater participation by Maori in the growth and development of Aotearoa, my country, your country.
These initiatives will secure Aotearoa as a leader of Pacific nations.
Maori must have people in Government who are brave enough and determined enough to make changes at the core of the system.
Mana Motuhake in the Alliance is the Maori heart of that new government.
We have the map and the will to see it through.