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George Ngatai- Standing for President of Maori Party- Speech

Presidential Speech to the Maori Party AGM 13 July 2013 in Whakatane

Tena koutou katoa I’m George Ngatai and I’m standing for President of the Maori Party.

I want to pose a question to you… Do you vote for new leadership or do you vote for more of the same – Today you make that decision.

On the 7 July 2004, 9 years and 6 days ago the Maori Party was formally established as a Political Party.

It represented the views of Maori because of an act that was introduced by the then Labour Government, to yet again disenfranchise us as people.

That same year Tariana crossed the floor and took on the Giant (Helen Clarke) and the Labour Party machinery.

Our constitution was written for the Party lead by our inaugural President – Matua Whatarangi Winiata and other members who are still here today From that document 9 Kaupapa Here were introduced.

As members of the Party we continue to sign up to and are regularly reminded about this kaupapa of: Manakitanga Rangatiratanga Whanaungatanga Kotahitanga Wairuatanga Mana Whenua Kaitiakitanga Mana Tupuna / Whakapapa And Te Reo Rangatira.

I’m sure we don’t need to be reminded of them however there are some we come in contact with regularly who believe that we have moved away from some of these principles. I want to say that we haven’t.

We can’t be complacent and we need to remember that over the 9 years where we once had 5 members of parliament, now we are have three.

As President of this party it would be my priority with the Vice Presidents, Council Members Co Leaders and Members of Parliament to confirm and affirm that these principles are carried out in accordance to how and why they were written.

I also want to ensure that not one more member of this Party should be lost.

I was told recently that my standing for presidency against the one and only Naida Glavish was like David taking on Goliath.

You know reading your CV Naida shucks if I wasn’t standing I’d vote for you myself.

But I can tell you today that I am not David and you’re not a giant, I’m George Ngatai and I’m standing for President of the Maori Party.

One of the key things I see for this position is having the time to look at rebuilding, reinvigorating, reactivating our party. And we only have 14-18 months to commit to this.

Both Naida and I spoke just after the Ikaroa Rawhiti by-election about how we would look at working on re-building the Maori Party.

What we spoke about was the fact that when this AGM came about that there should not be a vote for co-leader or president.

However the decision by Pete to stand down beat us to that. It wasn’t an easy decision for him, the electorate and the Party.

But was one that showed courage and fortitude for the man and the future of this Party.

Again Pete I would like to take this opportunity in thanking you and your whanau for making this difficult decision and for flying the Maori Party Flag while being our MP and the 41st Minister of Maori Affairs.

I also spoke with the outgoing president Pem Bird about our current situation and whether or not we would fare the storm after the Ikaroa Rawhiti by-election.

His response was that we needed to come to a quick resolution.

Pem despite the many challenges that you have had to whether throughout your tenure as president we are still here today. Thank you for the contribution you have made to the Party.

To whaea Tariana, there has been no other female politician I have met that has been tuturu to the kaupapa of things Maori. The last time a Maori Minister walked the floor was in 1979 when Matiu Rata resigned and formed Mana Motuhake.

You have upheld the mana of this party in this country and abroad and I along with members of the party and collegues would also like to thank you for walking the floor back in 2004.

This Party will have a new Co-Leader confirmed soon and Te Ururoa to you. You continue to be the one to challenge this government on matters that affect our people. I look forward in working alongside you to shape the future for the party and the future for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to come.

This position is the most senior for the party – it means that sometimes you have to talk about the issues that you don’t want or like to talk about …….and also talk to people who may not want to talk to.

One thing though we have always kept in mind, is at the end of the day it’s for the benefit of the party and the people we represent.

So why then should you vote for me.

Well its simple, I am youthful and I bring new ideas to the party.

Not just ideas for the next 14-18 months, but about ideas that raise our sights 30-50 years from now as Pete said.

I bring challenge, and am confident to share the Party view to members, non members and future members throughout the motu.

I believe in uniting our party and doing it in ways that haven’t been explored yet.

What I CAN say is that I want to continue to be part of that process so that we can come together as Maori first and foremost, based on our shared kaupapa and tikanga - not just political rhetoric of the past.

I want us to continue to be honest, I want us to continue to be consistent, and I want us to continue to be transparent.

To do this requires giving the machinery a little youthful overhaul.

The party must be a vehicle for our peoples' voice to be heard.

This means the relationship between the members, the electorates and the elected representatives need to be even more stronger and healthier in that order. Members – Electorates and Politicians I want to play a part in this work and have a strategy to do this over a 100 day period once elected.

You know a question was asked of me about whether I would be prepared to talk with Mana? SO I thought to myself - we would have to talk to ourselves because each one of us has mana.

Jokes aside we can’t be afraid of the possibility of talking with Hone and his party.

My response was if we don’t consider talking with them then come election 2014 we may both end up cancelling ourselves out.

There is room for only one vehicle to represent Maori views and unfortunately Labour just doesn’t fit in that picture.

Talk is good however unless we try we won’t know what the outcome would bring.

I have not yet spoken with hone but would certainly put any personalities aside and look at our continued survival as a Maori Party.

I want to qualify though that we don’t have to agree with everything however let’s illuminate the speculation of us not being able to talk at all.

If it doesn’t work then at least we can say we have tried.

Election 2014 “should be about people not politics”. We have to find a way to do this and we will.

What specifically are my goals as President?

My first 100 days this is what I plan to do: 1. Visit each electorate committee and our members and gather ideas on what the future of the party is to look like 2. Have all our members of Parliament make themselves available to host these hui with all electorates so electorates get to invite potential members and supporters back to the party.

3. Confirm candidates for the 3 seats we currently Waiariki, Te Tai Hauauru and Tamaki Makaurau by Christmas confirm the remainder candidates of the other Maori seats.

4. I want us to confirm both co-leaders who will lead us into Election 2014 and beyond 5. Appoint a Campaign strategist to develop and manage Election 2014 6. Confirm potential supporters for campaign 2014 7. Increase our membership by double what we have now 8. And Identify potential partners and or candidates for all other general seats

Over the next 12 months

9. I would like us to confirm how we will achieve 10 MPs in 2014 and focus on the Maori Party – Party Vote. – This can not happen by the Maori vote alone but by Pacific, Chinese, Indian and even our Pakeha voters. We have some who support us but we need more.

10. Confirm our bottom line deals with whomever the government maybe.

11. And approve our 2014 Manifesto to present to our people and the people of Aotearoa.

If there is a time that we need to be united it is now.

Vote for the person you know will make a change for our party.

I have been on this Council for the past few years and although we have had to deal with challenges, we have as a party achieved many outcomes for our people the $1b spend for Maori has been one of those major achievements our members of parliament have fort for.

I posed a question at the beginning of my speech this morning.

Do you vote for new leadership or do you vote for more of the same – today you make that decision.

George Ngatai

Presidential Candidate – Maori Party


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