Ae Marika: Defending Maori Rights
DEFENDING MAORI RIGHTS AND ADVANCING MAORI INTERESTS
A column published in the Northland Age
17 September 2008
Well, we finally got a date. On November 8, New Zealanders go to the polls and I’m glad all of the posturing is over.
National has been tripping all over themselves with leaked policies (and even leakier politicians), Labour has been trying all kind of tricks to lift their polls (and stacking a whole lot of boards with their cronies in case they can’t), Winston has been grabbing all the headlines (but NZ First hasn’t been enjoying the spotlight on their undeclared donations), and the Maori Party has just been quietly working away.
Our focus for this election will be our people – giving every child the opportunity to succeed regardless of whether their parents can get a job or not, breaking down the bigotry that limits our development and challenging ourselves to be as good as we can be.
We want to win the seven Maori seats because after 150 years, it’s time we had our own voice in Parliament, not one filtered through somebody else’s prejudices.
We want to put the Treaty above all legislation and political squabbles.
We want to reduce poverty by taking GST-off-food, wiping taxes for those earning less than $25,000, and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
We want free health care for our kids and our kaumatua and kuia.
And as for who we’re willing to work with to achieve those things, let me repeat – it’s not a coalition partner we’re looking for – it’s a Treaty partner. Coalition discussions can wait till after the election, and like last time, our first discussions will be with our own people – everyone else comes second.
I know I should be using this last column to pump up the politics, but I want to say thanks to the Age for giving me space in their newspaper. It’s been great, and I look forward to getting straight back into it as Tai Tokerau MP after the election.
I know my columns aren’t what you expect from a politician, but I’ve tried hard to take a different line on politics, and I hope you’ve learnt a bit and laughed a bit from what I have written over the last three years.
Thanks to all the readers for your comments: 90% have been supportive, eight per cent critical but OK, and the other two percent – I just send them on to Shane and tell him they must have got the wrong guy!
And one final word for my opponents – good luck and remember this – the life of a politician is a short one, but whanaungatanga lasts forever.