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Lawrence Yule MP: Maiden Speech

14 November 2017

Lawrence Yule MP: Maiden Speech

Ki te iwi o Ngati Kahungunu, tena koutou
To all the people of Ngati Kahungunu, greetings
Ki nga hapu whanui o Heretaunga tena koutou
To all the hapu of Heretaunga, greetings
Ki nga kaumatua o Heretaunga tena koutou
To all the elders and leaders of Heretaunga, greetings
Kia ora mo te aroha, me te manaaki ki au mai ra no
Thank you for the love and support you have given me over the years
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa

Mr Speaker it is a tremendous honour to speak for the first time at the beginning of the 52nd Parliament. It is a privilege to represent the people of Tukituki in this house and I thank them for voting and bringing me here.

Mr Speaker I acknowledge and congratulate you on your appointment, the appointment of former Hawkes Bay resident Hon Anne Tolley as Deputy Speaker and other presiding officers.

I acknowledge the sanctity if this house, those that have gone before and all members of this 52nd Parliament. Regardless of your political convictions, I know you all enter this place to make a difference.

I acknowledge the leaders of all political parties and respect their seniority and mana.

Congratulations to Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Deputy Prime Minister Hon Winston Peters and all Ministers.

I acknowledge the Rt Hon Bill English and Hon Paula Bennett as Leader and Deputy Leader of the National Party. On behalf of all National MPs, I wish to thank both members for their outstanding performance across the nation in the election campaign. I am incredibly proud to be elected as a National MP and I thank them for their time in Tukituki during the campaign.

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I acknowledge Party President Peter Goodfellow, the Board and National party staff led by Greg Hamilton. I offer a particular vote of thanks to Central Region Chair Bernard Cleary for his support, advice and personal help.

It is an honour to join my fellow Hawke's Bay MP’s Stuart Nash and Meka Whaitari who, although across the political divide, I regard as friends after working with them for many years. I welcome a working relationship with my National Wairarapa MP Alistair Scott as we work together to support the people of Central Hawkes Bay where we share a common boundary.

I acknowledge and thank my predecessor Hon Craig Foss for his dedication and commitment to the people of Tukituki. I also greet our community leaders HBRC Chair Rex Graham, Hastings Acting Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst and Central Hawkes Bay Mayor Alex Walker.

Honourable members thank you for the courtesy already shown to me by many members of this house, whom I have worked with in my former role as President of Local Government New Zealand. I look forward to continuing these respectful relationships.

As Member of Parliament for Tukituki, I want to share a little about myself.

I am married to my wonderful wife Kerryn who I love and who has been a tower of strength since we met and was a superstar in the Campaign. Mr Speaker not many wives or husbands in this chamber would actually enjoy door knocking!

I am the father of four wonderful adult children from a previous marriage who are doing incredibly well. Emma, Thomas, Henry, and Charles continue to give me a huge sense of pride in their achievements and success with life. I love them and acknowledge them and their mother for all they have done to help me.

My Mum (who is in the gallery) and late Father gave myself and my siblings an idyllic life surrounded by love in a Christian household. We never wanted for anything but we had modest means. My brother Andrew, and sister Jeanette have both been a supportive part of our nuclear family and as siblings, we have all supported each other through life's rough patches. I thank Kerryn’s parents for their love and support complete with free-flowing political advice.

My dearest friends Michael Hindmarsh and Peter Roil have supported all my political campaigns and are hoarding professionals to die for. We met through Board of Trustees work at Sherenden School and have been friends since. Thank you, both for your hours of work and support. Every time we were putting up signs for the mayoralty is was going to be the last, but remarkably you have stuck by me.

Trevor Helson Tukituki Electorate and Campaign Chair, thank you for a full-time voluntary role during the campaign. You were supported by a wonderful energetic team and we achieved a wonderful result. Thank you to those of you who have come to support me today who helped during the campaign and those that supported financially.

I am proud to say I represent the people of Hastings, Flaxmere, Havelock North, Whakatu, Clive, Haumoana, Otane, Ongaonga, Tikokino, the Heretaunga and Ruataniwha Plains and rural hinterland of places like Otamauri where I was brought up. I also represent the people of Ngati Kahungunu, more than 25 Marae. I specifically acknowledge my good friend Ngati Kahungunu Chair Ngahiwi Tomoana and his wife Mere.

I thank the Hon Chris Finlayson for the great work in settling all the claims in the area I represent. We are in a post-settlement positive mode now and the benefits are quickly flowing with investment and confidence.

Mr Speaker it is no accident I am here, as my father was a political and National Party stalwart and supported Former Speaker Sir Richard Harrison and Waikaremoana MP Hon Roger McClay. From the earliest of memories, I can remember him always being at meetings and the rituals of election night parties. They weren't raucous affairs but full of stern study, opinion, predictions and either elation or gloom. The gloom quickly subsided, however, as planning begun for the next three years just like my colleagues have done in this Parliament. There is certain a tinge of sadness knowing that he died too young to see me enter this house. He would, however, be very proud.

Mr Speaker I come here as the oldest member of the National Class of 2017. I prefer the nickname Uncle to Dad but what a great group of new National MPs I have joined. We have all come here to make a difference to a positive New Zealand.

While I have been Mayor of Hastings, President of LGNZ and Chair of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum I start this new journey with great optimism for both the change in environment and for New Zealand.

I have been out of National Party Politics for decades but I am excited to re-join. Unlike many, I am fortunate to have enjoyed a good life, good health, a loving stable family, a university education and an enjoyable career.

Despite this, my work, faith, and Christian upbringing have shown me that many people are not so fortunate. I enter this place to make a difference for those who have not enjoyed what I have. I enter this Parliament to help improve things for my people and New Zealand.

I do so from a philosophical viewpoint that we need to empower people to succeed not fund them to do so. I also have a fundamental mantra that people can spend their own money more efficiently than any form of Government whether central or local.

This does not mean I do not support the state or local Councils as a collective way of doing things more efficiently than individually. I support both but we should always remember that neither actually has any money. The money and support people receive in health, education or welfare is all of our money. As we ration services or build infrastructure we should constantly assess what makes sense, even if the approach needs to be very different from the past.

My life has been a journey made all the richer for my growing understanding of what is important to Maori. In the last 20 years, I have grown huge respect for the long-term relationship driven perspective that comes from our Treaty Partners. I have learned a great deal about patience and the very real understanding of the land, water, and cultural assets.

New Zealand is a blessed nation at the bottom of the Pacific surrounded by a pristine ocean. We enjoy a quality of life that is the envy of the world. I am incredibly optimistic about our future and the issues we face are all solvable. We punch way beyond our weight on the global stage and in relative terms, even our poorest are supported.

I joined the National Party because I believe in free enterprise, rewarding hard work and risk, and in personal responsibility. A strong economy gives us options to address challenges. We need to constantly remind ourselves that our wealth is created by what we export whether it is food, wine, manufactured product or intellectual property. There is no free lunch and as a nation, we have to earn it before we can spend it. Every effort should be made to support our export base.

Mr Speaker I have come here to make a difference in the following areas.

The home and the family.

The work done by the Rt Hon Sir John Key and Rt Hon Bill English’s last Government and outlined by the new Government in the speech from the throne is to be applauded. Both sides of this house want better for our families in health, housing, education for those that are most vulnerable.

We do however, have an ingrained level of poverty that is hard to fix. In my view, most of it stems from a lack of work and low incomes.

This leads to boredom, lack of motivation, abuse of alcohol and drugs and a slow unwinding from the productive society. A loving family can only do so much if there isn't enough money to cover the basics.

In Hastings, the most recent living example was the closure of the Whakatu and Tomoana Freezing works. Over 4000 people lost their jobs between 1986 and 1994. Generations of families worked in these plants and so began a painful adjustment in thousands of homes. Unemployment skyrocketed and people lost hope, it particularly disenfranchised our Maori communities.

Recently, for the first time in decades, I can now see the opportunity for young people to be actively employed in our region. The economy in Hawke’s Bay has never been so good. We cannot squander the opportunity and we need to back the next generation of people into the new work opportunities. The challenge is to get them the skills, work experience and take some risks on people. They are worth it.

Two recent phenomena are adding a new challenge to many homes. The proliferation of P and dramatic increase in reported domestic violence impact on thousands of women and children.

I am appalled that in Hawke’s Bay Police were called to over 6000 domestic violence cases last year. It is great that it is being reported but sobering in scale. We will not arrest our way out if this as it requires an attitudinal shift.

Equally, Methamphetamine is a scourge of society like I have not witnessed before. Its availability, widespread use, and mind-altering behaviour is fundamentally damaging families, homes, employment opportunities and leading to a massive spike in crime.

Mr Speaker, while we can have conversations around cannabis and its legalisation we need to take a much stronger stance on P. It is a drug on its own and its impact on health statistics is not even measured in many parts of New Zealand.

In simple terms I want it gone from our society.

Mr Speaker I am a strong believer in Climate Change and from international travel know that we are well placed to manage it affects. Our deep blue ocean surrounds will temper its impacts on New Zealand but not entirely. It is my simple view that the sooner we take action the better we support future generations of Kiwis.

We need to continue to take a leadership role acknowledging the significant challenge this brings to our transport, energy, production and farming sectors. I am confident and optimistic we can find a scientific solution to many of the challenges faced in these areas.

Mr Speaker I have watched the painful Ruataniwha Dam project come to its knees. While some members of this house will be pleased with this outcome I strongly caution members that doing nothing is not an option. Climate Change will have a profound impact on water distribution on the eastern edge of our nation and water storage of winter flows will be vital to support productions in areas such as the Canterbury, Heretaunga, and Ruataniwha Plains.

Unfortunately, many New Zealanders have formed the view that irrigation and water storage is a bad thing. In reality, the real concern is actually about nutrient pollution. I would encourage members of this house to take a long-term approach to water storage just as we have done with renewable energy and port and airport infrastructure. By all means, manage nutrient flows but water is a natural advantage for New Zealand.

Honourable members, long term cross party thinking is required if we are going to manage sea level rise, coastal erosion and harness our precious water resources.

I am a strong advocate for the environment but from a pragmatic perspective. I have watched people’s anxiety about the state of our environment increase. I have watched a largely urban electorate show less and less tolerance to our rural friends.

From a farming background, I know of very few farmers that do not want to pass their land onto the next generation in a better state than they found it. To do this not only requires environmental discipline but complex financial management. It is hard.

So while we are quick to point to cows wading in a lake in the South Island on a hot day, or shots of pollution in rivers, the bulk of urban population goes unnoticed. Our urban estuarine environments are being polluted by rubber from tyres, brake linings, and heavy metals. Technology to stop this is both expensive and complex and the costs have not yet been attributed to people's rates bills. The challenge is for urban and rural people alike.

Honourable members all these things can be solved but only by working together. The discourse around much of this saddens me. As a nation, we felled trees, drained swamps, built stop banks and imported grass and fertiliser to build an export-led economy. This wealth allowed us to build hospitals, roads, houses, and communities. In my view, we have gone too far in parts of our environment but we can fix this.

In closing Mr Speaker it is also important that this house is also aware that the good people of Tukituki will be looking for Government support a number of major capital projects.

1. A new main hospital block and Fallen Soldiers Memorial Hospital in Hastings at approximately $150 -200 million.
2. The 4 laning of the Hastings to Napier Expressway.
3. Assistance with Central Hawkes Bay 3 Water upgrades
4. Assessment and possible construction of a new school in Havelock North.

Mr Speaker I am incredibly grateful to the people of Tukituki for placing me in this chamber. I will represent them with all my knowledge, skill and humbleness.

Mr Speaker I have a faith and stand by my Christian values of honesty, tolerance, love, and care for fellow human beings. To this end I and completely accepting of diversity, race, gender, culture and sexual orientation.

I enter this Parliament comfortable in my own skin, confident in my ability to deliver for Tukituki and with an open mind to listen to others.

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa

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