Address in Reply
COLIN KING (National—Kaikoura)
: Congratulations, Madam Speaker, on your reappointment. I also offer my congratulations to Clem Simich on his appointment as Deputy Speaker.
New Zealanders live in a country of opportunity, a place where we can extend ourselves and reach exceptional goals. Seizing on opportunities has enabled me to reach this goal of making an address as the member for Kaikoura. As a farmer and a shearer, I have worked with my hands all my life, yet because I share the same political ideals as many of the people in the Kaikoura electorate, I have been elected as their representative. First and foremost I wish to thank the people of the Kaikoura electorate for their support. It is an honour to represent them and I intend to work hard to ensure that they enjoy a future full of reward for hard work and enterprise. I also take this opportunity to acknowledge the exceptional support and encouragement I have received from my wife, Lynnette.
It gives me much pleasure to acknowledge my new fellow members in this House of Representatives. It also gives me enormous pleasure and pride to acknowledge my leader, Dr Don Brash, as well as the President of the National Party, Judy Kirk. I wish to express my gratitude also to my campaign committee: the chairman, Allan Holdaway, who was also the chairman of the campaign team of the Hon Doug Kidd; the electorate chairman, Richard Harvey, a man with great enthusiasm and loyalty to the party; and I thank Jackie, Rosemary, and Norma for their skill, patience, and experience. To Barry Holdaway, a true blue who kick-started my campaign, I appreciate the support he has given me over the last 12 months, and I know that I will be able to call on his knowledge of Marlborough whenever I require it.
As Kaikoura’s member of Parliament I intend to use all my energy and know-how to promote the interests of an incredibly diverse electorate made up of three individual districts, each with its own council, goals, and aspirations. Each requires serious consideration; each is unique. It is an electorate that extends from the beautiful Marlborough Sounds, where mussels and salmon are farmed and where forestry flourishes, to Blenheim and its surrounding area with vineyards and wineries encircling the bustling township, south to Kaikōura with its ecotourism and farming, and on over the Hundalees to North Canterbury and the magnificent rolling countryside that typifies the rural New Zealand way of life.
As the youngest of five children, I was the only one who wanted to become a farmer, and as soon as I turned 15 I left school and began working full-time on the farm. I was determined to own my own farm one way or another, and I knew it was never going to be easy—it was going to be a hard road to hoe. By the time I was 19 I was shearing sheep out of North Canterbury and I had met my wife, Lynnette. We bought our first block of land in North Canterbury, before moving up to the King Country where we bought our own farm in 1985.
As the 1980s progressed, New Zealand entered a time when farm subsidies and supports were coming to an end. I returned to shearing in order to stay on the farm. The only thing between myself and my family being sold up and remaining viable was that practical skill. Having shorn sheep in order to get into farming, I needed to keep shearing more sheep to stay farming. It was that experience that, above all things, made me value the skills training that I received as a young man. Now I long for the day when our educationalists genuinely value technical, practical qualifications, respecting them in the same way as degree-based qualifications.
At this point it is appropriate to acknowledge the outstanding contribution to this nation’s pastoral sector of a small but passionate group of New Zealanders. Their efforts and their values have provided me with the highest standards to attain to. Firstly, I acknowledge Godfrey Bowen, who lifted the manual labour of shearing to an art form and left a lasting legacy known as shearer training. It remains the perfect industry model for skills training to follow. Secondly, I would like to acknowledge Laurie Keats and those other young farmers from the Wairarapa. Against all odds they staged the first Golden Shears in 1961, and it has been an outstanding success ever since. Today Laurie is patron of the Golden Shears and I wish the present committee all the very best as we lead up to the 2006 Golden Shears championship, which is to be held on the first Saturday in March next year.
By 1996 my wife and I were back in North Canterbury and I began conducting shearing training as the senior South Island shearing instructor, helping young people to realise their potential. In the year 2000, like Godfrey Bowen, I was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for my contribution to New Zealand shearing and the wool industry. My move into farming politics seemed a natural progression from being a farmer and helping to train the next generation of young farmers and shearers. Once I was elected to the Meat Board I got the bit between my teeth, moving on to become a director of Meat and Wool New Zealand, the Agriculture Industry Training Organisation, and the New Zealand Sheep Council, and also becoming a trustee of the Shear History Trust, which has recently opened a magnificent museum dedicated to the wool industry in Masterton. Having also chaired a branch of the National Party for 5 years, I find myself in the hot seat. I am proud to say that I have worked my way here using both my hands and my head, working on the land and sharing the concerns of ordinary people like myself.
This leads me to concerns over how people in the provinces are treated by those who live in cities and are remote from rural issues. North Canterbury is a beautiful, productive rural area. Unfortunately, people in cities who think they know best have stepped in and dug a big hole in this beautiful landscape so that they can fill it with the city’s rubbish. The Kate Valley landfill is a dismay to rural people. City folk seem totally unaware that country people care for their environment. To the city people I say: “Tidy up your backyard before you interfere in our domain.” The situation has created a great deal of upset, and I believe that it highlights the need for rural people to be supported in their bid to have a greater say in what happens in their domain.
Meanwhile, Kaikōura has its own set of concerns. The area is very, very typical of modern New Zealand. Its economy is made up of farming as well as tourism. The pastoral segment is sandwiched between the sea on one side and the magnificent, rugged Kaikōura Ranges on the other. Accommodating the requirements of a thriving tourism industry, ensuring the interaction with whales and dolphins remains beneficial for the creatures as well as for the tourism operators, and looking after the requirements of a modern, revitalised rural sector make for an interesting, challenging balancing act. Infrastructure is also an issue in this district, with growing concerns over the ability—or should I say the inability—of the State highway to cope with an increasing volume of traffic, especially large trucks. Infrastructure development, especially bridges and roading, is a major concern, most obviously highlighted by the region’s eagerness for work to begin on the new Awatere Bridge in 2006. I recognise that I must continue to politicise vigorously these concerns, seeking a fair share of the roading budget for the electorate.
Further north, and we are into Marlborough where we see a dramatic change of land use, generated by people with insight, an entrepreneurial streak, and enough conviction in the future viability of the wine industry to risk personal investment. These people are creating wealth for the province as well as for the nation. It is sad to see a lot of the wealth leaving the region in taxation. This drain on financial resources limits the region’s ability to continue to grow and create wealth. Once a particular sector feels it has become the milch cow for the Inland Revenue Department’s coffers, those investors begin to look elsewhere. It is in everybody’s best interests to ensure this does not happen.
I have reached the point now where we come to the northern most point of the Kaikoura electorate, and this is the Marlborough Sounds. It is the most beautiful part of our nation. It has 1,100 kilometres of seashore but it is dogged presently with a major problem, due to the perception that it is an extension of State Highway 1. Marlborough should not be maintaining and managing the required infrastructure at its own expense. Currently, Marlborough stumps up with a huge amount of money to maintain a road-rail link, and it is about time the Government stepped in and took responsibility for this. Alongside transport woes, biosecurity has become a big issue with the discovery of the sea squirt in our waters. The public expects a biosecurity system that can protect and, when necessary, eradicate incursions. I support proactive initiatives from any party that moves decisively towards such a system.
The continuation of health services in Marlborough is a major concern. We eagerly await the green light for the redevelopment of Wairau Public Hospital. At this time I must acknowledge the major contribution that the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust makes to the continuation of health services in Marlborough. I commend this private-public health model to all New Zealanders. Things of importance as well to people in Marlborough are those that provide services for the mental well-being and the emotional well-being of our community. Caring for the elderly is hugely important. It is appropriate that families are comfortable that their loved ones are kept safe in aged care. Too often, the carers who provide that care are given no support and no training. I have a strong personal view that I wish to champion with regard to that sector: we must reinstate the position of the enrolled nurse within the health system. That will provide a clear pathway for staff working in long-term care for the elderly. Such a pathway will provide better-quality care for the elderly and will also provide the staff with creditable and rewarding career outcomes.
I believe that we need to be goal setters and achievers. I promise my electorate that I will take the lead. I will set the example in setting and achieving goals within key areas of public interest—issues of national importance such as health, education, care of the elderly, fairer allocation of spending on infrastructure, reward for personal endeavour, and the care of the environment. Those issues will be addressed in the local context for the benefit of the whole electorate.
Finally, can I say that I am proud to be here as a member of this House and as an advocate for the people of the Kaikoura electorate. I am fuelled with high hopes and determination, and eager to ensure that the future generations can take advantage of the same opportunities that I personally have enjoyed. We must, as goal setters and achievers, find the correct balance between reward for enterprise and sustainability. I am speaking now in terms of the whole nation. Only then will New Zealand provide a first-class lifestyle for all in the years to come.
Dr ASHRAF CHOUDHARY (Labour)
: First, I pay tribute to the late Rod Donald, and I acknowledge his contribution to this Parliament and to New Zealand. Madam Speaker, I congratulate you on your reappointment as Speaker, and I also congratulate the Deputy Speaker and the Assistant Speakers on their appointments. Of course, I am delighted that the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, has been returned as Prime Minister for the third time. That is a great achievement for a woman Prime Minister. I congratulate all the new members of Parliament. I know that they have very high hopes—Kiwi dreams. I welcome their presence here today, and I look forward to their contribution to this Parliament and to New Zealand. I give a special welcome to Nathan Guy, who was my former student at Massey University. I welcome him. That goes to show that Massey University and its lecturers did a good job of training him well, which has brought him into Parliament.
As I said in my maiden speech 3 years ago, normally I do not like to attack the Opposition personally. That is my ethos while working here. But the recent election brought up a couple of things that have really hurt my people: my constituents, the ethnic communities of New Zealand. Two concepts were very commonly spoken of during the election campaign. They were “mainstream” and “probation for new migrants”. I personally felt very uncomfortable with that kind of talk, which brought a lot of unnecessary division to our society.
A few years ago—in 1997 or 1998—I took a fact-finding mission to the UK and Canada. I was the chair of the New Zealand Federation of Ethnic Councils at the time. I took a delegation from the ethnic communities of New Zealand to find out how other ethnic communities live in those two major countries. The UK and Canada are similar to us in many ways; they have a lot of migrant communities that have been established for a long time. When I went to the UK I met a lot of ethnic community leaders and people, and I talked to them about a number of issues. One of the questions I posed was how they felt about being, firstly, a British citizen. Invariably the answer was that they were very proud of being African, Indian, Pakistani, or whatever else their ethnicity was. Their UK citizenship always came second. I think that it is very important, particularly for Opposition members, to note from those fact-finding missions to other countries that I received that generic answer from all the ethnic people living in the UK whom I met with. A number of them had actually been born in the UK. They were not just migrants; they were born there.
From there we went over to Toronto, and we posed similar questions to people over there. I was amazed to hear their answers. Almost every immigrant and every person of ethnic background who was born in Canada said that he or she was very proud to be Canadian and then, secondly, to be African, Indian, Chinese, or whatever else he or she was. Everybody said the same sort of thing.
I came back shaking my head. I did not know why the two countries were so different. When I came back and presented my report to the then Minister of Internal Affairs—who was, I think, from the New Zealand First Party—I posed the question of what kind of country we want New Zealand to be. What kind of future do we want in New Zealand? I think for me, personally—and of course for my team that went there—the answer was clearly that the right model was the Canadian one, where everybody felt proud of being Canadian and it did not matter where they came from. A place like Toronto in Canada has probably more than 100 different nationalities—people from all over the world who have made Toronto their home. As we know from recent United Nations reports, Canada is considered to be one of the top countries to live in.
It was very sad, during the election campaign, to hear over and over again people trying to target mainstream New Zealanders, even during the leaders’ debate. I had never heard the definition of “mainstream New Zealanders” as being those people who are promoting the mainstream in New Zealand. I have been in this country for 30-odd years. My children were born here. We have, I think, contributed, to the extent that we can, to this country and I have always thought, while I was a teacher at university, that I was part of the mainstream. Unfortunately, this election made me and a lot of the ethnic community feel that we were not mainstream. Somebody was telling us that we were not mainstream. It was tragic, really tragic, that people felt that way. We know a person cannot be mainstream if part of the body, part of the machine, stops working. We cannot have peace and harmony in this country if part of the community is a group that does not feel it is part of the country—does not feel it is part of the mainstream. That is very sad.
Then we heard that new migrants would be put on probation for 4 years before they could apply for residency in this country. That is very sad, again. Who would like to come to this country if he or she feels he or she will be put on probation? Unfortunately—
Hon Tau Henare: You must be happy now you are in a Government with Winston.
Dr ASHRAF CHOUDHARY: Kia ora to the member—that is what cost National the election; it was the making of the defeat of the National Party at the election. I tell members that all the people I represent, when they heard of those things happening—and they were people whom I knew personally wanted to vote for the Opposition—came around and said to me: “Ashraf, with all these things happening around us, with the so-called mainstreaming and probation, we are not going to vote for that party.” What I saw was very sad. [Interruption]
Last night Tau Henare, the member who is interjecting, was invited to a party, but he did not turn up. There was a party going on next door, which was part of the celebrations of the people of this country. It was the celebration we had for the end of Ramadan, and I was delighted that the Leader of the Opposition, Dr Don Brash, was able to come to it, because I am making sure that the diversity of the people of this country is celebrated and that everybody feels part of this country. Two weeks ago we celebrated Diwali next door, and we were proud that those people felt real pride that they were part of New Zealand.
Before I conclude I would like to say that the election has unfortunately brought out some division in society. I think there is a lot for all of us to do, including Tau Henare, in order to do good for this country.
JOHN HAYES (National—Wairarapa)
: Tihei mauri ora! E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā hau e whā, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Ki a koutou ngā rangatira o tēnei te Whare Pāremata, e ōku hoa mahi, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.
- [Behold the sneeze of life! To the authorities, the languages, and the four winds, greetings, greetings, and greetings to you all. To representatives of this Parliament and to my colleagues as well, greetings to you and to all of us.]
I enter this House as a New Zealander who wants to celebrate the cultural diversity of all people in our country, and to walk with them into the future as a strong and united people. I congratulate you, Madam Speaker, on your election, and also your assistant, my colleague Clem Simich.
I am delighted to have won an electorate seat and to have been part of a great National Party success bringing 21 new members into this House. I congratulate each of them.
I pledge to do the very best I can for every constituent in the Wairarapa electorate, whether they voted for me or against me. Our electorate stretches well past Wairarapa into the Tararua District and beyond into Hawke’s Bay. Over many years it has contributed more to New Zealand’s prosperity, through the production of meat, wool, butterfat, and apples, than it has ever claimed for the development of its infrastructure. But our infrastructure needs improvement now because it is inadequate; it is constraining economic development.
My constituents need better incomes and lower taxes, not benefits. They know how to spend their money without the assistance of Government Ministers and well-meaning officials in Wellington.
The heartland’s potential cannot be realised with bad roads. It beggars belief that the road from Eketāhuna to Porangahau is still damaged from a storm in February 2004. Our electorate cannot grow if the road transport network is in poor condition and roads are unsafe. Their poor condition puts enormous costs on the manufacturing, farming, and forestry sectors, and that eats away at productivity and contributes to our low-wage economy. Roads are critical to the well-being of New Zealand. We need to stop repeating the politically correct mantras of the left, and to recognise that rural people have no option but to travel in their cars, and that businesses, farms, and forest industries must transport their products as efficiently as they can.
Access to and from my electorate is via the Rimutaka hill road, the Manawatū Gorge, Saddle Road hill, or the Pahiatua Track. Each road is winding with narrow bends and corners, and three of them are steep and unsuited to modern rigs. The time has come to put a road tunnel through the Rimutakas to connect Wellington and the Wairarapa. The benefits are huge: growth opportunities for Wairarapa, growth opportunities for Wellington, growth opportunities for New Zealand, and another route out of Wellington. It would mean better access to medical facilities at the new Wellington Hospital. There is no downside, and I will pursue this goal relentlessly.
Rural businesses cannot be expected to operate in the 21st century without access to First World roads giving access to international ports and airports. We need vastly improved communications, including broadband Internet. Constituents in the south of the electorate need better rail access with more carriages and properly maintained rail-track. Masterton is in urgent need of a First World sewage treatment system to stop pollution of the Ruamāhunga River. We can deliver these outcomes if we encourage real productivity—not the mind-numbing form-filling required of those running our schools, hospitals, and police. Expect me to stand against stupid policies, wasteful expenditure, and rules and regulations that my constituents, I say to Georgina Beyer, do not need and do not want.
Luckily, the laws of ageing do not apply to aspiration. I have always had the courage to pursue my dreams and those I have for my country. I am not going to stand by and watch this Government ruin Aotearoa for my children. I want to see a society that allows dreams to be fulfilled and not be oppressed by the tiresome rules, regulations, and excessive taxes of a nanny State.
I want to say a bit more about my background. I have knocked around—whether in a shearing gang, or as a steward on a Cook Strait ferry, or at King Fahad’s dinner table, or as a guest in a remote village in Papua New Guinea. I have been a union member, and I have been in business. I am a father and a husband, and I have been jolly lucky to engage in life from many perspectives.
Two years ago I resigned after a career in the Foreign Ministry. Bureaucracy was increasingly less of a challenge because of the emphasis required by this Government on process and risk aversion. I found it increasingly difficult to feel that taxpayers were getting value for money from this Government. The Foreign Ministry had provided an interesting way to spend a life, and, in earlier years, the opportunity to make a difference. But, increasingly, it seemed time to move on. I was uncomfortable with responses that the Labour-led Government made to developments in our wider neighbourhood—for example, in the Solomon Islands and in Fiji. For me, the year 2000 was a year of shame. We ignored several requests for help from Prime Minister Ulufa’alu to preserve democracy in his country. I did not believe in the decision to separate NZAID from the Foreign Ministry.
Too many people were leaving the heartland for better-paying jobs elsewhere. The direction in which our country was headed post the 1999 election was, in my view, wrong. I faced the choice: moan or get off my bum. I decided to use my experience at community level. I love my country, whether I am cooling off on a hot summer’s day in the Ruamāhunga River or battling a gale through Cook Strait, sitting at anchor in Tom Bowling Bay or scrambling across the Tararua peaks. I know it intimately and am dedicated to doing my best for it. I hope colleagues will find my mind open and my thinking rooted in common sense and pragmatism.
I did not get here, of course, on my own. It was a huge team effort. I thank Judith Kirk, Steven Joyce, and the many hundreds of friends and supporters who worked so hard for the National Party to recover the Wairarapa electorate and for my election to Parliament. There are so many people whose efforts have contributed that I hesitate to name any, except perhaps John McFadzean, my electorate chair, and my campaign chair, Bob Tosswill.
My mum, June, is listening to her radio. She demonstrates huge strength in the face of adversity, and I thank her for setting me up to cope with life’s challenges.
Think about being married to a partner who waltzes through the door and says: “OK, we’re off to live in New Delhi, Riyadh, Bahrain, Port Moresby, Tehran.” Or who then turns up and says: “I’m going to stand for Parliament.” Helen has been hugely staunch throughout our married life, including through times when she could have ended up carrying the can if my luck had run out. Thanks, too, to our children for making us proud and for their support. Em, your campaign advice and drafting skills were really appreciated. I thank Captain Povey down in the Chatham Islands tonight, and his crew—some are here—for keeping me and the
Maranui sailing and my feet on its deck.
I want to recognise Ian McLean, Don McKinnon, Robin Gray, Wyatt Creech, and the late John Falloon, who travelled this path before me and helped guide me here. The year-long campaign was a fascinating learning curve. I discovered that central government agencies have little or no understanding of the needs of the heartland. I discovered that one size does not fit all in a big electorate. In Dannevirke, the community wants an emergency unit added to the hospital. But in Dannevirke, this Government’s water quality policies will double community debt. In Alfredton, Labour’s preschool regulations will see the only facility close.
Colleagues, our generation will be judged by how well we look after our old people. This Government needs to know that throughout my electorate aged-care funding is inadequate, and especially so in Martinborough and Pahiatua.
It seems so simple to close a rural school, but closing a rural school rips the heart out of a community. The demise of our once fine Correspondence School is another example of failing infrastructure. There are serious funding problems for small schools. Their operational budgets are inadequate. It is unreasonable to demand water tests for schools on a monthly basis without providing the funding to meet their cost.
Our region’s education statistics make sobering reading, though not, I should say, for lack of effort by many teachers and principals who are passionate to see the best outcomes for their students. So how do we encourage excellence not just in sport and culture but also in literacy and maths? How do we entrench excellence as the cornerstone of our education system? The “one option only” State system, which Marian Hobbs so heartily endorsed on Tuesday, is a nonsense. We need to acknowledge diversity and provide inclusive funding for all students, whether home-schooled—as many are in my electorate—correspondence schooled, State schooled, or private schooled. Boarding facilities are essential in our rural electorate. Just because parents choose a private school does not mean the State should not contribute to a child’s education.
I have a message for public servants: “Please keep your feet on the ground.” Our country has the population of Sydney. Sydney does not support a Foreign Service operating in 50 countries with a thousand staff. Sydney does not run an aid programme costing $400 million annually. Nor does Sydney pay for an army, navy, or air force. My message to public servants is this: “Before you engage in activity, or propose it, on the back of taxpaying citizens, please look really carefully at the value being returned to your community.” My yardstick is a constituent in Kurīpuni who earns $10.50 an hour. Think about how difficult it is to meet the costs of accommodation and food, paying for holidays, and providing for retirement on this sort of income! Poor incomes set the framework for social problems and we need to address them.
I note the self-congratulation for securing Sir Ken Keith’s place on the world judicial stage. I ask what the millions of dollars of time and expense spent chasing this outcome will deliver to my constituent. It is one thing to secure influence in the World Trade Organization, as Mike Moore achieved under a National Government, but quite another to spend taxpayers’ resources on a position that will deliver nothing to them. That is all the more so when we could have spent that time and energy pursuing apple access in Australia. I have constituents who are about to lose their businesses because of the inactivity on this issue.
I will look hard at aid expenditure. Members should not expect me to sit silent while more than $28 million is given to Niue and its 1,400 people—my town has 2,000 people—without any obligation to overhaul its political system, which has 20 members of Parliament. I am all for helping Niue, but in doing so I am also thinking about a constituent who came to me this week who needs to find $90,000 because our Government will not meet the cost of a cancer drug she needs. I think too of the doors that I knocked on while campaigning, where I met older citizens wrapped in blankets on a cold day because they could not afford to pay for electricity, or others without sleep all night and in pain because they had been waiting 18 months for a hip operation.
I stand against the unrealistic expectations of the United Nations committee on decolonisation, which expects a community of 1,500 people subsisting on three atolls 270 miles from Samoa to have the cash to pay for their own Government. The decolonisation model being followed is the same as that for Niue. It damaged that society and was a failure. We must not repeat the same mistakes. And it is outrageous that 10,000 or so Tokelauans living in New Zealand are to be excluded from this vote.
I should report that my constituents do not like the MMP electoral system. I am proud to represent a party that has a policy to give a binding referendum on the question of MMP. I do not suggest that we go back to the first-past-the-post system, but it is time to look at other options. The result of our election shows that it was better to be a loser, to be rejected by one’s electorate, to hold on by a thread with a diminished party vote, then grasp the bauble of office. I hope the Government will note the huge support for National’s policies, or are we going to find that Labour’s “inclusiveness” extends only to the supporters who enabled Helen Clark to make Labour Party history?
No one pretends that our democracy is perfect or all-wise. But having lived in countries without it, I know that it is the best system for achieving peaceful solutions. My constituents are people who want a good education and a first-rate health system, and to live in a safe community where they can build a house, plant a tree, love, live side by side in dignity, be able to engage in free thought, and have a Government that operates on the basis of moral values. Only Parliament can ensure this, and that is why I want to be here.
Hon MITA RIRINUI (Minister of State)
: Otirā, kia ora huihui tātau! Kia ora huihui tātau kua tatū mai i raro i te tuanui o tēnei Whare. Ā, kei te Kaihautū, tēnā koe, ko koe rā te kaiārahi o ngā āhuatanga katoa e pā ana ki tēnei Whare. Otirā, i a au e tū nei e tika ana kia mihi ake ki tēnā o ā tātau rangatira o tēnā rōpū tōrangapū kua hinga atu, kua huri ki tua o te ārai ko Rod Donald tēnā. I kī ai ō tātau tūpuna, kua hinga rā te tōtara nui o te wao nui o Tāne. Ā, kei te haruru tonu te whenua mō ake, mō ake, mō ake tonu atu. Nō reira, e tika ana kia mihi ake ki a ia.
Me tērā o wā tātau rangatira i hinga atu i tērā marama. Me kī rā ko Ngāi Te Rangi, ko Ngāti Ranginui, ko Ngāti Pūkenga, ko Ngāti Tūwharetoa. Tēnā rā, kua hinga atu, kua ngaro atu ki tua o te ārai, taku whanaunga, taku rangatira, taku kaumātua a Tahu. He tangata e noho wahangū i roto i tēnei Whare, nō reira, me kī rā kua ngaro, kua ngaro atu. Nō reira, kai taku rangatira, haere, haere, haere kōrua, haere oti atu.
Māku anō e whakamārama taku kōrero.
Nō reira, e te Pirīmia, otirā ki ngā rangatira o ngā rōpū tōrangapū katoa, tēnā koutou. Koutou rā e tū tuatahi ai i roto i te Whare, kia kaha rā, otirā, kia tau te rangimārie. Nō reira, koia nei ngā mihi atu ki a koutou.
- [To us gathered here, greetings! Greetings to us assembled here under the roof of this House, and to you as well, Madam Speaker. You lead us in every aspect that relates to this House. Indeed, as I stand here, it is fitting that I should pay a tribute to that chief of ours of one of our political parties, Rod Donald, who has fallen and crossed over the divide. Our ancestors have a saying that goes like this: the mighty tōtara of the great forest of Tāne has fallen. The land resounds still, and will go on forever. It is appropriate, therefore, that I pay a tribute to him.
Indeed, I should also acknowledge that chief of ours who passed away last month. Let us say that it is a loss to Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Pūkenga, and Ngāti Tūwharetoa as well. Alas, he has fallen, he has been lost beyond the divide. Oh my relative, my chief, my kaumātua Tahu, I lament your passing. You sat quietly in this House and now you are lost from sight forever. So, my rangatira, go, farewell, depart. Farewell you two, on the journey of no return.
I will interpret my own address.
And so greetings to you, Prime Minister, indeed to representatives of all parties. To those of you standing for the first time in the House, be strong but be peaceful. These then are my acknowledgments to us.]
It is a pleasure to participate in this debate. First, Madam Speaker, I acknowledge your reappointment as Speaker of the House. I also acknowledge the appointment of your assistant, the Hon Clem Simich, somebody who is well respected by all parties in this House.
It is a good opportunity to reflect on a person who is no longer with us, and I am speaking about the co-leader of the Green Party Rod Donald. I would like to share with this House a little of my experience with him,. I recall that in 2002 I introduced to this House what was then, and still is, a most controversial piece of legislation. That legislation was titled the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Maori Constituency Empowering) Bill. It was vehemently opposed by Rod Donald, but I am talking here about the integrity of the man. I made it my business to speak to their caucus, and with my very persuasive manner I managed to win the majority in support. But Rod Donald had other views. In fact, he supported the single transferable vote (STV). I told Rod Donald that nowhere in the world had STV been proven to be beneficial in terms of indigenous representation, and I would not like to see, and I would not support, that type of approach being tested on Māori. But he still opposed it, and through the parliamentary process—and I am talking in the first instance about the first reading—vehemently opposed it. He took part in the select committee process and he vehemently opposed it. The bill came back to the House for its second reading, and he vehemently opposed it. Through the Committee stage, with the help of Mr Ron Mark, he vehemently opposed it, as he did with the third reading.
The interesting thing was that as soon as the votes were taken for the third reading, and the bill was passed, he was the first person to cross the floor to shake my hand and say congratulations, well done. Now, I am talking about the integrity of a person who is worth remembering. And I do remember him for that special experience I had with him.
But I also acknowledge a person who sat quietly in this House in the 6 years I have been here, who has also passed away, and that was the interpreter, who was my relation, my whanaunga, my kaumātua, Tahu Asher. Madam Speaker, you and I both attended his funeral in Taupō with his people of Ngāti Tūwharetoa. But Tahu Asher’s roots were predominantly with all the iwi of Tauranga Moana, and for weeks in this House, particularly led by the Opposition parties, there was debate about the Papamoa Hills. He sat in the House quietly and did not say a word. Unbeknown to members, Tahu Asher and his whānau at one time owned most of the Papamoa Hills. His family has gifted most of that land to the people of New Zealand and they wanted it to remain that way for public use. But there were the usual developers, as Bob Clarkson will know, in the area who had other plans for the area. Well, it did not happen, because Tahu Asher’s family still plays a major role in the retention of that area of land, the Papamoa Hills, for the use of all the people of Aotearoa. Tahu Asher was another man with integrity.
I congratulate all those members who have taken part in the Address in Reply debate and who have made their maiden speeches. In 2000 I had the honour of moving the motion for the Address in Reply debate and it is an incredible experience for a new member of Parliament. I can imagine how Shane Jones feels. I can imagine how the new members feel, having made their maiden speeches. I listened to what a lot of them had to say. There is no doubt that there is a diverse range of people in this House. I listened to people talk about their experience in the public service, people who come from farming backgrounds, shearers, lawyers, accountants, experts in finance, and experts in economic issues. I heard them talk about their visions for the future. I have also heard speeches from people who want to dwell on the past. I have also heard people who want to relive the Stone Age. As a Māori, I wish not to return to the Stone Age; however, I value the past and I look forward to the future.
I also acknowledge the presence in the House today of the Māori Party, and congratulate Te Ururoa Flavell on his success in the electorate of Waiariki. I say to him: “Te Ururoa, you won the battle, but I won the war.” If that was not the case, he would be over here and he knows that. [Interruption]
I want to say another thing about a person across the House who is continually interjecting. I heard a statement the other day by a previous colleague of mine, John Tamihere, about a member of this House. He described the member as a person who had more positions than the Kama Sutra. That sounds pretty kinky. I also know a person in this House who has been a member of more political parties than I care to name. I know he used to be a supporter of the Labour Party, but he was discovered by New Zealand First and then undiscovered. He formed his own party, Mauri Pacific. He had a couple of glasses of wine and that was the end of that. Now he has been reinvented. [Interruption] I do not know who found him, but I think that that person will regret it.
I have a lot of respect for this member, because when he was the Minister of Māori Affairs he did not carry his beliefs in his back pocket. He did carry himself quite well and I want to acknowledge him for that. But he came back as a member of the National Party, and I wonder whether I still respect him in the same way.
I want to acknowledge the Hon Parekura Horomia, the previous and current Minister of Māori Affairs. I also want to congratulate Nanaia Mahuta on her election to Cabinet. It is a very, very important role to play. She is the face and the voice not just of Tainui—and I am sure Tau Henare would also appreciate this—but also of the Kīngitanga. One has to acknowledge that.
I also want to congratulate the Hon Dover Samuels, who has returned to all his portfolios, and I want to congratulate the Hon Mahara Okeroa. We have had a long history together in the public service, and now we are sitting here on the same side of the House and living up to the expectations of our people. I also want to congratulate Shane Jones, who is considered to be a future leader of Māoridom. Goodness knows we need them; some of the ones we have now are a big disappointment. I also want to congratulate Dave Hereora, the chairman of the Māori Affairs Committee. I am sure that he will fulfil all the requirements of the position. Kia ora tātou.
NATHAN GUY (National)
: Congratulations, Madam Speaker, on your election. I welcome members of caucus, friends, colleagues, National Party leader, Don Brash, National Party president, Judy Kirk, and Geoff Thompson, the former member for Horowhenua.
I wish to acknowledge the late John Falloon. He had an influence on my entering the House, and he may never have known that. He judged me in a young farmers’ competition many, many years ago. That evening we were having a drink, and he said to me: “Young man, you’ve got political bones in your body.” I said: “Have I?”, and he said: “You have. Don’t ever forget that.” I have treasured those couple of words that he said to me. My condolences go out to Philippa and the family.
I am delighted to be in the House representing the National Party and the people of Kapiti and Horowhenua. I wish to thank my parents, Malcolm and Betty, who are here today, for their guidance and encouragement throughout my life. I wish to acknowledge my wife, Erica, who is here today. She is the proud mother of our son, Henry, who is turning 1 tomorrow. This is a journey that we are undertaking as a strong family unit. I thank them for their support. I say thank you to my brother, Christopher, and his wife. As Wellingtonians, they are just up the road, and that is great to know.
I take my hat off to the Hon Roger Sowry, who was 15 years in this House, representing Kapiti and Ōtaki. He is missed in caucus, and his support of me is valued. I know he is only a phone call away. I also wish to acknowledge the warmth of his wife, Shirley. Thank you. My electorate chairman, Ted Cobb, who could not be here today, has offered me decades of support with his wife, Jenny. My campaign chairman, Mike Gilbert, did a fantastic job with our team in the campaign this year. We are privileged with the result we got in Otaki; we started from 7,700-odd behind, and it is now the most marginal seat in the country. I say to Mike that I need him to hang tough for me; we have unfinished business.
There are many more people who I would love to mention here today. They are people who tirelessly gave their support to me and to the National Party: Ann Rogers, Peter Roe, Shelly Mitchell-Jenkins, Russell Griffiths, Lisa O’Neill, and Bruce and Elaine Little—all of Levin; Sue and Ridley Stockwell of Foxton; Antone Smith and John Williams of Shannon; Alan and Daphne Ayson of Waikanae; Murray Lobb, John Aburn, and Sam Simms of Paraparaumu; and last, but by no means least, Sue Reid, who has given me wonderful support here in Parliament.
The Otaki electorate combines the districts of Horowhenua and Kapiti, stretching from Paraparaumu to Tokomaru and containing a diverse mix of people and communities. I was born and bred there. I believe in our region’s exciting future, and I am ready to play my role in making a difference.
The Guy family has a proud history in politics. I am the fifth generation in local government politics. I am fortunate to have made the step up and to be representing the Guy family here today. We started with Duncan Guy, my great-great-grandfather, in the Napier Borough Council—probably before Panīa was even there. My father, Malcolm, and grandfather, Duncan, were both county chairmen in the Horowhenua district. Our family has worked for years and years for different sectors of our community, including the Māori people—mainly around the restoration of Lake Horowhenua. He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka. A choppy sea can be navigated. Persevere. The Guy family are listeners and leaders. We put people first. We prefer to lead by consensus, if we can. But we are prepared to make a stand and stick to it.
Members will have seen this. I have come out strong on Transmission Gully, as I believe we need an alternative route in and of Wellington. [Interruption] I advise the member for Wairarapa not to worry about the Rimutaka road right now—this is my turn. I was also strong on saving our rescue helicopter, launching a petition that collected 13,000 signatures. As a Horowhenua district councillor of three terms, I have enjoyed my experience in local government. I am ready for the challenge that lies ahead.
In the last few years I have seen the impacts of legislation passed by this House actually affecting the wallets of my ratepayers in Horowhenua. I am concerned about rural representation now that the Local Government Act allows councils to move away from voting by ward to district-wide voting. My concern with this is that rural communities are going to be neglected and forgotten by the power base of the urban voter. Rural representation needs to be fair and balanced. I say to members that it will not be if we head down that track.
My grandmother’s Nathan family also served in the community. My great-grandfather Fred Nathan was Mayor of Palmerston North. He was instrumental in lobbying the Government way, way back for an agriculture college in Palmerston North. This college is now called Massey University and I proudly spent 4 years there—as Ashraf Choudhary mentioned earlier. As leading figures in the dairy industry, the Nathan family produced Glaxo pharmaceutical products and milk powder. My great-grandfather appreciated the value of agricultural research and education, and so do I. Our farming business north of Levin has grown through three generations of Guys who have farmed the land through advances in technology, research, and development. We have been pioneers of peaty swamp land, which we have now developed into black gold—that is, of course, if the Manawatū River does not decide to smash its stopbank down like it did on our property in 2004 when we had 1,000 acres under water for a month. We travelled over our farm in a speedboat without hitting a fence.
I am a supporter of the upkeep of major rivers being subsidised by central government, not just by those people who live in the proximity of the stopbank, who have to pay most of the rates. Rivers are a national, public good. As river channels continue to clog up, the cost of raising stopbanks will be huge, and I fear New Zealand will end up like Holland, where the water always runs above houses. This is a big issue and one that I believe needs addressing. That flood tested our mettle, did it not, Dad? We are a family of survivors, and I will need survival instincts in here. I have been on the bottom of a few rucks when I have played NPC rugby, and I am prepared for the kicking I may get here. But I will always stand up and smile at my opposition.
We are in the business of people, grass, cows, and milk—yes, people first. I will need to escape from here from time to time, to get back to the green pastures of Kōpūtāroa near Levin, and my staff of seven will provide that necessary reality check with the grassroots. I need to thank my farm team for all that they have done for me, to enable me to get here today. They are probably milking the cows as we speak, and listening to the radio. Do not forget to hose the poo off the wall, fellas!
Today I question how much we value agriculture in this House. I believe we are losing our rural roots, our Kiwi number eight wire mentality, and our can-do attitude. Last weekend I judged an iconic rural event. It was calf and lamb day—agriculture day. The numbers of children and pets that are participating in that event are dwindling across the country. Those numbers continue to decline, as it is easier for kids to watch TV and play PlayStation than to look after their pets. I believe that we actually need to be fostering greater links in schools with urban and rural communities. More and more people are growing up in schools with no appreciation of rural life. People in the past may have had the opportunity as children of going out to their grandparents’ farm in the holidays. That seems to be dwindling, and I am concerned about the possible divide in this country.
Even the Speech from the Throne outlining the Government’s plans for the next 3 years paid little attention to the country’s producers. It is no wonder that National did so well in provincial New Zealand. Those in the agricultural sector will be sorely disappointed with the Government’s vision of our most productive sector, I believe. “The backbone of the New Zealand economy will continue to be our primary industries … with the objective of ensuring these sectors lead the way in improving productivity and in innovation.” That was it—a 45-minute speech, and agriculture gets mentioned in two sentences.
New Zealand has depended on the agriculture sector for the majority of its export earnings for more than a century, and we all know that it will depend on it for the next century—we can bank on that. Fonterra is New Zealand’s No. 1 company. It is a world leader in exports, and it is ranked among the top ten dairy companies in the world. We actually need to pay accolades to that company, not knock it around. We should spare a thought for the cow cockies who get up at 4 a.m. in the morning and work extremely hard to support their families and earn our export dollars. The Fonterra chairman, Henry van der Heyden, has said that the message still has not got across to urban New Zealand and the Government as to how important the pastoral industry is to this economy. I quote from Henry Van der Heyden: “If the pastoral economy declines the whole economy declines. The aim should be to increase funding for research and development, with the aim of lifting productivity rather than trying to start new industries.” I endorse those comments and will push hard for increased funding into pastoral research and development, and innovation.
During my first term I want to earn the respect of my colleagues and the trust of the National Party people in Kapiti and Horowhenua. In conclusion, I will endeavour to make the right decisions. My can-do attitude is the way that New Zealand used to be. We have not lost that attitude; we have just forgotten that it is OK to work hard and play hard. If my seat in the House is ever empty, people can rest assured that I will be working hard in the Otaki electorate. I am ready for the battle. Kia kaha, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.
ALLAN PEACHEY (National—Tamaki)
: I believe in freedom: in the freedom of all New Zealanders—regardless of where they were born, of how they were brought up, or of what sort of house or community they live in—to be the very best that they can be. So I come to this House, freely chosen by the people of Tamaki to represent them. To the people of Tamaki, I repeat the pledge given in this House by my distinguished predecessor the Rt Hon Sir Robert Muldoon, when he moved the Address in Reply debate as their newly elected member 44 years ago: “I intend to represent all the people of Tamaki, irrespective of whether they supported me at election time or not …”.
Freedom is always eroded under socialist rule. The Government has become more intrusive, more coercive, more meddlesome, and less effective. It absorbs too much of New Zealanders’ incomes and hampers our economy with bureaucracy and restrictive tax rates. Most of our nation’s problems have their cause right here, in Wellington. Our capital has become the seat of a nanny State system that functions for its own benefit, growing increasingly insensitive to the needs of the New Zealanders who pay the taxes.
The role of a Government is to provide a framework of security and civil order in which New Zealanders are free to plan and live their lives. Too much power in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats to plan the lives of individuals is a threat to freedom. New Zealanders are looking for a new generation of leaders who respect initiative, independence, enterprise, individualism, and freedom. Those leaders are on the Opposition side of the House.
It is for those reasons that I have left a most satisfying 32-year career in education to enter Parliament. I take a moment to reflect on the profession that I have just left, and—with your permission, Madam Speaker—to say to the schoolteachers that you do the most important paid work in New Zealand, because you can transform the lives of children. You determine who gets to read, to write, and to compute. For some of our children, you can decide who will enjoy success in life and who will not. Society does not give you the recognition and the respect that it should.
I am in Parliament because of the work of members of the National Party in Tamaki, work that is entirely voluntary. It is an effort made willingly by New Zealanders who want a better country, the freedom to run their businesses and to raise their families in the way that they choose, and the freedom to realise their aspirations and to be the best that they can be. So to men and women like Richard Yates, Andrew Hunt, Adirana Gunder, Murray McKinnon, Tony Hannifin, Matt Malaghan, Brian Grigg, Kit Parkinson, John de Latour, Dan Gardner, Sarah Meek, and Bronwen Coster, I give my respect and my thanks. While speaking of the Tamaki electorate, I would also like, on behalf of the people of Tamaki, to express appreciation to the Hon Clem Simich for his service and to wish him well with his new responsibility as Deputy Speaker of this House.
I understand New Zealanders and their aspirations, as do my colleagues on the Opposition side of the House, although the trade union functionaries and academics on the socialist side of the House do not. New Zealanders need leadership that encourages them to work hard and get ahead, and that ensures they can send their children to a school where those children will have teachers who will make them learn. They need leadership that gives them the freedom to be the best that they can be. New Zealanders are thirsting for leadership that looks to the future, not the past: leadership that recognises the opportunities of individual initiative and the dangers of big government and welfare dependency. They want leadership that reflects the call of President John F Kennedy: “Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”
It troubles me that so many members of this House persist in looking at the past instead of to the future. They think of people primarily as belonging to a class or interest group, and not as individuals. They seek to explain the problems of our nation in terms of socio-economic background or school decile rating, or of a class division that should not exist. In the 21st century knowledge and how that knowledge is used will determine the success of the individual and of the nation. There can be no place for a mean-spirited and socialist ideology that subordinates the individual to the ill-defined greater good of the State. History will shame those who seek to impose the crushing mediocrity of collectivism upon our communities.
The challenges of the Tamaki electorate are the challenges of the New Zealanders who live there: schooling, health, housing, and law and order. A significant problem is that this socialist Government is intensifying the density of State housing in Glen Innes still further, and, once again, it is being done without a supporting infrastructure. As a result of the Government cramming more and more State tenants into an area where there is a marked imbalance between private and State housing, it is inevitable that social dislocations will occur.
I also question policing in the Tamaki electorate. Today we have a magnificent police station in Glen Innes, and residents from Ōrākei to St Heliers and from Panmure to Mission Bay had great hopes that local policing would greatly improve their personal security and the security of their properties. That station cost $3.7 million, and some 50 sworn staff are based there. However, it is open only from 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., Monday to Friday. At a time when the residents of Tamaki most need the assurance of readily accessible policing, their police station is closed. That makes no sense to me. Something else makes no sense to me. I am told by the school principals of Tamaki that schools cannot get a police officer to visit when needed and principals cannot get to meet with Youth Aid officers. They tell me that there are no inquiry cars in Tamaki when they are most needed.
Too many people in our community feel that it is acceptable to break the law. The police approach to dealing with young people has become too tentative. Too many youngsters see policing as toothless and gutless. There is an urgent need for us to focus on tagging, vandal damage, and tinny houses. Youngsters who get away with tagging an elderly person’s fence go on to the next level of crime. If we stop that, we stop a lot of other crime. The sense of immunity that young people feel when committing crime at the behest of their elders must be shattered. The people of Tamaki, whether they live in Glen Innes, Ōrākei, Kohimārama, St Heliers, Mission Bay, St Johns, or Meadowbank, need a change in the way their communities are policed if their right to live in a stable community is to be protected.
In making these comments, I want to reassure every police officer who works in Tamaki that I am 100 percent behind his or her work. I know that it is the law, not the police officer, that allows antisocial youngsters to offend and reoffend with impunity. It is time that a sense of social responsibility was required from all of our community. And I know something else: it is the responsibility of this House to create an environment in which the police can do their job. It is the responsibility of this House to make law that upholds civil society instead of law that tells young people, when they misbehave, that the police cannot touch them. Too often it is the decent police officer, not the law-breaker, who is in trouble.
This nation cannot continue to stand still. As New Zealanders we want our nation to move forward, yet today the dark shadow of economic decay again hangs over New Zealand. Inflation is back, rising interest rates are back, productivity remains low, and wages are low by international standards. A nation must be growing and thriving in order to provide jobs and world-class health and education. New Zealand needs leadership that offers progress, not the strangulation of initiative. New Zealand needs leadership that offers truth instead of promises that go unkept behind the excuse of MMP, and leadership that offers hope and optimism, not defeatism and mean-spiritedness. New Zealand needs leaders who share the values that make ours a great way of life. It needs leadership that is independent of the forces that create our problems: this Labour Government, the Wellington bureaucracy, interest groups, trade unions, and the petty, self-serving arrangements arising from MMP, including the cynical grasp of the baubles of power by the leaders of minor parties.
For New Zealand to move forward, there is much that must change. So let us have leaders who share the New Zealand dream. Let us have leaders who cherish the ideals of freedom. Let us have leadership that stops the steady erosion of those institutions such as the family that form the foundations of our freedom and prosperity. Too many New Zealanders have grown up in families trapped by the State into welfare dependency and its accompanying bigotry of low expectations. No New Zealander can be truly free while he or she remains dependent on the welfare system for a livelihood. No New Zealander can be free as long as the Government keeps that person trapped in the cycle of poverty and dependence that arises from being stranded in communities where State-provided housing is poor, where criminals are free on the streets and good New Zealanders are prisoners in their homes, where the streets are crime-infested, and where too often the schools are struggling.
Failure to improve the performance of our schools is not just poor social policy; it is poor economic policy, as well. Ignorance and illiteracy breed failure in our social and economic systems. They cause delinquent behaviour, chronic welfare dependence, a loss of productive capability in the economy, and an increase in tax-supported welfare benefits. Let us have leaders who know there is no substitute for the freedom that New Zealand families get from owning their own homes, and leaders who know there is no substitute for the freedom gained from a schooling system that equips every individual with knowledge, and with the ability to read, write, and master mathematics.
I conclude with a personal reflection. The eldest of the four children that Jeanette, my wife of 30 years, and I have raised was a member of the 1997 Youth Parliament. My late father Noel was, at the time of his death in 1985, chief messenger to this House. Days before his death he was quoted in a newspaper article about his work.
He said of MPs: “I suppose I was like so many. You saw a group who were just sitting upon their backsides getting well paid for doing very little. But my eyes were opened very quickly when I saw the hours they put in, quite apart from being in the debating chamber, or select committees and doing electorate work, I found essentially they can’t have a private life.” Like my late father, and in the example of my mother, I believe in hard work, I believe in individual responsibility, and, above all else, I believe in freedom.
MARTIN GALLAGHER (Labour—Hamilton West)
: First of all, I wish to congratulate yourself on your appointment as Assistant Speaker, my good colleague Ross Robertson on filling the other Assistant Speaker role, and in particular our Speaker, Margaret Wilson, on her reappointment, and also Clem Simich on his appointment as Deputy Speaker.
I have much pleasure in rising to speak in the Address in Reply debate this afternoon. I want to take the opportunity to thank the people of Hamilton West for re-electing me to this Chamber, at a time when politically there was certainly a very hard-fought contest in the regions. It is an absolute privilege and an absolute pleasure to have the opportunity to again serve the electors of Hamilton West and, of course, the people of the Waikato.
First of all, I want to congratulate my Labour colleagues, and in particular Sue Moroney, Maryan Street, Darien Fenton, and Shane Jones on their maiden speeches. I know they will make a fantastic contribution to the political life of our country. In particular, I want to congratulate Sue Moroney, who of course comes from the Waikato. She has worked very hard on behalf of working people in my region, and I am absolutely delighted that she is now serving those working people in this Parliament. I know that she will make an excellent contribution in representing our region.
Also, I want particularly to acknowledge Maryan Street, who of course fought a very hard contest in the Taranaki - King Country electorate. I think it is about the safest National seat in the country. She did very well, and I know she will also make a great ongoing contribution to the Greater Waikato area. It is obvious that Darien Fenton and Shane Jones are passionate for working people, and they will make some wonderful contributions to this Parliament.
I think it is appropriate that I should take this opportunity to congratulate the new member of Parliament for Hamilton East, David Bennett. I did not necessarily agree with all of his speech, but I want to acknowledge that he shares with the rest of the Waikato MPs an absolute passion and pride in Hamilton. Certainly I agree with him in the sense that he acknowledged the fact that Hamilton as a population centre is the fourth main centre. It is the fourth-largest centre in terms of population, and certainly is taking its place as a metropolitan centre in this country.
I want particularly to thank Dr Brash, Mr Key, and Mr Brownlee for being present during his speech. I know that my Waikato colleague Lindsay Tisch will probably be saying a few words to the up to 20 National MPs who were absent during some very interesting maiden speeches. I know he will be ticking off one or two National MPs at the caucus meeting next Tuesday for their absence. That in no way detracts from the very good speech of David Bennett, but I will say that I do think that the turn-out of a number of National members during a number of maiden speeches could have been better. But let me praise Gerry Brownlee for being a good deputy leader in this case because at least he was present, unlike some of his front-bench colleagues.
I also take an opportunity to congratulate the Hon Nanaia Mahuta on her elevation to Cabinet. Nanaia Mahuta has made a great contribution to the Waikato, and I know that she will serve this country with distinction as a Cabinet Minister. I also acknowledge Dianne Yates, who, notwithstanding her losing the Hamilton East electorate, will continue to make a fine contribution to this Parliament.
I think it is opportune, at this time, using this Address in Reply debate, to personally thank my campaign team in Hamilton West for the incredibly hard and great work they did. Irrespective of the parties we support, we should in this Parliament honour those men and women who form the grassroots of political parties in this country—those who will never come to this Chamber but who believe in a cause and keep the wheels of democracy turning. I personally honour them, as I know that most others members of this House do. In particular, I acknowledge my electorate chairman, Angus McConnell. I acknowledge my co - campaign chairs, Ray Foster and Gillian Gladstone, for their fantastic contribution, work, and effort.
I also take the opportunity to acknowledge a group of young Australians who were active members of the Australian Labor Party. This symbolises the great trans-Tasman relationship, whereby Labor and Liberal people will come and help their colleagues and counterparts across the Tasman. I pay tribute to Jamie Driscoll, James Pawluk, Christian Seibert, Eileisha Tucker, Jessica Tucker, and Jarrod Panther. They are fine young people who I know will make a great contribution to Australia. I thank them so much, along with the rest of my campaign team, for their excellent contribution to the campaign. Certainly, I think it is great that we see that level of trans-Tasman cooperation at all levels. In my view, it is a statement of the depth of the relationship between our two countries. I know that Liberal members too come across the Tasman to participate in the National Party campaign.
Gerry Brownlee: It must be terribly exciting for them.
MARTIN GALLAGHER: If members of the Opposition will briefly stop their heckling, I will do what I think is appropriate and very gracious, and that is to give praise to the National Party candidate for Hamilton West, Mr Tim Macindoe. During this part of my Address in Reply contribution, National members might like to listen with a degree of decorum and silence when I honour and praise him for his work and his conscientious endeavour as a candidate for Hamilton West. Interestingly enough, I do not think that a cross word passed between us. I say to him that I respect his integrity. I certainly know that he worked very hard as a candidate for Hamilton West, and was understandably disappointed in terms of the final outcome.
A number of Hamilton West National Party activists ran a campaign saying that people should vote for Mr Macindoe as the electorate representative, because Mr Gallagher would get in on the list. They said that Hamilton could get two MPs. In my view, the only way that the National Party can guarantee an extra National MP for Hamilton City is to ensure that next time, Mr Macindoe, if he chooses to stand again, is given a better ranking than No. 62 on the list. I do not know what he has to do. Maybe, coming from me, he does not want this kind of promotion—it may not help his chances—but I say that National members should give him his due. He took the fight to Winston Peters in Tauranga 3 years ago. He has served National before as a candidate. I think that National can do better for Mr Macindoe than to place him at No. 62 on the list. I hope that in future, if he decides to stand again, National will acknowledge his hard work in the Waikato, and the contribution he can make to the National caucus. I just make that observation.
I also take this opportunity to say how proud I am—and David Bennett in his speech acknowledged this—of being part of the Waikato team. Of course, there are political issues that divide us, but we are intensely proud to represent our excellent region. I take the opportunity also to acknowledge that we have a very, very fine city council, which is under the able leadership of Mayor Michael Redman, who is proving to be an excellent mayor. I also acknowledge in particular the mayor of the Waikato District Council, Peter Harris, and the mayor of the Waipā District Council, Alan Livingston, for their excellent leadership as part of the Waikato regional mayoral team. I acknowledge the role of Environment Waikato, as well.
I look forward to working with those democratically elected bodies, along with other community groups, to promote and continue to push for the Waikato. I think we have some excellent news, and this Government has done some excellent things for the Waikato. I am so proud and pleased with the Speech from the Throne, which outlined a great and wonderful programme over the next 3 years for this country.
Hon Tau Henare: Name one.
MARTIN GALLAGHER: We will spend $1.75 billion on Waikato roading over the next 10 years. That is one, and I am proud. That member’s colleagues sat on their backsides in the 1990s, but we are doing. We are not talking; we are doing. I am proud of that.
Finally, I also take this opportunity, if I may, to acknowledge the passing of a very great and wonderful New Zealander, Rod Donald. It was my privilege to attend, along with many in this House, his funeral in Christchurch. I just place on record my sympathy to his family. What a fine family they are. I also welcome back Nandor Tanczos. He is another Waikato-based member of Parliament. I feel for Nandor Tanczos for the circumstances and the pain he went through in terms of returning to this House, but I welcome him back.
I am proud to be back here. It is wonderful to be back here. I will continue to work really hard for the people of the Waikato.
LINDSAY TISCH (Senior Whip—National)
: I seek leave that should my colleague Kate Wilkinson’s maiden speech go slightly beyond 6 p.m., she is able to complete her speech without interruption.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): Leave is sought for that purpose. Is there any objection? There is not.
KATE WILKINSON (National)
: Madam Speaker, I too would like to congratulate you and the Deputy Speaker on your respective elections. To be constantly fair, impartial, and unbiased is no easy task, and I am confident that you should do this well.
I remember well my first trip to Parliament. I was a very young country kid from Chertsey Primary School—one of those very special rural schools offering a very special education. The school was the centre of the community, a wonderful place of learning. It encouraged us to learn and develop. It encouraged us to succeed and, if we failed, to try again and fail better, or even succeed the second time. Chertsey school is now on this Government’s death row for rural schools, awaiting execution. I remember standing at the Chertsey Railway Station waiting for the train to take us to Lyttelton. Chertsey Railway Station is now also gone. I remember taking the overnight ferry from Lyttelton to Wellington. The ferry no longer sails. And I remember my first visit to Parliament. Thankfully, at least Parliament still remains.
As I look back through maiden speeches relating to the Waimakariri electorate—albeit somewhat changed due to boundary adjustments—I realise that so much has changed yet so little. Roading, water, and infrastructure are still issues; little has changed there. But as Derek Quigley, the member of Parliament for
Rangiora, said in his own maiden speech many, many years ago: “One of the most serious of these [problems] in my electorate is the loss of people from the country areas and their movement to the cities.” Now the opposite is true. More people are moving from the towns to the lifestyles of the country. The farms are becoming fewer and the number of people greater.
So much change, yet so little change. The rail has gone, the railway station has gone, the ferry has gone—the school should definitely not go—but what must not go is our sense of aspiration and confidence and pride as New Zealanders, our freedom of choice, our common sense, our self-responsibility and accountability, our insistence that mediocrity is OK but excellence is better, and our belief in the dignity of work and the incentives of hard work. Those beliefs must stay and be reinforced and practised every day of every week of every month of every year.
So I now enter Parliament, armed with a firearms licence, a heavy trade and trailer licence, plus an LLB and a licence to practise law, trusting that my own arsenal of experience, qualifications, and ability is sufficient to make the difference that I am sure every one of us aspires to do.
With your indulgence, Madam Speaker, I would like to have a brief interlude to thank the wonderful people of Waimakariri, my campaign team, my army of supporters and friends, and, most important, the National Party under the great leadership of Don Brash, for getting me here, and for giving me such an exciting yet humbling privilege of serving not only Waimakariri, not only our farmers and our primary producers, who are so vital to our country’s well-being and so often overlooked, but also all New Zealanders. Without all that support I would not be here.
I am a fifth-generation New Zealander, hugely patriotic, passionate about New Zealand, and a hugely parochial Cantabrian. I am also fortunate to have UK patriality. I am proud of my ties with the UK, with the history and the traditions of the UK—ties that we as a country still have, and from which we can still benefit. I am not, at this stage, ready to cut those ties. I do not believe in change for the sake of change. We do not throw out the dirty bathwater unless we have clean bathwater to replace it. One day we may be ready for that change. But when we are truly ready we will all know, and we should take care that it is the right decision at the right time with the right mandate.
The mandate was not there to cut our ties with the Privy Council. We cannot let that happen again. Political expediency—personal leanings—must take second place to what is in the best interests for New Zealand and for New Zealanders. That is the only and ultimate test. New Zealanders are too important to be used as pawns in the chess game of politics.
We all have to believe that New Zealand is the best country in the world, and it really is the best country in the world, which is why we must avidly protect our borders, and allow entry to those who have that belief and that passion, and not to those who want to change our Kiwi spirit. We must jealously guard that Kiwi spirit, and evolve that spirit—let it change but not enforce change—enhance that spirit but not destroy that spirit.
So what is it about our Kiwi spirit of which we must be so protective and so proud? Our forefathers have fought for us, have sacrificed for us, and have given us what we must now defend and protect for our own ascendants. We owe them. We have a duty. We have an obligation and in return for that obligation and duty we are granted the rights and privileges to be New Zealanders and to live in the best country in the world.
We should not be bludgers, and I am ashamed that some regard us as bludgers. That is not part of our Kiwi spirit. We must play our part in the global democracy, even though playing that part may be extremely difficult. We are not so small that, as a country, we cannot make a difference and an impact. But we are small and isolated enough that we cannot afford to shun our friends and our allies. Our size and our isolation are our strength. They are also our weakness.
As New Zealanders we are proud of our number eight wire innovation and ingenuity, our do-it-yourself enthusiasm. We are proud of our Hamilton jets, our Gallagher electric fencing, and much more. Yet we restrict, we hobble, and we over-regulate our DIYers so that, for example, my Waimakariri farmers cannot erect a hayshed, even though they may have done so for 50 years or so without causing any harm or any problems. My Waimakariri farmers cannot now erect their own hayshed without having it done, or constantly supervised, by a qualified certifier. That saddens me. The proponents of such restrictive, hobbling, and unnecessary legislation sadden me for showing such a lack of understanding of our Kiwi spirit. Rather than being the clarion call for DIYers, it may, indeed, be their death knell.
We have even heard it said that “the New Zealand pastime of inventing things with number eight wire and a four-by-two is a little romance that needs to be put to bed”. Well, I do not think so.
We have laws attempting to legislate for common sense. Lolly scrambles are banned. Pipe band marches are stopped. Can members imagine Sir Edmund Hillary trying to navigate through our current occupational safety and health and other laws when attempting and achieving the conquest of Mount Everest—and would the Department of Conservation have actually unlocked the gates? Legislating for common sense is not sensible. We must ensure our laws do not incarcerate and destroy our Kiwi spirit.
In the words of Justice Willie Young: “It is easy and trite to say that difficult cases make bad law; but it is perhaps also right to remember that bad law produces difficult cases.” We are responsible for ensuring that we do not make bad law. We have laws of strict liability, yet paradoxically we have other laws that encourage the abdication of our responsibility and liability. One has only to look at our occupational safety and health in employment laws to stumble across many an example of that. We have laws intended to reduce or eliminate some mischief, yet the consequences of those laws, whether intended or unintended, are often worse than the mischief itself. The cure is worse than the disease.
The proposed public access laws are a classic example of that. When 98 percent of farmers allow access over their land if asked, why do we even need to contemplate a new law? Where is the mischief? And that is totally aside from the very important issue of the sanctity of property rights. The confiscation of private property rights without compensation is plain and simple State theft, and we must not allow that to happen.
We have laws for a lawless minority that are often feckless against such lawless minority, but at a huge cost and disadvantage to our lawful majority. We have laws that some think do not apply to them. It has been said that “the people become more subservient to justice when they see the author of a law obeying it himself”—or herself. No one is above the law in New Zealand. It is not a subjective assessment to decide which laws to obey and which laws to ignore. Obeying our laws is a necessity; it is not a luxury. Whether it is the Official Information Act, the Summary Offences Act, the Crimes Act, or any other Act, they are there for us all to obey. No one is above the law.
Democracy, and indeed justice, must be above politics. We cannot allow either democracy or justice to become merely a political expedient. It is an offence to pervert the course of justice. It is also offensive to subvert the course of democracy. We are charged with upholding both, and we must do that.
It is an absolute privilege to be part of our parliamentary process. It is also a huge responsibility—a responsibility that I take very seriously. I hope that when it comes to my valedictory speech, I will be able to say I exercised that responsibility well, with integrity, with enthusiasm, with soul, with spirit, and with my arsenal still intact.
I would like to finish with a quote from Abraham Lincoln. It has been used before, and no doubt will be used again. But I think it says it all: “You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot build character and courage by taking away men’s initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could, and should, do for themselves.”