Quotes of the Year

December 31, 2019

You can volunteer to take life seriously but it is gonna get you, they are going to win over you, it is harsh, but you can either break down and complain about how miserable your life is or have a go at it and survive. I think that is the basis of it all. – Billy Connolly

Working for Families is a policy that satisfies few on the Left or the Right. Compromises rarely do. They are imperfect by their nature. They are necessary, however, because people are imperfect and always will be. If things were otherwise, we wouldn’t need government at all. – Liam Hehir

The greatest threats to our native wildlife – and our rural economy – may yet be science denial and conspiracy belief. – Dave Hansford

Those elected to positions of authority need to understand that the human condition rarely engages in deceit and halftruths as much as when rehearsing or inventing the science behind their personal environmental concerns.Gerrard Eckhoff

When our total emissions account for 0.17 per cent of total global emissions, leadership isn’t being first, fast and famous. Leadership is taking what we already do well, food production, and doing it even better over time by investing in innovation and technology.  Todd Muller

People have a choice with how they respond to adversity in their life. Creating a positive attitude gives you more control over your circumstances. By staying positive, it means you can make the most out of your life no matter what gets thrown in your direction. – Emma Barker

Being part of a baying mob, for that is what much of our modern commentary has been reduced to, isn’t brave and nor is it radical.

Standing up to them is. – Damien Grant

It is stupid and dangerous. But, we are on private property and we’re just having a bit of fun.

No-one has got too hurt yet … we are not stupid about it. – Patrick Ens

The first challenge is that urban New Zealand does not understand the extent to which our national wealth depends on the two pillars of dairy and tourism.  Yes, there are other important industries such as kiwifruit and wine, and yes, forestry, lamb and beef are also very important. But rightly or wrongly, our population has been growing rapidly, and the export economy also has to keep growing. There is a need for some big pillars.

Somehow, we have to create the exports to pay for all of the machinery, the computers, the electronics, the planes, the cars, the fuel and the pharmaceuticals on which we all depend. . . Keith Woodford

Believe passionately enough in something and you’ll be shouting at the younger generation well into your eighties. – AnnaJones

We realise that Pharmac has a budget, but there seems to be a never ending open budget for welfare. New Zealand surely isn’t so broke that we have to pick and choose who we let live and who we let die. But that is currently where we find ourselves.Allyson Lock

The problem with numbers is that they don’t fudge.They’re definite. Exact. Numbers don’t lie. But people lie.People fudge. People lie about numbers. People fudge numbers. But numbers are the truth.  . .

I think there’s a political lesson here for this government. Watch the numbers or your number’s up. – Andrew Dickens

My take away from all this is that referendums do have a place, even binding ones. But it is best to call on these when the issues are clear and easily understood by everyone in the community. Brexit or not might have seemed clear at the time, driven as it was mainly by fears of uncontrollable immigration across the Channel. But it was not of this genre. As Oscar Wilde remarks: ‘The truth is rarely pure and never simple’. In such cases, perhaps best leave it to parliaments. That way we’ll know who to blame it if all goes wrong.Professor Roger Bowden

All kinds of wild ideas that are untested and are demonstrably bad for them and demonstrably wrong – these ideas can spread like wildfire so long as they are emotionally appealing. Social media and other innovations have cut the lines that previously would have tethered the balloon to Earth, and the balloon has taken off. – Jonathon Haidt

Pettiness is on the increase, too, in the constant calling-out of sometimes-casual language that was never intended to offend or harass, and even may have been written or uttered with well-meaning intent. – Joanne Black

Why then did I leave Greenpeace after 15 years in the leadership? When Greenpeace began we had a strong humanitarian orientation, to save civilization from destruction by all-out nuclear war. Over the years the “peace” in Greenpeace was gradually lost and my organization, along with much of the environmental movement, drifted into a belief that humans are the enemies of the earth. I believe in a humanitarian environmentalism because we are part of nature, not separate from it. The first principle of ecology is that we are all part of the same ecosystem, as Barbara Ward put it, “One human family on spaceship Earth”, and to preach otherwise teaches that the world would be better off without us. Patrick Moore

There were rituals, prayer every night, communal eating, some adults staying at home looking after children while others went to work.

Looking back, it was one of the sweetest memories for me. It was a very secure, loving home with lots of uncles and aunts, and no shortage of cousins to play with. There wasn’t a lot of money, but an abundance of aspiration. – Agnes Loheni

We need to be 90 per cent women. Not 46 per cent women. – Jill Emberson  (speaking on the inequity of funding research for ovarian cancer)

These messages of envy and hopelessness—messages that lead to an insidious victim mentality and that are perpetuated by those who say they care more and are genuinely concerned for the communities I grew up in—lead to an outcome that is infinitely worse than any hard bigot or racist could ever hope to achieve. To take hopes and dreams away from a child through good intentions conflicts with the messages of aspiration, resilience, and compassion that I and my Pasefika community were exposed to as we grew up. That soft bigotry of low expectation is the road to hell laid brick by brick with good intentions.

Hope, resilience, compassion—these are the only messages that have any chance of succeeding and changing our course toward a better New Zealand. These values are not exclusive to my migrant parents; they are New Zealand’s values. They fit hand-in-glove with our Kiwi belief in hard work, enterprise, and personal responsibility. Agnes Loheni

Politics is an odd kind of game that sometimes requires a ruthless self-interest and at others altruistic self-sacrifice. It’s a patchwork of ideals and deals, virtue and vice, gamble and calculation. – Tim  Watkin

Small business would pay the costs, large business would spend thousands avoiding the costs and tax advisors and valuers would have a field day. AndrewHoggard

 There are limits, even to the immodesty of the self-proclaimed First Citizen of the Provinces, the wandering bard with the bag of pūtea, bestowing largesse on the forgotten hamlets of Aotearoa. – Guyon Espiner

Once we recover from our grief, do we slide back into being passively a “good” country? To simply “not be racist” when what is required of us is to be outspoken “anti-racists”? I don’t want thoughts and prayers. What I want to see is bold leadership, standing up and uniting in this message: that hate will not be allowed to take root and triumph here. And to then act on that message. I need us all to be courageous and really look inwards at the fears, judgment and complacence we may have allowed into our hearts, and look outward to demand a change in the conversation. And to be that change. Saziah Bashir

Words matter because when we isolate groups of people who don’t make up the majority of those we see, we turn them into “others”. And when we turn them into others we dehumanise them and make it easier to commit harm against them. – David Cormack

Being right wing to me means believing in free market ideals, open immigration where skills are needed, free trade and access to international markets, as little government intervention as possible and having the best people in your country to help your country become better. It means more opportunity for hard working immigrants. Quite often we ARE those bloody immigrants!

It’s not about closed borders. It’s not about denying people opportunity to build their businesses if they’re hard working and wish to contribute to a country. It’s not about wounding and killing people in places of prayer or on the streets. – Cactus Kate

New Zealand can never succeed, on any measure, by cowering behind a wall. Not just our economic destiny but our national identity depends on us maintaining the sense of adventure that brought us all here and extending manaakitanga to those who want to join us, visit us, do business with us, or take a holiday or study here.

Those of us who believe in these things should no longer reject the term neo-liberal, so often used as abuse, but reclaim it. What is the alternative: to be old conservatives? The political right needs to get back on track. – Matthew Hooton

We are broken-hearted, but we are not broken. We are alive, we are together, we are determined to not let anyone divide us.

To the families of the victims your loved ones did not die in vain, their blood has watered the seeds of hope. – Gamal Fouda

We like to tell our food story and we have terms like market research and consumer behaviour that help us as we pick what to produce and how. Put simply, what we’re really doing is asking what does that person want and how can we make them happy? We’re seeking understanding. We’re listening to people we don’t know as much about. We could use more of that in our everyday lives right now. – Bryan Gibson

Wise politicians pick no unnecessary fights that focus people on differences instead of on values they share.StephenFranks

The way I’ve looked at married life is this – You make your bed, you lay in it.

“You get married and you think everything is a long tar-sealed road that is beautiful.

“And after a few years, you get a few potholes. And if you don’t fix the potholes, they get bigger.

“You have to keep fixing them. – Jack van Zanten

NZ First feels like the stumbling, drunk boyfriend that the cool girl brought to the party. She’s too good for him, and everyone can suddenly see it.  – Heather du Plessis-Allan:

 It was never clear to me whether anyone was doing anything useful or just pretending to do stuff to feel better about ourselves. How do you actually make the world a better place? – Danyl Mclauchlan

Social media and the changed nature of other media have obscured the capacity and need for real conversation. Ideas are not contested civilly, rather people are attacked, falsehoods multiply. Our evolution as social animals required mechanisms for group consensus and group rules. Democracy is a manifestation of that social dynamic and works best when publics are informed not manipulated,and can have a civil contest of worldviews, values and ideas informed by robust evidence. –  Sir Peter Gluckman

I worry there is a drive to sanitise life. When the end gets difficult, we are saying, right, that’s enough, let’s cut it short. There are alternatives. There are other choices to ameliorate suffering of all types. Assisted death is not necessary.

How we die says a lot about our society. Having held a few hands of the dying, I know that those moments are sacred. I didn’t swear the oath of first doing no harm, to then participate in an activity with multiple harmful effects to both the living and the dying.  – Hinemoa Elder

Reasoned communication is the way across the divide of difference. It requires leaving the past and its animosities behind. But this is very difficult. The past gives us a sense of security and belonging. The institutions of modern society which unite us don’t have the same pulling power as the rallying cries of the isms. No wonder ethnic nationalisms, nativisms, and populisms with their ‘us not you’ and ‘our culture not yours’ are winning out. Unexamined belief is more satisfying than reason – and its easier.  – Elizabeth Rata 

People’s wellbeing, even their lives, are at risk while well-meaning people make statements based on inappropriate and flawed research. – Jacqueline Rowarth

Only around 20 per cent of the population lives in the countryside, and decisions are being made about them and for them by predominantly urban people, many of whom have little understanding or empathy for their rural neighbours. – Dr Margaret Brown

Such is the far left’s belief in their own moral superiority that, while they point the finger of blame at others with alacrity, they appear to lack the self-awareness and self-reflection that would lead them to at least wonder whether they themselves are complicit in contributing to a divisive and hateful society. – Juliet Moses

I want to turn to our Māori people, because I believe it is time to switch your political allegiance back to yourself, to your own tino rakatirataka. The political tribalism of saying we only vote for the party is not doing us any favours. You must demand on every politician that walks across your marae ātea that they show you the proof of their commitment to working hard for you before you give them your vote, because talk is cheap, whānau. Actions, ringa raupā—the callused hands—those are what spoke loudly to our conservative tīpuna, and it is time to demand politicians show you their calloused hands, their ringa raupā, as evidence of what they have achieved for you. – Nuk Korako

However, the real danger to meddling in our sound and proven speech laws is that institutions, agencies and interest groups with their own social and political agendas will likely have a disproportionate influence that is not in the national interest. There will be some whose sole intent is to undermine the free speech we already enjoy. – Joss Miller 

It’s easy to take it for granted that we are mostly led by politicians who are motivated to do their best by us; one look around the world today shows us how easily it could be different.

Politics in New Zealand has undoubtedly become more tribal since I started but beneath the rhetoric the differences are really not so great.

I leave here firmly believing there are no good guys or bad guys; the various parties may have different solutions to the same problems but fundamentally there is the same will to solve the problems. – Tracy Watkins

I realised two things that day. I would never, ever, let anyone I cared for enter a life of politics – and that politicians bleed, just like the rest of us. In the years since, I’ve tried to remember the power of words to hurt. – Tracy Watkins

My clear thrust in politics has been around … actually what we’ve just seen in Australia, what ScoMo called the ‘quiet Australians’, they’re here in New Zealand too. All they really want from a government is a strong economy, good public services and for us to get out of the way, and let them get on with their families, and that’s what drives me – Simon Bridges

I don’t think we do anyone any favours by pretending it’s easy, because it isn’t. I don’t think you can have everything all at once. – Linda Clark

It is the private sector that will do the heavy lifting. Nothing will happen unless and until the owners of companies take the decision to invest more, hire more people, and take a risk on economic opportunitySteven Joyce

The more you pay people, the fewer people you can afford to pay. Unless of course you sell more, and you only sell more if people feel good about buying. – Mike Hosking

I am living the way my forefathers lived, who left the footprint for me. It was good enough for my people, for my parents, my grandparents, who bought the house in 1887 – it is a tribute to them. – Margaret Gallagher

If I won the lottery, I would still live here. I am a rural rooted spinster. – Margaret Gallagher

Preachers of tolerance and inclusion must no longer seek to silence and condemn those with opinions that make them uncomfortable but are nevertheless opinions based on another person’s own beliefs and values systems. While we need to stay vigilant and investigate people who post offensive material online, we need to be equally concerned about any move in this House to restrict freedom of speech, a move which has all too often been used by those in power to silence those with differing opinions or ideas. This doctrine, peddled by those who pretend to be progressive, asserts that the mere expression of ideas itself is a limitation on the rights of others. This is preposterous. We must always run the risk of being offended in the effort to afford each citizen their freedom of expression, their freedom to be wrong, and, yes, unfortunately, even nasty. We must let the punishment of those with hateful messages be their own undoing.  Paulo Garcia

 It’s a blunt instrument that doesn’t always work, but parents love and understand their children. They are uniquely placed to make them see sense and not rush off with some jezebel or fall pregnant to some ageing lothario.

Welfare is a merino-covered sledge hammer that smashes these traditional bonds. Teenagers are freed from the financial constraints of their family and can turn to a new parent, the state, who will not judge, lecture, or express disappointment in their life decisions. . .

When you design a system that disenfranchises parents and undermines families you are rewarded with a cohort of lost children and will, in a few short years, find yourself taking babies off teenagers who are unfit to be parents. Damien Grant

Pasture-based New Zealand dairy production is the most carbon efficient dairy farming system in the world. In fact, you can ship a glass of New Zealand milk to the next most efficient country (Ireland) and drink it there and it still has a lower carbon footprint than an equivalent Irish glass of milk. – Nathan Penny

Kids are kids. PARENTING has changed. SOCIETY has changed. The kids are just the innocent victims of that. Parents are working crazy hours, consumed by their devices, leaving kids in unstable parenting/co-parenting situations, terrible media influences … and we are going to give the excuse that the KIDS have changed? What did we expect them to do? Kids behave in undesirable ways in the environment they feel safest.

They test the water in the environment that they know their mistakes and behaviours will be treated with kindness and compassion. For those “well-behaved” kids – they’re throwing normal kid tantrums at home because it’s safe. The kids flipping tables at school? They don’t have a safe place at home. Our classrooms are the first place they’ve ever heard ‘no’, been given boundaries, shown love through respect. – Jessica Gentry

In a nation like ours, immigration is a kind of oxygen, each fresh wave reenergizing the body as a whole. As a society, when we offer immigrants the gift of opportunity, we receive in return vital fuel for our shared future. – L. Rafael Reif

We should be very wary of underplaying the progress and successes we’ve already made as food producers and custodians of the land.  If we pay too much attention to the critics, it saps motivation and puts more stress on the shoulders of farmers and their families. – Katie Milne

The opportunities in the agri-food sector are endless, even if you live in the city. You just have to be passionate – James Robertson

The choice really is clear. Do we want to be remembered in the future for being the generation that overreacted and spent a fortune feeling good about ourselves but doing very little, subsidising inefficient solar panels and promising slight carbon cuts — or do we want to be remembered for fundamentally helping to fix both climate and all the other challenges facing the world? – Bjorn Lomborg

My starting point for this with public health is very simple, I do not plan to be the moral police, and will not tell people how to live their lives, but I intend to help people get information that forms the basis for making choices. – Sylvi Listhaug

Pastoral agriculture is a pretty simple and slick system. We turn a natural resource that we can’t eat (grass) into something we can eat (meat and milk) with grazing animals. The land we (the world) use to do this is, by and large, not suitable for the production of sugar or the other 40 ingredients needed for cultured meat. Or, for the ingredients required in the less-terrifying, but no-less-processed plant-based “meats”.

Some people can’t stand the thought of an animal being killed for their food. So be it. Let them eat cake… or felafel. But, when it comes to meat, there is no substitute for the simplicity and safety of the real deal. – Nicola Dennis

But at times like this the public more than ever look to the media for impartial coverage. Is it too much to expect that journalists set aside their personal views and concentrate instead on giving people the information they need to properly weigh the conflicting arguments and form their own conclusions? –Karl du Fresne

Governments who are put in place by voters to help those that have been missing out enact policies that ensure those people keep missing out.

And those same Governments store up economic imbalances that bring real risks for our collective future security. All for the sake of short-term policies that appear popular in the here and now. – Steven Joyce

The whole idea of tearing the heart out of a nation’s economy to reduce methane emissions from livestock is an unbelievable display of scientific, technological and economic ignorance. It goes far beyond simply not knowing or being mistaken.  It is profound ignorance compounded by understanding so little it is not even possible to recognise one’s own ignorance which is then made malignant by thinking it must be imposed on everyone else for their own good. – Walter Starck

Everyone that’s being fired and publicly embarrassed about a misdemeanor and being called a Nazi — there are real Nazis who are getting away with it. This must be amazing for real racists to be out there, and going, “It’s all right, everyone’s a racist now, this is a great smokescreen, we’ve got people out there calling people who aren’t Nazis, Nazis. . . . They don’t know the real Nazis from people who said the  wrong thing once!” . . . It plays into the hands of the genuinely bad people. – Ricky Gervais

I get the equality movement – it’s valid and important. But I also know the dangers, firsthand, that mindset can play if we encourage everyone to see themselves as the same, instead of embrace the differences God intentionally created us with.

I have been more successful as a professional, a wife and a friend once I learned to embrace myself as different, not equal.  – Kate Lambert

The creation of wealth should not be confused with the creation of money and the amount of money in circulation at any given point. – Henry Armstrong

For me, it was South Island farmer Sean Portegys who articulated best what so many farmers are feeling – he told me that in a drought, you don’t despair because it’s always going to rain. In a snowstorm, the sun will come out eventually. When prices are bad, and he said they’d just gone through a rough patch a few years ago, it’s always going to come right eventually. The problem is now, he said, the situation that farmers are facing is a lack of hope. He says he just doesn’t see a future in what he’s doing. And if farmers don’t see a future, then the future of New Zealand Inc looks bleak. –  Kerre McIvor

The problem is, if you propose a set of rules that are unachievable you don’t get community buy-in and if you don’t get community buy-in, you don’t actually make any progress,- David Clark

There are no perfect human societies or human systems or human beings.  But that shouldn’t stop us celebrating our past, our heritage, our culture –  the things that, by opening to the world, made this country, for all its faults and failings and relative economic decline in recent decades, one of the more prosperous and safe countries on earth. – Michael Reddell

The productivity commission says – in a much nicer way than this – that most councillors are a bunch of useless numpties with no understanding of governance of finance, and so really aren’t capable of handling the big stuff. – Tina Nixon

If you cannot even state an opponent’s position in order to illustrate the benefit of arguing with that opponent, then free speech is over. Because no dialogue then is possible. Professor Jim Flynn

Freedom of speech is important because it is a contest of ideas.

When you forbid certain ideas, the only way you can be effective is by being more powerful. So it becomes a contest of strength. If you shut ’em up, not only does that make it a matter of `might makes right’, you haven’t proved that your views are more defensible, you’ve just proved that you are stronger. Further, that must be the worst formula for finding truth that’s ever been invented. It’s either a contest of ideas or a contest of strength. Professor Jim Flynn

 A free society cannot allow social media giants to silence the voices of the people. And a free people must never, ever be enlisted in the cause of silencing, coercing, cancelling or blacklisting their own neighbours. Professor Jim Flynn

People have to grow up. Being educated is getting used to hearing ideas that upset you. – Professor Jim Flynn

I see precautionary investment against climate change as equivalent in political decision-making, to expenditure on defence. Both require spending for highly uncertain benefit. No one can know whether we genuinely have an enemy who will attack. No one can know if our precautions will be effective. Hopefully the investment will be untested. We can’t know until afterwards whether it is wasted. Yet it is rational to try, because the catastrophe could be so overwhelming if the risk matures without resilience or mitigation precautions.

But such investment remains foolish if it is unlikely reduce CO2 levels materially, or to improve New Zealand’s ability to cope if change happens nevertheless. Given NZ’s inability to affect the first, an insurance investment should focus primarily on resilience. The Zero Carbon Bill does neither. So my government is wasting the elite political consensus that ‘something must be done”. Instead they’re conspicuously trumpeting their “belief” in climate change, and their intentions to act. If the law is enforced it will likely increase emissions overseas, and not influence foreign governments to mitigate the risk, who can affect the outcome. – Stephen Franks

The brute facts of New Zealand history suggest that if it’s blame Maori and Pakeha are looking for, then there’s plenty to go around. Rather than apportion guilt, would it not be wiser to accept that the Pakeha of 2019 are not – and never will be – “Europeans”? Just as contemporary Maori are not – and can never be again – the Maori who inhabited these islands before Cook’s arrival. Would it not, therefore, be wiser to accept, finally, that both peoples are victims of historical forces too vast for blame, too permanent for guilt?Chris Trotter

As I have gone through my horrible journey, I have realised why ovarian cancer support doesn’t gain the kind of traction that breast cancer does. It is because we are small in number, and we die really quickly, so we don’t have the capacity to build up an army of advocates. With breast cancer, there is a lot more women who get it, therefore they can build and build their army of advocates and they are able to raise more money, get more research, and get better outcomes, so they live longer. We need the support of breast cancer survivors. We need them to link arms with us to grow our army for ovarian cancer, which will then help us get more funding fairness. Funding leads to research, and research leads to longer lives. – Jill  Emberson

This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re politically woke, and all that stuff — you should get over that quickly. The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting with may love their kids and share certain things with you. – Barack Obama

I can’t make people not afraid of black people. But maybe if I show up every day as a human, a good human, maybe that work will pick away at the scabs of your discrimination. –Michelle Obama

In South Africa, pressure is not having a job or if one of your close relatives is murdered. In South Africa there are a lot of problems, which is pressure. – Rassie Erasmus

We shouldn’t subsidise the smelter.  Rather we should stop forcing Southlanders to subsidise Aucklanders.  We should also revert to a more gradual water plan that gives farmers time to adapt, and we should let Southland retain control of SIT.  Then we should get out of the way and let the sensible practical Southlanders get on with making a success of their province. – Steven Joyce

All of us face trials and tribulations. No-one always wins, in the end we all lose. We lose friends, marriages, money, get anxious, our bodies break down, our minds go, and then we die. Isn’t life great?

But actually, isn’t living also a lot of highs? Births, marriages, beaches, trips abroad, friends, sporting victories, pets, pay increases, leaves sprouting in spring, fish and chips on a sunny day. – Kevin Norquay

You’ve got to come up with some kind of middle ground where you do reasonable things to mitigate the risk and try at the same time to lift people out of poverty and make them more resilient. We shouldn’t be forced to choose between lifting people out of poverty and doing something for the climate. Kerry Emanuel

Knowledge in long-term memory is not a nice-to-have. Rather, it is an integral part of mental processing without which our working memories (which can hold only about four items at a time) become quickly overloaded. – Briar Lipson

None of it convinces me from my position that there is no “I” in meat but if you look closely you will find the words me and eat.  That should be good enough to convince tree huggers and hippies that they should be switching back to natural. – Cactus Kate

It [managerialism] undermines the ability of state services to help citizens, but empowers it to infantilise us.

We’re discouraged from acting on our own, and forced to bow to experts. Yet systems and fancy talk prevent experts taking substantive action for fear of career, safety, or arbitrary consequences for taking the “wrong” action. In these environments, there are no career prospects for heroes.  Mark Blackham

It used to be that people joined the Labour Party to make their lives better off. Now they join to make someone else’s life better off. – Josie Pagani

If all the new Tory voters wanted was more from the state and more lecturing on how to live their lives, they would have voted for Labour. These voters want a hand up, not a handout. If you give people things and make them reliant upon the state then next time they will vote for those who will give them more things. – Matthew Lesh

. . .It matters because the still-cherished principles of secular humanism, which continue to inspire the multitude of moral arbiters who police social media, come with provenance papers tracing them all the way back to a peculiar collection of Jews and Gentiles living and writing in the Roman Empire of 2,000 years ago. Ordinary human-beings who gathered to hear and repeat the words of a carpenter’s son: the Galilean rabbi, Yeshua Ben-Joseph. Words that still constitute the core of the what remains the world’s largest religious faith –  Christianity.

It matters, also, because, to paraphrase Robert Harris, writing in his latest, terrifying, novel The Second Sleep: when morality loses its power, power loses its morality. Chris Trotter

Whatever the reasons, it saddens me that the spiritual dimension of Christmas has withered as it has. Because the nativity story literally marks the beginning of a faith which, whatever the woke folk may say, is a core piece of our heritage and the foundation of our morals, manners and laws. For that reason alone, it has a place on Christmas DayJim Hopkins


A tale of two caucuses

June 26, 2019

National leader Simon Bridges announced a minor reshuffle of portfolios yesterday:

“Paul Goldsmith will become the spokesperson for Finance and Infrastructure following today’s announcement from Amy Adams that she will leave at the next election.

“Paul is the natural choice for the Finance role. He has done an outstanding job holding the Government to account in the Economic and Regional Development portfolio.

Shane Jones will be very happy with this change, though he shouldn’t relax, the two taking over Paul’s portfolios will be just as effective at holding the Minister to account.

“Regional and Economic Development will now be split across two spokespeople. Todd McClay will look after Economic Development, while Chris Bishop will take over the Regional Development and Transport portfolios.

“Chris has done a brilliant job as spokesperson for Police and deserves to take on more responsibility.

“Jo Hayes has been appointed the spokesperson for Māori Development and Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations following the departure of Nuk Korako. Jo is a passionate advocate for Māori.

“Gerry Brownlee will pick up the Foreign Affairs portfolio, Brett Hudson will take on the Police portfolio and Tim Macindoe will become the Shadow Attorney-General.

“Other changes include Michael Woodhouse as the Associate Finance spokesperson, Maggie Barry taking over the Disability Issues portfolio, Stuart Smith will be the spokesperson for Immigration, Todd Muller will be the spokesperson for Forestry, Nicola Willis will take on the Youth portfolio and our newest MP Paulo Garcia will become the Associate Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank both Amy Adams and Alastair Scott for their valuable contributions to the National Party and Parliament. Amy was a brilliant Minister across a range of portfolios. The changes she made to domestic violence laws as Justice Minister have made families in New Zealand safer. Amy has excelled as our Finance spokesperson and has been an outstanding member for Selwyn.

“Alastair should be proud of the work he has done to prevent drug driving, and for the way he has represented and advocated for the people of Wairarapa. I’m pleased they will be here for the rest of the term to help us form policies for the 2020 election.

“National is the largest and most effective Opposition this country has ever seen. I’m proud to lead such a talented and hardworking team.” 

There are no surprises there and there will probably be none in tomorrow’s reshuffle of Cabinet but there is a major difference between the two caucuses – there’s plenty of talent in National’s with many MPs capable of becoming Ministers.

By contrast Labour’s is a shallow pool and, as Barry Soper noted:

. . .The reshuffle will be minor because most of those who should be in Cabinet are already there. And the amount of time Ardern’s taken getting around to shuffling the chairs just goes to show how hard leadership is for a person who clearly finds it hard to be hard. . . 

Ardern doesn’t have much to choose from and, if past form is a guide, will be reluctant to demote the poorest performers.


Nuk Korako’s valedictory statement

May 2, 2019

Nuk Korako delivered his valedictory statement yesterday:

[Authorised Te Reo text to be inserted by the Hansard Office.]

[Authorised translation to be inserted by the Hansard Office.]

—the old Nat is set to one side so the new Nat can go fishing. This famous whakataukī is what drives me here today. It can have various meanings that can only be determined by the context in which it is used. So today the whakataukī means that I am setting aside my member-of-parliamentary net so that I can pick up a new one for the next stage of my working life. I proudly serve the National Party in the Port Hills electorate, and, although retiring from this House, I want to emphasise that I am departing from the National Party caucus and not the National Party.

Ours is a party with deep roots in Māori political representation, from Timi Kara, Sir James Carroll; Sir Māui Pōmare; Sir Apirana Ngata; Te Rangi Hīroa, Sir Peter Buck; and my uncle Ben Couch. That I have been able to make a modest contribution standing down the queue in their shadow is a matter of great personal satisfaction to me. It has been an extraordinary journey serving my constituents as well as trying to make a difference for Māori and the people of New Zealand. I know that the service that has nurtured me as an MP will accompany me to my next

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journey on my

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waka.

I do aspire to help change the New Zealand building industry to affect social outcomes, with much of it being led by Māori. I am well pleased with what we have achieved as a party alongside my parliamentary colleagues. The continuation approach we took as a Government on Treaty settlements stands testament to our desire to do what is right for the country.

I turn now to what has been often a challenge to me in this place: our Treaty of Waitangi relationship as a Treaty partner. I have never wavered in my view that the Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document that establishes New Zealand as the country that it is today. It is a take that is an inherent part of my Tuahiwi, Rāpaki, Ngāi Tahu heritage. I am clear that arguments between lawyers as to the constitutional foundation of New Zealand are nothing more than a continuing and incessant distraction from what is a very, very straightforward arrangement.

That arrangement was that Māori would move over on the paepae and partner up with the Crown to establish a unique constitutional partnership that would recognise the Crown as Government of our lands and that Iwi Māori would continue to manage our own affairs as an independent iwi nation, exercising their tino rakatirataka. That is what the Māori version of the Treaty guaranteed.

The Treaty reflected the instructions of Lord Normanby to Captain William Hobson, and I pay tribute to the honourable nature of the Crown’s intent in that regard. The subsequent betrayal of that intent by the colonial settler State is what we have all been engaged in repairing in our generation. In that task, this House and the National Party in particular have put ourselves on the right side of our nation’s history.

I take considerable personal satisfaction in having had the privilege of chairing the Māori Affairs Committee in my first term. That has of course exposed me to the magnitude of Treaty breaches that the Crown is responsible for. We have achieved much in righting the wrongs of the past, and I cannot acknowledge enough my former colleague the Hon Christopher Finlayson in that respect. Equally, all the members of the Māori Affairs Committee I have worked with on both sides of the House, I mihi to you and acknowledge you all. Thank you to the Hon Nanaia Mahuta, who gave me so much support in my early days as chair, and I wish my whanaunga Rino Tirikatene well in the current role. This highlights the convention of the Māori Affairs Committee of members parking their political affiliations at the door and working together for what is best for our people. I took great pride in chairing a select committee that shepherded through 16 Treaty settlement bills, along with these unique pieces of legislation: the Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Bill, the New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill, the Parihaka Reconciliation Bill, and the Te Reo Māori bill.

Finally, on Māori affairs I was particularly proud of the work we undertook with Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill. Had this bill been passed, National would have been responsible for the greatest unleashing of Māori economic potential the country has ever seen. While I am disappointed that we could not see this through along with the Māori Party, I remain committed to work with those who have the courage to take up this fundamental take for Māori achievement.

I urge the party to continue the reforms when we return to Government, because New Zealand’s future prosperity will depend on unlocking that huge asset of Māori whenua for its development and utilisation in partnership with Māori on their own land. Too often, all of us in this House have been distracted by the short-term gain that dog-whistle politics can appear to give us, and I am not here to list the hara of any party in that respect, but I can say that the rise of the Māori Party was a direct response to those dog-whistle politics, and Māori remain an electoral giant that, if poked enough, will rise up against those that continue to ignore us or take us for granted. I warn you now what is coming. There needs to be discussions on wai Māori and water ownership and the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary. I also acknowledge the National Party board president, Peter Goodfellow, and I’ll return back to that.

But before talking about the board, I want to turn to our Māori people, because I believe it is time to switch your political allegiance back to yourself, to your own tino rakatirataka. The political tribalism of saying we only vote for the party is not doing us any favours. You must demand on every politician that walks across your marae ātea that they show you the proof of their commitment to working hard for you before you give them your vote, because talk is cheap, whānau. Actions, ringa raupā—the callused hands—those are what spoke loudly to our conservative tīpuna, and it is time to demand politicians show you their calloused hands, their ringa raupā, as evidence of what they have achieved for you. I have devoted considerable time and effort into establishing and supporting Kahurangi National, our Māori partnership rōpū within the National Party. There are a number of rōpū around the country, and they are indeed growing rapidly. These rōpū will ensure that my colleagues’ hands are indeed calloused when they stand in front of Māori seeking our vote.

So it is with pride and love for a party that has done so much for me that I sign off. I’ve been spoilt with the leadership that has guided us through. I was privileged to be led by Sir John Key and Sir Bill English, and our current leadership has shown that it stands firmly and strong during the most trying of circumstances. I mihi to Simon and Paula and wish you both success as our parliamentary leaders, and I thank you for your understanding and supporting my decision to stand down early in this parliamentary term. My thanks, also, to your chief of staff, Jamie Gray,

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—a blue tie, a treasure.

And now we come back to the National Party board and another acknowledgement not only to Peter but also to my regional chair, Roger Bridge. You are a dignified and measured group of people. However, I look forward to seeing a Treaty partner face on the board who is there of merit and also of ability, and I’m pleased to say there are a number of such people already in our party.

There are a group of rakatira that I now want to turn to. Firstly, to Kura Moeahu of Te Atiawa and our tumu whakarae, thank you for guiding me on your kawa and the tautoko you have given me in this Whare Mīere. I want to remember the late Lewis Moeau and Te Rangi McGarvey—moe mai rā e ngā rakatira. Your steady hands and trusted guidance to all Prime Ministers, Ministers, and members of Parliament stand as testament to the mana and dignity you displayed to all. Equally, to the former rakatira kaikorero kaiwhakahaere mo tatou I recognise as well: retired Tā John Clarke, Tā Wira Gardiner, and the present guiding hands of Rauru Kirikiri, Piri Sciascia, and to also acknowledge Wīremu Haunui from the Te Reo Māori translation services.

I turn now to my Kai Tahu whanaunga and mentor Tā Tīpene and Lady Sandra O’Regan. What a humbling privilege to have been the recipient of all your wisdom and guidance while I have been in this place.

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With Parliament, I have been well served by an extraordinary group who are often the forgotten part of the parliamentary process. Our Parliamentary Service staff, in all the various roles you play—you indeed make our life here easier. We have a saying in Māori:

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—without those who do the unheralded work, we that stand at the front cannot perform our role. I thank you all most sincerely. I want to acknowledge my former executive assistant Reno McCallister and present staff in Linda Blair, Ann Toomey, Nick Stevens, and my whanaunga Amos Ward Kamo. You have been my most trusted and reliable kaimahi. Thank you all for the mahi and tautoko that you have given me.

My mihi nui and acknowledgement to the Port Hills electorate now, that I have given everything for. Past chairs in John Charlton and Robyn Struthers and present chair Robbie Bendon and your team—an incredible group of people. The volunteers have stood loyally by my side, actively managed the campaigns, and become part of my family. To my campaign managers in Cathryn Lancaster and Vicki Rule, thank you for the valuable guidance you gave me.

So it is time for me to return home, and it is my home of Ōtautahi Christchurch that I want to whakamana. We are not defined by the horror of the mosque attacks. That is not us. The extraordinary outpouring of support for a part of our Muslim community that was attacked was not exceptional; rather, it was normal—that hundreds of thousands of us poured out to display our sorrow and unity with each other is precisely who we are in Christchurch. We are defined by the multitude of individuals that make up our wonderful city, and that is not better illustrated than by my local BP service station on Hoon Hay Road, where my day often started early and I was always greeted by the night shift of Kiwi, Nepalese, Pakistani, Indian, Sri Lankan, and Mauritian. Thank you to Ben Houston and Billy Gineel for your great political insights that you shared with me.

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We sit as one family in Christchurch irrespective of where our heritage might once have come from. That is who we are.

To my kaumātua pou whakatō, Auntie Pat Anglam, Auntie Wiki Pēwhairangi, and Auntie Aroha Reriti-Crofts, my tuahiwi kaumātua. My Uncle Doug Couch, Auntie Sally Rakena, and Auntie Melissa Couch, my Rāpaki kaumātua. Alec Graham, my 98-year-old Young Nat. Rosalie Sterritt, Margaret Draper, and 95-year-old Rose Dakin, and Auntie Topsy Rule, my Redcliffs wāhine toa. These precious kaumātua have been my compass and support, and many link me back to the memories and values of my tīpuna.

I now turn to my own pieces of pounamu, my immediate family. As always, my rock, my wife, Chris, and our four sons, Maximillian, Michael, Nicholas, and James, who are proud and capable young men. The National Party and being an MP rightly demands its pound of flesh, and that pound is taken as much from a family as it is from the MPs themselves. I’m looking forward to being a more present father and also husband. To the uri of Te Here Tutehounuku and Hene Elizabeth Manahira Korako, my mum and dad, my sisters and their tamariki, my nieces and nephews—you are our future, and we are so very proud of you all.

Finally, lifelong friends are so important in life, and I acknowledge two of my own who I have known for over 40 years. One passed away a few days ago, John Patrick Taylor—JT, or Ox. He was a rock for me, the toughest man I ever knew, both mentally and physically. He fought a debilitating illness for a number of years, and I want to mihi to his wife Diane, daughter Jenna, and son Conor—aroha nui. My other best friend, the funniest man I know, has just had a huge cancer operation and is now convalescing at home. John Alexander Graham—kia kaha e hoa.

E Te Māngai o Te Whare Pāremata, e ngā mema o Te Whare Pāremata,

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Thank you to all members of Parliament from across the House. To my class of 2014, our year group, and also my National Party caucus, to those retired MPs or former MPs that are here tonight, to those in the gallery that have come to support me, and to those watching on Parliamentary TV,

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—let the dead be the dead and the living be the living. Nō reira, huri noa i Te Whare nei, ā, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, e mihi, e mihi, e mihi ki a koutou katoa. [Applause]

Waiata

E mihi atu ki a koutou.

The video is here.


Nuk Korako resigns

April 15, 2019

National MP Nuk Korako has announced his resignation .

“It’s been a privilege and a pleasure to work for our Port Hills community. We have shared some trying times together. The earthquakes, the Port Hills fires and the recent terror attack. I leave knowing our community has grown together and become stronger.

“Over the past five years I have been privileged to be the Chair of the National Party Māori Caucus, a member of the Māori Affairs, and Local Government and Environment Select Committees. Since 2017 it has also been a privilege to be the Party’s Spokesperson for Māori Development and Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations.

“I’m especially proud to have chaired the Māori Affairs Select Committee – shepherding 16 Treaty Settlements to a conclusion. The Parihaka settlement is a particularly poignant one for me. Te Whiti and the Taranaki men that were wrongfully imprisoned were looked after by my Rāpaki hapū and so our ties run deep.

Korako ran against long-time Labour MP Ruth Dyson for the Port Hills electorate in 2014 and 2017 with the National’s Party vote rising considerably. He has also been a vital member of National’s Māori caucus, providing leadership and guidance to the wider Kahurangi National group which he set up with a new regional structure.

“I wanted to retire now so a new National Party candidate could be selected and have time to get to know the issues and people of Port Hills well ahead of the election. I expect National to do well in the 2020 race for Port Hills and I will be there to support the new candidate when they are selected,” Korako says. . . “

I enjoyed Nuk’s contribution when I was National’s Southern regional chair.

He is a list MP which means his resignation won’t trigger a by-election.

The next person on National’s list is Paulo Garcia.


Finlayson tribute to Groser

February 11, 2016

Minister for Treaty Negotiations Chris Finlayson is one of parliament’s best debaters.

In the debate on the Prime Minister’s statement he pays tribute to Trade Negotiations Minister Tim Groser who left without delivering a valedictory statement.

Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations): It is great to be back after a glorious summer in this magnificent capital city. I had a great summer. There is nothing more enjoyable than charging up Mount Kawakawa to look out on this city—the best views in Wellington .

Unlike the previous speaker, Jacinda Ardern , I thought that the Prime Minister gave an outstanding address to inaugurate the political year. I was particularly interested when the Prime Minister outlined a number of significant New Zealand sporting achievements. He mentioned the Sevens , our great cricket team, and Lydia Ko’s brilliance. I was just a little disappointed that he did not mention another great New Zealand sporting achievement, namely, my hole in one on the 11th at the Royal Wellington Golf Club at 1.30 p.m. on 29 December 2015. Mr Faafoi would be interested in this, because I know he plays at Heretaunga . It was a 7 wood, brilliantly teed-off, went slightly to the left in—well, it was about 160 metres in a northerly. It jumped the bunker and slid into the hole. I was very proud of that.

I want to begin by paying tribute to my colleague Tim Groser , who is about to leave for the United States . He and I came into Parliament together in 2005, and I was his associate arts, culture and heritage spokesperson until Tim was reshuffled out of that role and I took it for myself. In 2014 Tim and I won the party vote in New Lynn and Rongotai , embarrassing our high-profile opponents. In fact, Tim almost became the member of Parliament for New Lynn, which was slightly better than I have ever achieved against Mrs King , although Tim did have the benefit of being up against David Cunliffe . I am very interested to hear that Annette King may be standing down as the MP for Rongotai—a very important political development, because it will have the effect of turning Rongotai into a hair-trigger marginal. Whenever I am out campaigning with the people in Rongotai, the voters always say they will switch to me once Mrs King retires. So I used to say I would win the seat in 2038, but I have been doing some very hasty recalculations and I think it could be as early as 2023.

Tim and I were bench mates for our first term. We used to sit in the second row, where David Shearer sits now, and we often used to come down to question time reading our Spectators until Marian Hobbs , the then-MP for Wellington Central , told us that, no, that was not very wise. We should try to look riveted when the speaker is asking questions—very sound advice that I have always remembered. I am very sorry that Tim has left our presence without giving a valedictory speech, so I thought I would give one for him. I would like to outline what I think are his top five contributions in office, even if Tim would have done a far better job telling us about his achievements than I will be able to do. Over the course of my speech, I will avoid quotes from Napoleon, Juvenal , and Thucydides .

Tim’s achievements were momentous. The first one, of course, was the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. It is the obvious one. He achieved what many people thought was unachievable. Secondly, there was the Taiwan economic agreement and the Hong Kong free-trade agreement, which made New Zealand the first country to have trade deals with all of China. He concluded a free-trade agreement with the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand arrangement. He positioned New Zealand’s trade relationship with Asia in a very effective manner. He also concluded a free-trade agreement with Korea. These all prove the value of free-trade agreements, as traditional Labour leaders have always said. The rise in the volume of New Zealand’s exports has been huge, and the same will happen with the TPP agreement, which makes Labour’s approach both so bizarre and so disappointing given its very positive contribution to trade over the years.

Tim was a very respected voice overseas for New Zealand business, and I am sure he is going to continue to be so in his new role. He spearheaded overseas business trade missions to introduce New Zealand companies to new markets. Whether at the World Trade Organization , whether at Washington or Beijing, people listened to him—they had no choice—and New Zealand businesses all benefited from it. Finally, he was a very effective Minister for climate change issues. The work he did behind the scenes on international agreements earned him significant respect. The recent Paris agreement was based on the New Zealand proposal. I know the Greens are looking disconsolate because they think they have a monopoly of virtue on these matters, but Tim was a very effective Minister in that area. I should not finish without mentioning his glorious reign as the Minister of Conservation between 2008 and 2010—as Tim himself calls it, “the golden age of conservation in New Zealand”—until he was fired by the Prime Minister. I am sure all of us wish him all the very best for the future, and I know that he will be a very effective ambassador to the United States. . . 


Quote of the day

September 24, 2015

“The Kaponga (silver fern) has been iconic to New Zealand for over 160 years and to me the ferns fronds represents the encompassment or korowai over us all representing our multi cultural New Zealand. Mahutonga (southern cross) represents the archipelago making up NZ and our geographical location which also signifies the use of Mahutonga as an ancient navigational aid by seafarers who found their way to Aotearoa.”

“Red is whero for Maori, the colour of Mother Earth. Blue is kahurangi of Te Moana nu a Kiwa (Pacific Ocean), and white, maa, represents peace and symbolises Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud.” Nuk Korako on his preference for the red and blue flag with fern and stars.


Nuk Korako’s maiden speech

November 2, 2014

National MP Nuk Korako delivered his maiden speech:

E te Mana Whakawa, tena koe

Tenei hoki te mihi atu ki a koe o Te Kaihautu o Te Waka o Aotearoa, e Te Pirimia, Rt Hon John Key, tena koe

Tena hoki koe te rakatira o Te Ropu Reipa – Hon David Parker, tena koe

Hurinoa Te Whare Miere nei, ka mihi ki ka mema katoa

Ko Kai Tahu, Kati Mamoe, Waitaha, Te Rakiamo tenei e mihi atu ki te manawhenua o Te Waha o Te Ika, Te Atiawa tena koutou i haere mai i ka waka katoa e tau mai nei, ki Te Whanganui-a-Tara

Ko Tutehounuku Korako ahau

Ko Aoraki mauka e Tu mai ake kei uta

Maringimai te awa o Waitaki raua ko Waimakariri ki Te Tai o Mahaanui

Ko Te Whare Mahaanui hoki raua ko Te Whare o Wheke kei Te Rapaki o Te Raki Whakaputa e tu ana

Hei ano

Tena tatou katoa

Mr Speaker: Like all others who have entered this house over the past 150 years I cannot hide or disguise my humility.  It certainly is a time to reflect upon family, my life experiences to date and those who assisted me on the journey to this House. Sir, 

I come from a working class background. My father Te Here Maaka Momo Korako was a World War Two Returned Serviceman and a Freezing Worker and my Mum, Hine Elizabeth Manihera Korako a gentle and loving person, who passed away when I was only 10 years old leaving behind nine children, me and eight sisters.

It was not long before we found ourselves in Cholmondeley Children’s Home, to give our father time to organise life without our mother. This sad event started a relationship with me and Cholmondeley Home that continues to this day. My father worked hard to keep us together and to ensure that we all understood and lived by our family values and instilled in me the significance of:

Ancestry

Leadership

Education and Humility

He taught us to be proud of being who we were and the importance of being able to move seamlessly between the two worlds of the Maori and non-Maori.

Education was paramount in our family and I was lucky to be given the opportunity to attend St Stephen’s School in Bombay, Auckland.

Sir: It is fair to say that I did not expect to be standing here as a Member of Parliament and addressing The House of Representatives all these years later

Like many young Kiwis, the call of the OE, took me overseas on a much extended journey than was originally planned, where rugby and the tourism industry kept me offshore for over 20 years.

The hallmark of that journey however was meeting and marrying my beautiful wife Christine and a few years later with a family pending and a desire to raise our children as Kiwis we came home to Canterbury – more specifically to Christchurch and Ngai Tahu’s Riviera, Rapaki on Lyttelton Harbour.

Rapaki is one of the ancestral communities of Ngai Tahu. When you arrive, it is a little like being transported to another time. Our four boys, now aged between 17 and 22 grew up in this kainga or village, surrounded by our immediate and wider whanau. 

Growing up in Rapaki, in a safe and nurturing environment, gave them the pportunity to learn the tikaka of their home place and their marae and to enjoy and experience many adventures surrounded by mountains and sea. It is their safe haven and always will be.

It was not unusual for Chris to feed 10 children at lunch or dinner time or a family neighbour to do the same.  That very environment created lifelong values for our children, their cousins, and the friends they brought home.

Sir: My Uncle Ben Couch, a three term National Party MP, Minister of Police and Maori Affairs and a New Zealand and Maori All Black, was also raised in the same village.

In reflecting on my wider whakapapa I am reminded that some of my tupuna were familiar with the political environment.  Hoani Paratene, the first ever Southern Maori MP, was my great uncle.  My grandfather, Tutehounuku Korako, represented Ngai Tahu at the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in London in 1897 and at the opening of the Australian Parliament in 1901. My other grandfather James Duncan Manihera was the 1926 Maori All Black. 

Sir: These role models have instilled within me the idea that there is value in striving for something more than the mundane, more than the trappings of comfort, and to achieve something beyond myself, which is what I am doing in this special place.

Mr Speaker, I do bring a vision with me, and that is about where we are heading as a nation. I recently came across a National Party Manifesto from the Maori MPs in the late 1940s.

Quote: “New Zealand as a whole is under a great debt, one that has not always been sufficiently recognised, to the Maori people for the role they have played in the economic development of this country.  What you have received by way of social security and benefits is your due.  You, as a people have contributed to the pool from which come these benefits.

That is why we appeal to you to assist in the task of increased production… …it is our aim to expand and develop the Maori Land Schemes inaugurated in 1929 by Sir Apirana Ngata.

We know to what extent the human element is consciously developed along with work on such lands.  That must be taken into consideration if we are to secure the maximum results from such a policy – the promotion of a healthy, intelligent people, disciplined in the habits of industry and business practice, equipped by the economic resources of their lands to enter with full confidence in to the wider industrial life of this country.” Unquote.

Mr Speaker: This illustrates how much has not changed in terms of vision but how much has changed in terms of achievement. The Maori economy and Maori participation in our national economy has advanced so dramatically in the past thirty years and I have been honoured to be a participant in moving that forward.

I have operated my own businesses, worked on Maori incorporation and trusts, like Mawhera, the Board of Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation and represented my Hapu at the iwi governance level on Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu

The Ngai Tahu Settlement brokered by the Bolger-led National Government was a milestone for South Island development and I look forward to continuing to make a contribution to Maori economical advancement whilst sitting in this House, because that is our only pathway to long term prosperity and the betterment of ourselves, and it is not just for Maori, it is for all New Zealanders.

Mr Speaker: It is important, though, to acknowledge that I may move easily amongst Maori Communities but I also share a common set of values with all New Zealanders.

My recent Banks Peninsula and Port Hills political campaigns have clearly shown that many other New Zealanders believe that I have something to contribute to all of society.

Mr Speaker: I am deeply grateful to our people of the Port Hills for their continued support. Especially our National Party members, campaign team, army of volunteers and Young Nats. I want to acknowledge, our Canterbury Westland Regional Chair, Roger Bridge and my Campaign Manager, Cathryn Lancaster.

As most of you here will know there is something remarkably rewarding about getting amongst the community and engaging with a constituency.  Sure, some will slam the door in your face and some might be genuinely offended by your politics, but that is who we are.  We are not homogenous.  We are diverse, we are passionate and we are opinionated.  Thank God.

Sir: It would be fair to say that I have never lived in a suburb that is built upon privilege.  In fact for much of my life, I have lived in my traditional kainga.  My neighbours have been successful and struggling business owners, labourers and academics, bureaucrats and tradesman, beneficiaries and retirees.  These are my people.  These are National’s people.

Mr Speaker: I have lived The National Party philosophies most of my life, despite my family background, where many of my family were typical Labour Party supporters, who lived the old adage that Labour looked after the worker. I have taken a fair bit of “stick” especially on the front line in Lyttelton as a scrutineer for National in the Port voting booths, but that was my decision, and I stood by it.

The myth that National is simply there to look after the wealthy has been seriously challenged in this past election.  Thousands upon thousands of voters abandoned their traditional roots to give their party vote to National because there was a greater accord with what they wanted in a government.  Voters responded to the Quality of Leadership and have been drawn to a Unified Party that really did care and still does passionately, about what matters to New Zealanders.

Sir: I am sure that working New Zealanders have new expectations of themselves.  New generations certainly understand that the state is not here to provide their every need.  They genuinely believe that government is a partnership – us and them, and we each have to tow our own weight.

Mr Speaker: Labour may purport to represent the working New Zealander but a bevy of career bureaucrats does not reflect the aspirations of the young Checkout Person at the Ferrymead Countdown, or the Lyttelton Wharfie, or the Process Worker in Bromley who all want to better their lives with jobs, fair pay, home ownership and the likes. Preaching Working Class from Ponsonby, really does fall upon deaf ears.

I reject the idea that National does not represent those Kiwis struggling for a better life for their families and their communities.

That is exactly what we do.  That is why I am here.

Mr Speaker: There are 3 immediate priorities for me for this term.

One is to build the Brown Blue.  Many Maori have lost sight of the huge gains made under successive National-led governments and one only has to reflect on the Ngai Tahu and Tainui settlements, and more recently the ground breaking Tuhoe Settlement to get a sense of what is possible.  Whanau Ora and the under-privileged focused Partnership Schools have arisen under National and the modern Iwi Leadership engagements have given effect to an unprecedented partnership approach.

In the last election even without a candidate contesting the Maori seats, National still secured 14 per cent of the party vote within Te Tai Tonga and over the next three years I want to assist in building that, and not only in Te Waipounamu but also across Te Ika a Maui.

Mr Speaker: I want to Champion the Brown – Blue cause.

Mr Speaker: The second priority is the Christchurch Rebuild.  We all admire the incredible Earthquake Recovery and Rebuild work carried out to date under Minister Brownlee and I want to assure him that, like my years as a feisty rugby playing number 8, I am keen to put my tow shoulders behind the pack and add my weight as required.  I know taking us through the next few years will require a continued team effort and I want to be a part of that team.

Mr Speaker:  My third priority is that I will deliver on what I promised to the Port Hills constituents during my campaign, by continuing to work hard within our Port Hills electorate alongside our community leaders in developing vibrant communities, with plenty of opportunities, supported by great leadership.

Sir: I want to acknowledge my extended and immediate Whanau and Friends, including those who have travelled here today to share this occasion.

E ka whanauka, e ka hoa, e te hunga kainga, i haramai ki te tautoko ahau, Ko tenei te mihi aroha ki a koutou.

It is also the time to acknowledge these wonderful people who have stood to support me in place of my Taua and Poua, and Mum and Dad.

My Aunty Mamae Warnes who is here today, and was once a Young Nat in Wellington over 70 years ago.

My Aunty Rima and Charlie Subritzky and Uncle Dudley and Melissa Couch from Rapaki.  My father-in-law Derek Willard in Australia and Alec Graham from Palmerston North.  And my oldest and dearest mentor, Lachie Griffin, the unofficial Mayor of Governors Bay.

And to the person who has been there for me ever since we met on the Grand Canal in Venice, 24 years ago, who bore me four sons and saved the Korako name from extinction.

Chris, “I am because – You Are.” To my Sons, Maximillian, Michael, Nicholas and James Oliver:  He mahi Kai Hoaka, he mahi Kai takata: “Anything worthwhile will always require a considerable effort”: This is how I got here, today.

Finally Mr Speaker: It is difficult to stand here being humble when there is so much to be proud of. I am in this Parliament, however as a list MP representing the National Party interests. I cannot be other than a Maori and Ngai Tahu but it is my duty to address the needs of all New Zealanders and to concern myself with the whole spectrum of citizenship. Today, Mr Speaker I pledge myself to that task.

Huri noa Te Whare Paremata. E mihi atu kia tatou katoa. Mauri ora.


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