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:

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—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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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]


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:



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.

Class of 2014

September 23, 2014

Prime Minister-elect John Key, his deputy Bill English and the new national MPs:

Bill English and I were proud to welcome National’s 15 new MPs to Parliament this morning.


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