Chris Penk’s maiden speech

November 25, 2017

Chris Penk, national’s MP in Helensville, delivered his maiden speech last week:

Thank you for this opportunity to address the Parliament, Mr Speaker; I do so with great expectations and excitement.  I congratulate you and your fellow presiding officers on your respective appointments.

Let me begin by recording my gratitude to all who voted in the electorate of Helensville, including – but not limited to – those who did so for my Party and me.  I acknowledge and thank my opponents for a campaign that was robust but reasonable, and frank but fair.

I also acknowledge all fellow Members of this House, including in particular the “class of 2017” (on both sides of the aisle) and my National Party colleagues under the strong and principled leadership of Bill English.

It’s well known that my immediate predecessor as MP for Helensville was Sir John Key.  I’m grateful for the advice he has generously given me.  During the recent election campaign it was observed by many that I have “large shoes to fill” if I am (extending the metaphor) to follow in the footsteps of Sir John. 

Nevertheless I shall endeavour to tread the path that appears to me, exercising my own judgement in accordance with my own experience and worldview, to mark the surest way to health and happiness for the people of Auckland’s northwest.

The Helensville electorate is magnificent. I may be biased – and indeed it would be strange if I were not – but in my view it represents the very best of our nation, comprising as it does fertile farmland, commanding coastlines, bountiful bush, secure suburbs, flourishing forests and beautiful beaches.

My journey to Parliament has been at once atypical (including many voyages over and under the oceans of the world, on which more later) and in other ways somewhat typical (including a career in the law).

I completed a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Linguistics at 19 years of age, having already by then commenced a lifelong love of language.  I find a happy home here in Parliament, an institution whose words are powerful enough to be known as “Acts”.

Along with my BA, I had started a law degree but (in a victory for adventure over academia) I chose to “run away to sea”, so to speak, rather than face classes in jurisprudence.

More specifically, I served in the Royal New Zealand Navy as an officer of the watch on HMNZS Te Kaha, an Anzac-class frigate.

I was also privileged to serve in the role of Aide-de-Camp to Her Excellency the Governor-General, Dame Silvia Cartwright, travelling around New Zealand and abroad as a member of the vice-regal household.  At 22 years of age, I was (at least at that time) the youngest person in NZ to have held the role.

Already by then a keen student of public law, at Government House I had the considerable privilege of witnessing “royal assent” being given to legislation.  In a strict constitutional and historical sense, it is law-making power beyond even that enjoyed by this House.

In 2004, I joined the Royal Australian Navy to fulfil my dream of driving submarines.  The genesis of that dream is unclear to me but may have been my boyhood enjoyment of the Jules Verne classic, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”. 

As navigating officer of a diesel-electric submarine, I was driving a hybrid vehicle long before most Green Party MPs ever did.  Every submariner knows that the best stories of the silent service are seldom told, those of hard times and good times alike. 

Through the looking glass known as a periscope, I saw things over a decade ago that are still as clear in my mind’s eye today as though I’d viewed them only yesterday.

My service with the Australian Defence Force was completed with Operation Iraqi Freedom, when I was stationed on a shell-scarred oil terminal.  And so it was that I spent Christmas of one particular year a metaphorical stone’s throw away from where the Euphrates and Tigris rivers of ancient Mesopotamia still meet and flow together into the Northern Arabian Gulf, in turn not far from the little town of Bethlehem.

To the men and women of the Defence Force, I say “Victor Mike Tango” … along with “over” rather than “out”.

It was then time to return to NZ, where I completed my law degree.  On admission to the bar I practised law, eventually in a firm that I established with a business partner, Ong & Penk Lawyers.

My experiences on the long and winding road to Parliament have shaped me for good and, almost without exception, also for the better.

Next, my heartfelt thanks to the National Party campaign team and executive committee of the Helensville electorate.  I owe my place here to each one of you.  Our leader, Stephen Franklin is a great New Zealander who has served with the SAS, the police force, St John and of course, as mentioned earlier, Sir John Key.

To all National Party members, supporters and of course our voters: thank you too.  I acknowledge the Party President, Peter Goodfellow and his fellow Board directors, including Andrew Hunt, who is also to be thanked in his capacity as Chair of the Northern Region.

Others who have supported me strongly and kindly in various ways are too numerous to name but they know who they are.  I also know and it is my solemn resolution never to forget.

Mr Speaker, it’s my belief that family members of politicians should not generally be mentioned in Parliament, for a number of reasons.  The exceptions that prove this rule for me are Maiden and Valedictory Statements, being rare opportunities to thank those who are nearest and dearest.

First, my eternal gratitude to the best parents a son could wish to have: Debbie and Stephen Penk. Both are teachers by instinct and indeed profession, my mother at various levels in the schooling system and my father as a lecturer at the Law School of Auckland University. 

They raised five boys in a household that was not wealthy in a material sense – far from it – but one rich in love.  They taught me the overriding importance of fidelity, family and faith.

We were raised in West Auckland and I attended the local state schools, of which Kelston Boys High School deserves particular mention as a favourable, formative influence.

I’m also grateful for the love and support of all my brothers, and my sisters-in-law, and acknowledge the presence of Alex and George in the Gallery today.

There is much that I could say about my grandparents but I’ll focus briefly on the experience of each during World War II.  This is because the self-sacrificial ethos of their generation – rightly called “the greatest” by many – is typified by such service.

My grandmother, Joan Penk, joined the Women’s Auxiliary Airforce.  As a “WAAF”, I hope that she would be pleased that I’m now able to represent an area that includes the RNZAF airbase at Whenuapai.

Her husband, my grandfather Harold Penk served as a medic in the NZ Army.  A brave and devoted man, he was mentioned in dispatches at the time and it’s my pleasure to be able to mention him in Parliament now as well.

My maternal grandfather, Prof Forrest Scott, PhD was a naval officer in the Second World War, who bequeathed us a diary in which he describes the torpedoing and loss of his ship, HMS Springbank by a u-boat.

His wife and my grandmother, Helen Scott, was a schoolgirl evacuated from Dover during the Nazi bombings.  Her determination was amply demonstrated by obtaining a degree in mathematics at Cambridge University in the 1940s, an era in which women were actively discouraged from studying such subjects. 

I’m delighted that she will be watching on Parliament TV today, provided that the Silver Ferns are not playing a netball test on another channel at the same time.

I will also always be grateful to my dear parents-in-law: Ken and Tjoe Choe.  They are invariably supportive and generous, not least of all because they allowed me to marry their eldest daughter.

I met my beautiful wife, Kim at law school.  An excellent journalist specialising in online news, she has recently (at least temporarily) exchanged the Fourth Estate for first-time motherhood, a role she handles wonderfully well.

Our son was born just two days prior to the recent General Election.  Jokes about her being in labour and me being in National were not made in her hearing at the time.

Some might say that I will be spending my days here, sitting on the backbenches of the opposition side of Parliament, in much the same way that a newborn baby does: making unreasonable demands and unintelligible cries, often due to an excess of hot air, from the other side of a room.  I could not possibly comment.

Mr Speaker, I move now from the personal to the political:

I joined the National Party immediately on my return to NZ in early 2008.  For several years I served on the electorate committee of Paula Bennett, twice as Electorate Chair.

In 2011, I represented her in a Judicial Recount of the Waitakere election result.  That was under my mentor and friend, Peter Kiely, Chair of the National Party’s Rules Committee, whom I thank now for many years of help and encouragement.  I recall walking into that room with our candidate behind by 11 votes and we emerged several days later with her ahead, and accordingly the victor, by 9 votes.  I will never forget that fascinating intersection of law and politics.

Mr Speaker, my values are closely aligned to those of the National Party, as you might well expect, in particular our emphasis on providing equality of opportunity and a strong belief in the value of personal responsibility.

Beyond that, I would like to offer some thoughts on an aspect of law-making that is seldom considered and understood properly even less.  It concerns a paradox of choice and freedom.

Every person has rights that are limited by reference to rights enjoyed by others.  That much is generally acknowledged as a matter of principle, although in practice we do not always protect every heart that beats.

But perhaps more complex and interesting is the paradox of making laws that ostensibly offer choice and freedom to a person but have the actual opposite effect.  By way of example, a person who is offered by the law (and accepts) the choice of taking an addictive substance will suffer from a lack of choice as a result of doing so.

Much more could be said along these lines – and will be said, I’m sure – in the coming months.

I also wish to comment briefly on the present electoral-constitutional arrangements of this country.

It has become clear that MMP governments are now invariably formed in three stages, only one of which involves the voting public and two of which do not:

–               first, an election, of MPs to seats, by the people;

–               second, a selection, of the government, by politicians; and

–               third, a collection, of some (but not all) of the relevant parties’ policies, again by politicians alone.

Given such democratic deficit inherent in the rules of the MMP game, it is unfortunate that the people are given so little opportunity to view the way in which the game is played at the second and third stages.

Mr Speaker, in my hope that this speech will be watched at least once on YouTube, by someone other than me, I have effectively created a game of Maiden Speech Bingo. 

In these 15 minutes I have referred to three Beatles song titles, three Charles Dickens novels, three books of the Bible and three famous naval ships. 

Each is significant to me in some way.  You may recall that I began addressing the House with “great expectations”, one of the Dickens novel titles of course, but the rest I will leave to anyone interested in looking.

I conclude my remarks with the motto of the submarine on which I served, HMAS Sheean, which was simply “Fight On”. 

I emphasise those words for two reasons:

First, I do not resile from the adversarial nature of parliamentary democracy but I will fight fairly.  A contest of ideas provides the least unsafe way of making the least dangerous laws.

In Opposition, we have not only the right but, more significantly, the responsibility to oppose bad government policy … even as we support any good policy that they may propose.  A legislative chamber that is fiery is not a bleak house but a bright one.

Second, that motto – Fight On – speaks to the high value I place on resilience, persistence and determination.

Mr Speaker, even as I finish now I promise that I will, at all times, fight on.



Tim van de Molen’s maiden speech

November 24, 2017

National’s Waikato MP Tim van de Molen delivered his maiden speech last week:

The mighty Waikato: beautiful scenery; well managed & successful farms; thriving and vibrant provincial towns; diverse but united communities; and continual opportunity.

As the new Member of Parliament for the Waikato, I want to start by saying that it is an absolute privilege to have been elected to this role, and in such a magnificent part of the country.

A role that holds great opportunity & great responsibility. As a new MP, listening is a key part of this. My grandfather once said, “you have two ears & one mouth, use them in that proportion”. Congratulations to my fellow new MPs, I’m excited about the path ahead, as I’m sure you are.

The journey to be here was an exciting & rewarding one. A journey shared by so many people in the Waikato & beyond – by family & friends, by Party members, by the public who believe in our vision. Thank you all sincerely for your support.

Today, I want to share a bit of my background (my family, my upbringing, my experiences), why I am who I am, to touch on what brings me to this position. I want to share some of the wonderful aspects of the Waikato; and I want to outline some of my aspirations for both the Waikato & for New Zealand.

Firstly, I’d like to share that I felt, on entering this building, the mana, the prestige, the history of our nation. The decisions made by those who have come before, decisions that have shaped our country. One of those people was my Great, Great Grandfather, John Stevens.

A former member of this House, who spent a number of years through the 1880’s, 1890’s & early 1900’s, representing Rangitikei & then Manawatu.

For me though, Waikato has always been home. I was raised there, I have worked and played there, and now I’m raising my family there. As one of five children, I grew up in a competitive, family focused home where strong values were instilled in us.

Values such as: hard work and enterprise (& fair reward for it); taking responsibility for your actions; strength and importance of family; equal opportunity; and standing up for what we believe in. We were encouraged to use our initiative, to try new things and to ask questions.

We had a very rural upbringing, although my parents are teachers, and we were constantly interacting with the outdoors – generally racing around the countryside with skinned knees & bare feet. Hunting, camping, and fishing were regular activities.

I remember that when we would go fishing from the wharf, Dad needed to concentrate on the fish, of course, so he would tie a rope around my chest & secure it to a post on the wharf, easy retrieval in case I should fall in – yes, Health & Safety in action, even back then. That’s what I choose to believe anyway, and not that I was a burley pot in case the fish weren’t biting!

We would spend long summer days exploring on family farms, or in later years, helping with chores once we became useful. Or on crisp winter mornings, breaking ice on the troughs to use as a Frisbee, or watching the horses’ breath steaming as they were galloped around the track.

Those early years on farm were some of my best memories & developed into a true passion for the Primary Industries; a passion that continues still. I believe we were very lucky to grow up in such an environment, but then, really, it’s the typical Kiwi upbringing that so many of us are lucky to have had.

I’m proud to be Kiwi & I’m proud of the diversity that often reflects for each of us. For me, on my mother’s side, our ancestors arrived in New Zealand from the UK in the 1860’s, and my father’s parents arrived in the 1950’s from the Netherlands.

My hometown of Matamata was, & still is, a jewel in the Waikato crown. One of those great provincial New Zealand towns. I enjoyed my schooling at Matamata College before heading to Waikato University where I obtained a Social Science degree, majoring in Psychology.

During this time, I also trained as a Scuba Diving Instructor – as you do when living in the most inland city in the country. This degree and diving combination, as I’m sure you’d expect, naturally lead to becoming a dairy farmer… my journey has been varied!

The New Zealand Young Farmers organisation was a key part of my life for 13 years. It was through this organisation that I got my first governance experience. Young Farmers was a key contributor to my desire to become an MP. It developed that knowledge that the decisions we made could positively, or negatively, influence the experience of the grass roots members.

Making those calls with the best interests of others in mind, guided by our values. I get great satisfaction from helping people, from supporting them to learn to grow & to succeed. Acknowledging, of course, that success may be measured differently by each of us.

Over the years, my Primary Industries involvement has also led to opportunities to visit Australia, Japan, the UK, & Singapore. We are indeed global leaders in this space.

But with the increasingly disruptive technologies that are now emerging & the changing expectations of consumers, we must be more nimble, more innovative & more united as an industry & as a country, if we are to continue to succeed.

Winning the Young Farmer of the Year Contest was a highlight of my time in the industry. It had long been a dream. Achieving it was a reflection of the team of people helping me – their skills, knowledge & enthusiasm coupled with their willingness to impart that to me. As in so many pursuits, a great team will accomplish great things.

Working as a rural bank manager was a role I loved. Building an understanding of someone’s business, helping them achieve their dreams & aspirations was hugely rewarding. I learnt so much from them too, there is always another perspective. Alongside this, I was able to achieve my own dream of getting into farm ownership.

Having a background across dairy, sheep and beef, horticulture & agri-business is very important in a strong rural area like the Waikato. Having said that, there’s more to the Waikato than cows & crops.

That’s where my experience as a business owner; time working in the tourism sector; service in the NZ Army; and voluntary roles like the St. John Ambulance, enable me to better relate to and understand the diverse range of people in our electorate.

For anyone who has served in the military, I am sure you can appreciate the physical & mental adversity you are frequently presented with. For example, being tasked with Sentry duty – sitting out in the Waiouru tussock, in a hole in the ground at 2:00am, with the sleet driving horizontally, not having slept in three days.

And in the distance, you can see the Desert Rd, with occasional headlights twinkling through the sleet – and you wonder if the driver of that vehicle faces the same challenges you do. Or perhaps, rather than the biting cold, they’re biting into a hot pie; & rather than sitting in a hole, they’re sitting in a leather seat with a seat warmer. Character building moments.

I share these experiences & memories because they have shaped me. It’s the ‘why’ of who I am. It’s also the basis from which my own personal motto comes: If it is to be, it is up to me.

It’s about taking responsibility for your own journey. Driving yourself onward, challenging yourself & thirsting for more. Education is a lifelong experience – you can always learn something from the people around you.

Each day, we can wake up & be a better version of ourselves than we were the day before. But it requires courage, determination, a focused plan & hard work. It doesn’t mean being on your own though, I love working & succeeding as a team.

On that note, the most important team of all is my family. Thanks to my wife Hilary, to my parents, Ron & Sue, who are all present today. Thanks to my siblings, present & watching from afar.

It is a blessing to have the opportunity with my amazing wife, Hilary, to now raise our own family. We have two wonderful children: our beautiful Isobella, nearly two; and sturdy wee Arthur, who arrived only a month ago, shortly after the election.

An election with a young family is not easy, clearly, I have an incredible wife! I would like to acknowledge Hilary – it’s an honour to be your husband.

I love your strength, compassion, intelligence & beauty. You inspire me to be better every day. Actually, it’s our third wedding anniversary today. What more romantic setting could one desire to celebrate such an occasion?!

I love innovation & I thrive on a challenge. In politics, the job is never done. There is always something more that can be achieved, some competing need. I’d like to acknowledge Lindsay Tisch for his dedication as the MP for Waikato over the last 18 years.

His contribution to the National Party extends well before the time he spent as MP & I would like to extend my thanks for all that he & wife Leonie have done. I wish you both the best for the future.

In the Waikato, we have some exciting opportunities in front of us. We need to continue to capture the growth potential with ongoing significant investment in infrastructure.

The Waikato is of great strategic importance given our location in the Golden Triangle, as well as the diversity of economic potential in the region. I will help the newly minted Minister of Regional Development to keep this front of mind when looking for projects to support.

We have an opportunity to further empower our communities. I believe that education is the foundation of opportunity. Our communities are diverse, we are all different, which makes us all unique. But we are all equal, and we can all succeed, though success may look different for each of us. Those who aren’t currently succeeding need help & encouragement to do so, & I will work towards this.

We have an opportunity to strengthen relationships between rural & urban New Zealanders. The strength of the Waikato, & New Zealand, has historically been underpinned by the success of the Primary Industries. And although we now have a lot more diversity, the sector remains a significant contributor to our success.

Farming continues to evolve: how we farm now is not how we farmed 10, 20, 50 years ago and it won’t be how we farm 10, 20, 50 years in the future.

Primary producers are typically great at adapting to their changing landscape, but they need a supportive structure to facilitate this. The ongoing negative agenda being pushed by some groups is counter-productive & divisive.

Let’s work together. We must be sustainable – environmentally, socially & economically.

We have an opportunity to improve our tourism offering. There are so many amazing places in our region, places that are the envy of the country & indeed, the world. Places like Wairere Falls, Port Waikato, the Hakarimata Track, Hobbiton, Nikau Caves.

I ran the Athens marathon in Greece some years ago – a wonderful experience, but very commercialised. Likewise, climbing Mt Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain – a powerful, spiritual experience passing through the shrine at the summit, only to see a Coke vending machine atop the peak. That’s fine for them, but it’s not the Kiwi way. So many tourists come to New Zealand for our relatively unspoilt & raw beauty. Let’s showcase it more.

As I draw to a close, I am confident that my vision & values, my skills & experience, my enthusiasm & determination, will ensure that I am able to contribute to the success of the Waikato & to all of New Zealand.

To my Waikato constituents, I look forward to justifying the confidence you placed in me when you voted. It is my hope that I am able to add to the mana of this House & that after I am gone, some new, fresh faced MP will experience that same sense of awe, & be further inspired to make our great country, greater still.

That picture of the Waikato I shared at the start of this address: the scenery, the successful farms; the vibrant towns; the united communities & the ever-present opportunity.

This can and should relate to all of New Zealand. I am committing to making this picture, our reality. I look forward to serving New Zealand.

Remember, that every day, we can be better than we were the day before.

Simeon Brown’s maiden speech

November 23, 2017

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown’s maiden speech:

Thank you, Mr Speaker. As this is my first time speaking in this House, let me congratulate you today for your election as the Speaker of the House and your team, the Deputy Speaker, and two assistant Speakers. Thank you for your service in presiding over this House of Representatives and this debating chamber.

While I am thanking Parliamentary figures, I would also like to acknowledge Her Excellency the Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy for her role in opening Parliament last week.

I am also grateful for the service of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of New Zealand, and for the service she has given to New Zealand over the past 66 years. We have the finest constitutional framework anywhere in the world.  It has served our country well, and I am sure will continue to do so far into the future.

With that in mind, I am particularly humbled to find myself in this room and incredibly honoured to be standing here representing the electorate of Pakuranga.

I would like to acknowledge and thank the people of Pakuranga for the faith that they have placed in me as their Member of Parliament and representative in this House.

I am conscious that it is my responsibility to represent the views and values of my constituents and I am eager to do that because I share their values. 

The values of Pakuranga are the principles that have made New Zealand great – a commitment to hard work, fair reward, personal responsibility, equal opportunity, and common sense.  These time-honoured values are cherished by kiwis across the country and are instilled in children by their mums and dads every day.

Mr Speaker, I am the second of five children born to Ivan and Sarah Brown, who are in the gallery today. I was born in Rotorua but my family moved to Auckland when I was 12 and I have lived there ever since. I was not brought up in a wealthy family.

We were comfortable, but there were challenging times.  My parents were able to provide me and my siblings with what we needed, but I know it wasn’t always easy…  However, when I look back, I see the truly important things they provided in great abundance.

I was raised by two loving parents, I was taught discipline, the importance of working hard to get ahead, and taking responsibility for my actions. Their love and commitment to each other has been their greatest strength and has been the best example that I could ask for.

I married my wife Rebecca at the beginning of 2016. I want to thank her for all of the love and support that she has given me on my journey to this place. She is my rock and I could not have come this far without her unconditional love, encouragement, and wisdom. 

Rebecca is from Sydney and is the daughter of Lebanese parents whose families moved to Australia to find a better life for their families.  Rebecca then met me and moved to New Zealand for what I hope she would agree is an even better one! Thank you for your love Rebecca.

A few years ago I graduated from the University of Auckland, where I studied law and commerce. I went on to work as a commercial banker with the Bank of New Zealand, working with a range of small to medium-sized businesses in Auckland.

This experience has given me an insight into the engine room of New Zealand’s economy and the fact that our country is built on the backs of men and women who take risks, who mortgage their homes and go out to try and achieve their dreams.

A Government is at its best when it backs its citizens and trusts them to pursue their dreams.  Too many governments in the past have obstructed those who want to get ahead.   I believe Kiwis can fly if they’re not tied up in red tape. 

I have been involved in politics for a good part of my life now.  My first experience in this field was attending my local residents’ association, the “Clendon Residents Group” and being elected the Secretary at my first meeting, as there was a need for some ‘fresh young blood’.

From there, I chaired the inaugural Manurewa Youth Council, was elected to the Manurewa Local Board in 2013 and served as the Deputy Chair.  I was thrilled to help progress a number of key projects and initiatives along the way.

One issue which I was particularly proud to have been involved with during this time was the passing of the Psychoactive Substances Act. That Act effectively banned the sale and supply of these dangerous products.

I am grateful that this Parliament passed that legislation, and I was proud to have played a part in getting policy put through Auckland Council and then through this House. There is more to do on this important issue, and the issue of protecting our young people from the harm of these products and other harmful drugs will always be one that I care deeply about.

I would like to acknowledge Angela Dalton, Cr Daniel Newman and the Hon George Hawkins who I worked alongside during my time in local government. Thank you for the opportunities you provided me and the advice you gave. You taught me that actions speak louder than words, a maxim I will always honour. 

Being elected as the MP for Pakuranga has been the biggest honour of my career, but winning could not have been done without the help of an excellent team of supporters and electorate team.

I am pleased to have so many good people to work alongside, and I look forward to continuing that work into the future.

My electorate chairman Peter Martin epitomises Kiwi commitment. My electorate and campaign teams include John Slater, Simon Williamson, Hadyn Padfield, Jenny Gibson, Chloe Masters, Katrina Bungard, Sarah Fenwick, Rahul Sirigiri, Nathan Wilson, Daniel Church, Carla Mikkleson, Te Haua Taua, Cedric Jordan, Michael Baker, Gaylene and Evan Whetton, Bill and Maggie Burrill, Erin Dillimore-Muir, Lynn Kidd and Josh Beddell. Their support has been fantastic and their advice has been flawless. 

I am proud to be their Member of Parliament, and I want them to know that I know that I would not be here without their help and support.

My appreciation also goes to National Party Board Members Peter Goodfellow, Andrew Hunt and Alistair Bell for their support.

Mr Speaker, it would take me 10 hours to properly thank all those who have helped me on my campaign and I don’t believe the house will grant me the opportunity to do that. 

Instead, I will ask the forgiveness of those I can’t mention by name and hope they know how much their support has been appreciated.

They should all be proud of the excellent result they achieved at the last election, increasing National’s Party vote significantly to the third highest in the country.

Of course, I cannot fail to mention my predecessor in Pakuranga.  Maurice, if you’re watching this, thank you for all the work you did for the electorate and the nation.  As you can see, we’ve built on your success.  I think a pool party in Los Angeles is definitely in order.

As I stand here today making my maiden speech, I am conscious that we are standing inside a war memorial commemorating the brave men and women who have fought for the freedoms and the peace which we enjoy as a nation.

When I contemplate their sacrifice I realise that I am fortunate to be standing here, because of the heroic and selfless actions of the generations who have gone before me, a new generation, my generation, is free to shape its destiny.

The traditional values previous generations have fought to uphold are what have brought me here, and are what I will be fighting. We are fortunate that today we do not have to defend these values by force of arms like previous generations did. 

But that does not mean that they are secure.  Today, we fight to maintain the democratic principles upon which our nation was founded, preserving the right to speak and think according to our conscience, the protection of the vulnerable and disenfranchised in public debate. 

Unfortunately, these principles were so well protected by previous generations that many today do not appreciate what life is like without them, and so do not value them as they should.

Freedom is not simply doing what we want to do, to satisfy our individual desires and needs. We are not ships in the night, but ‘He Iwi Tahi Tatou’, one people.  We are all interconnected, all part of something larger than ourselves.  We must use our freedoms to serve the common good for all in our society.

Moreover, the future security of our democracy and the health of our community are grounded in the past, out of which they grew. We must look back, in order to move forward.

G K Chesterton called tradition, ‘the democracy of the dead’, and this place, Parliament, with its traditions, is underpinned by the freedoms won for us by the ANZAC’s, the suffragettes, civil rights leaders, and those who throughout our history have fought for this country and its values – freedom informed by truth and all that is just – the willingness to do the right thing, no matter the cost, irrespective of fashion or contemporary whim.

As I look forward to my time in this place, I will also be looking back, conscious that I stand here on the shoulders of those who have come before me and seeking, by the grace of God, to help make our country an even better place for future generations.

Like so many others, Mr Speaker, it is that desire to make this country an even better place which has driven me to stand for Parliament and to serve in this House.

I am fortunate to have had many friends precede me into Parliament.  I have known people like Judith Collins and Simon O’Connor for many years, and am glad to be taking a seat alongside them. 

I am also delighted to see my good friend Christopher Penk beginning his career here and I look forward to learning the ins and outs of Parliament alongside him.  (I’m also looking forward to hearing what kind and flattering things he has to say about me in his own maiden speech!)

I joined the National Party because I share its values and believe that those values are what creates a prosperous and a successful country, where all New Zealanders are valued and have the opportunity to succeed. 

I am a conservative. I regret that some people have come to see that as an unacceptable title, but it is one I am proud to wear.  I am conservative because I care about people.   

I believe that Government is there to help make a difference in people’s lives, but not to run their lives. The role of Government is to help create the conditions where people are able to thrive from their own hard work and to succeed based on their own skills.

I believe that people succeed when the Government allows people to thrive and to make decisions for themselves. I also believe in good governance.

When Governments are forced to intervene in people’s lives, it must be for the right reasons, based on a desire to improve those lives, and that any intrusion must be as small as possible. Too often, decisions are hastily made, or laws are quickly passed with little thought about the unintended consequences they have.

Good laws are made through good process, through sound reasoning, and proper consultation.  I hope we will see principled actions and well-reasoned policies from this Government, not merely politically expedient propaganda… but I’m not going to hold my breath!

I believe that the crucial role of Government is to protect its citizens and the nation. The protection of the citizens of the country is central to the role of Government. Maintaining law and order and national security are areas deserving of more investment and will be welcomed by the people of Pakuranga.  We need more investment in tackling gangs and continuing to crack down on the supply of illegal drugs flowing into our country.

Mr Speaker, the Pakuranga electorate is full of entrepreneurs, business owners, and investors. The Government’s role in business must be to provide opportunities for businesses to grow and to succeed.

This means opening up new trade links, reducing red-tape and regulation, and investing in much-needed infrastructure projects. Two such projects close to my electorate’s heart are the East West Link and AMETI. I am tremendously disappointed to hear the new Government intends to put the brakes on this kind of growth and I will do everything I can to encourage them away from this myopic decision. 

Traffic congestion is a huge issue in Pakuranga, for people who live there and businesses which operate in East Auckland. These transport projects must be progressed, and I will champion them, and others like them, during my time in this place.

One of the other values which I will be a staunch advocate for during my time here will be the importance of free speech. As members of Parliament, we are fortunate to work in an environment where freedom of speech is generally protected. But we must ensure that freedom of speech is not merely a Parliamentary privilege, but something people everywhere can enjoy. All New Zealander’s should freedom of expression as that underpins a strong democracy.

Of course, with every freedom comes responsibility, and at times limitations, however, these limitations should be rare and a matter of last resort. I am opposed to the idea that governments should stop people saying things that offend or annoy others.  Governments should not be in the business of protecting people’s feelings and affirming every person’s sense of self.

A safe society is one where we debate ideas, rather than suppress them. A tolerant society welcomes all ideas and debates them on their merits, rather than determining what ideas are allowed and which aren’t.

We who work in this chamber must always remember that the government wields tremendous power.  Too often, private individuals are trampled by governments rather than protected by them. 

This applies to freedom of speech of course, but in other ways as well.  It is often the case in society that the weak can be neglected in favour of the strong, and those who shout the loudest get the most attention from the Government.

I believe that it is the role of this Parliament to protect the most vulnerable and to ensure that their rights are safeguarded. It is to our shame that New Zealand has a rising epidemic of elder abuse in our country. We must watch this, and other disturbing trends. 

I worry that our society is becoming harsher, less caring, and less compassionate.  It is not sufficient to merely spread these words throughout society.  They must be backed up with actions.  I believe that many of society’s problems are rooted in poverty.  However, unlike some, I am not solely focused on material poverty. 

There is a growing poverty of compassion, a poverty of respect, and a poverty of understanding between communities and generations. 

This must be stopped and I will do everything I can to help.  This is a far better way to build a kinder society than the redistribution of wealth because making New Zealand more caring, tolerant, and compassionate, will enrich us all.

Mr Speaker, I conclude by once again thanking my loving family, my incredible wife and my many supporters in Pakuranga. I look forward to my time in this House.


Harete Hipango’s maiden speech

November 22, 2017

Harete Hipango, National’s Whanganui MP delivered her maiden speech last week:

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To the honourable Madam Deputy Speaker, greetings and congratulations. I open with a pātere composed by John Tahupārae, Whanganui elder and former kaumātua of this Whare Pāremata. Calling upon and inquiring of me, “Where am I from?” The wellspring of wāhi puna on the coastal riverbank lands to Matapihi, the window inland to Pūtiki Wharenui, my tūrangawaewae, my marae, Ngāti Tūpoho.

Climbing the hill of Taumata Kararo, the sacred hill and resting place of my ancestors, onward to Te Ao Hou, a marae of new horizons of a new world.

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I acknowledge my ancestral hapū and tribal collective. I am a descendant of you all.

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To my tribal elders, family, friends and relations from home and afar, my warm and sincere greetings.

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The National Party board and members, our campaign teams—headquarters and Whanganui electorate—championed the good cause. To all of you: Neil, Jan, and Warwick, enduring, tireless, and party-loyal. Our Hāwera hands and hearts: Cynthia, Ella, Gerard. Whanganui work-lot: Derek, Michael, Tony, Gordon, Robyn, and Ray, Jenny, Bernard, Charles, Andre, Annie, and Dean, with cake and sparkling delights. Mark and Steve who photo-ed me vote-able; our hoarding helpers and volunteers—a top billings team—and the Hon Chester Borrows, you saw something in me that I am yet to realise. To you all, indeed, I am indebted.

To the diverse communities of Whanganui, south and central Taranaki, those who voted for me, I will carry and represent your concerns and interests, as your elected representative in the general seat to this House, I am told, as the first elected Māori woman National Party representative. I will represent you to the best of my ability.

Her Excellency the Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy and Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, I salute and acknowledge you as women of mana for your part in the commissioning of our 52nd Parliament, amidst which I now humbly take my place. To our House of Representatives, Prime Minister, and Deputy Prime Minister:

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To my party leaders, Bill English and Paula Bennet, and our party:

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To the members of this House: tēnā tātou katoa. Today, I embrace us all in this moment.

I speak for the first time in this hallowed House, cloaked with the support of many and the protection, warmth, and embrace of my ancestral kahu kiwi, worn by no less than six generations of Hipango. I’m cloaked with the immense expectation of many to carry and bid well their interests. I’m cloaked with a history of service—humbly yet honourably, proudly, and fiercely given—by many amongst my family who have gone before and many yet to come. I’m cloaked with the responsibility to serve to the best of my abilities, and I will seek to honour that.

I am the daughter of Hoani Wīremu Hipango, Ngāti Tūpoho, and Eileen Mary Shaw, third generation New Zealander, County Cork, Ireland. Today, I stand here not alone. My presence follows suit and service of my ancestors, and I reference them for they forged a pathway giving shape and passage to a nation, to the benefit of us all.

Rere o Maki, Pūtiki rangatira, mother of Te Keepa Rangihiwinui, Major Kemp: she was one of only five women who signed the Treaty of Waitangi; her name penned, commitment, and mana etched eternally, at Pūtiki on 23 May 1840. Her son Te Keepa—renowned, revered colonial military soldier, tactician, and leader of his mother’s Whanganui people—served and fought alongside his whanaunga Hoani Wiremu Hipango in many Whanganui and Taranaki battles in the 1860s. Hipango, with Te Keepa, were pro-Government Whanganui Māori, cognisant of the necessity for their people’s survival—their rangatiratanga in defence of people, lands, and realm. Te Keepa was awarded the Queen’s Sword of Honour, the New Zealand Cross, and the New Zealand War Medal in recognition of valour and service. Hipango was mortally wounded in battle in defence of Whanganui. Both died at Pūtiki, each accorded full military honours and buried there.

Flight officer Porokoru Patapu Pohe of Taihape, my father’s maternal uncle: the first Māori RNZAF commissioned pilot, flew a Halifax for No. 51 Squadron RAF, was shot down, and imprisoned in Stalag Luft III. Uncle Johnny was one of 50 escapees captured and, on Hitler’s command, executed in March 1944 by the Gestapo in Poland, his remains there immortalised immemorial.

Lieutenant Colonel Waata Hipango, my brother, served in New Zealand and overseas, including the Sinai, with the United Nations peacekeeping corps. He was captured, taken hostage by Hezbollah, to all too soon be killed on 6 February 1999 in hit-and-run car-bus collision while serving as the commanding officer of the New Zealand Defence Force, in Singapore. Accorded at Pūtiki a full military funeral and honours, his casket cloaked the embrace of this kahu, and Major Kemp’s Sword of Honour placed upon him, Waata is buried on Taumata Karoro alongside our tupuna, overlooking Pūtiki at the mouth of the Whanganui River. Waata’s son Tane, one of four, is here with us today.

Earlier this week at the State Opening, it was special to reacquaint with my brother’s peers and friends Lieutenant General Tim Keating, Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force, and the Chiefs of the New Zealand Navy, Air Force, and Army.

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I’m one of five children: the middle, born and raised in Pūtiki, a child of the 1960s, raised by a village. Life was simple, we worked hard, we made do and ends meet. Some would say we were poor. We were rich in the essence of family and community. I am the product of parents, extended whānau, and community, who nurtured and cared for me. My Pākehā Catholic mother, Eileen, staunch and stoic, valued the importance of education, ethics, and discipline. She instilled my love of art and opera. My mother recognised early in my life the challenges I would be confronted by, she prepared me, and she shaped me to resilience. My Māori Anglican father Hoani, charismatic and enigmatic, treasured people and the importance of relationships, enduring and intergenerational.

Over the decades, I was gently politicised to the issues of the day, accompanying him and his father Hori to many meetings of the late 1960s—from Whanganui Māori land incorporations and civic affairs through to Waitangi Tribunal Whanganui land and river claims in the 1980s and beyond. I was enveloped in the kōrero and whakaaro of the old people. How richly influenced I was, without realising.

My mother’s devout work ethic and discipline, with my father’s sense, spirit, and soul for community, instilled in me the ability to move with poise, humility, and confidence in the two worlds I was raised—Te Ao Māori and Te Ao Pākehā—and destined me, it seemed, some measure of responsibility to public service and scrutiny.

I come to this House from the privilege of whakapapa, whānau, relationships, and values, from the privilege of parents who cared to aspire, inspire, and perspire. I come to this House with diversity. I also come to this House shaped by adversity: judged for being Māori, but not being Māori enough; for not looking or sounding Māori; for being Pākehā—judged simply as a misfit at most times; treated differently. On my first day at law school I was told I was not good enough and would not graduate. I graduated in 1991, the first in my family with a tertiary degree and not the last, and embarked on a career of service in the law in the social, justice, and health sectors, helping and serving others in Whanganui for almost 30 years now.

As a maiden lawyer, I remember well the wise counsel of colleague John Rowan QC: “Harete, you must be fearless in advocacy.” And fearless I was. In 1995, I was a barrister, a young mother, and Whanganui Māori woman treading in the footsteps of those who had gone before, this time into the modern frontier of the court and justice system—a confronting assault to the senses and self by the power of the State, the police, and the justice system during the Pākaitore Moutoa Gardens occupation, a brutal, out-of-balance experience that was challenging, isolating, and hurtful. Advocating for others when no other would and serving in the courtroom as an officer of the court, targeted I was and isolated—a “hollow way” of police action—unlawfully detained, searched, and assaulted, strong-armed policemen imprinting my body DNA on a courtroom foyer wall. I was non-resistant, shoved down the stairs, and tossed out the courthouse front doors into full public view and dismissal.

Duty and service, fairness and resilience, mistreated by the colour of prejudice—this is a snapshot shared, simply that I bring to this House the personal experience of adversity. I have been yelled at, sworn at, spat at, punched, demeaned, ostracised, and abused in my role as an advocate, and with the experience of many others’ adversity from my years of advocating their plight before the justice system, the health system, and the social welfare system, I bring experience. The police cells, the court cells, the youth justice cells, the prison cells, the mental detention cells, the child welfare homes and aged-care homes, the domestic violence, child abuse, people abuse, drug addictions, mental health afflictions—I come to this House with experience.

My voice in this House is an elected voice to advocate fearlessly for those in need of that voice, and here I stand today to fearlessly speak that voice as a voice also for others. I shall advocate my electorate’s business, economic, and environmental issues, tasking and holding this Government to account. I shall also represent fearlessly and with force all issues affecting our Whanganui electorate and of Whanganui south and central Taranaki, for the protection of our coastal and fresh waters and life forces against unsustainable mining and other practices, for our ngahere, forests and trees, fauna, and river; Te Awa Tupua, the longest legal case in New Zealand history, an unwavering, enduring, unrelenting commitment of Whanganui hapū and the legislative innovation and fortitude of the Hon Christopher Finlayson, legally personifying to preserve and protect our life-force resource; and I shall never forget or lose sight of the vulnerable and their interests, our babies, our children, our families, our elderly, our afflicted—the importance of the quality and sanctity of life.

Duty and loyalty—they are the fabric of my family ancestry. Family and community ethics; sufficiency; independence from State dictate, control, oppression, and suppression; and reliance on the very worth, value, and efforts of each other in community to uplift and affirm, to educate and achieve, and to aspire, inspire, and perspire—these National Party values align with those I was raised with and, in turn, my children.

Mr Speaker, with some indulgence please, if I may, I now turn to my family—recognising that my time has lapsed. In conclusion, I acknowledge my husband, Dean, for your quiet, enduring patience and supportive commitment—37 years. We persevered. Our greatest collaboration was our three children. To this day and every other day, I’m quietly proud of who you are.

Paparangi, our firstborn, is fearless, brave, vivacious, and resilient. Like your ancestors, you navigated local and distant waters, at times swift and turbulent, and at others flowing and favourable. You have achieved New Zealand, American, and Australian honours, Papa, in their waters. Row and sail with a force, my girl, strong and sure of who you are and from whence you have come.

Keepa, you bear the name and, with it, the mana of your ancestor. You return briefly to your home shores, continuing to navigate nations united from your base in New York. Strive worthily for knowledge, intellectual acuity, national and international connectivity, and peace.

Roimata, our pōtiki, you oxygenate the home fires, our ahi kā, with thoughtful warmth and tenderness. You navigate your course always with a quiet, yet resolute, disposition. Make and find your way, with guiding support always near.

I share this simply because my children have shared and gained from the privilege and opportunity of purpose, full education and experiences rooted in the values and ways of whakapapa, connectivity, and community. One day, may these same opportunities be the norm for all children and families in our nation.

Finally, I come to this place after having plied and applied the law for 30 years, and am now to help shape the law. I represent Te Ao Māori, I represent Te Ao Pākehā, and this is who I am. Spoken now—a maiden no more—and with your support, I take my place. E timata—it begins!


Matt King’s maiden speech

November 21, 2017

Northland MP Matt King’s maiden speech:

Ko Matt King Toku Ingoa

No Te Noota Ahau

No Reira 

Tēnā Koutou, Tēnā Koutou, Tēnā Tatou Katoa

Mr Speaker can I start by congratulating you on your election to the prestigious role of speaker.

I look forward to your many positive rulings over the next 3 years … in our favour.

Members of Parliament, ladies and gentlemen, friends and family, I stand before you filled with pride as the representative of the people of Northland.

I’m proud to be a National Party MP in the most powerful and united opposition this Parliament has ever seen.

Today is my opportunity to introduce myself, share my journey and what I hope to achieve while I’m there.

I come from the mighty Northland a truly beautiful place steeped in history.

I live a short distance from the harbour where Kupe first landed on our shores. 

A short distance from the site of our first Maori settlement and the region with the largest Iwi Ngapuhi.

Our electorates largest town is Kerikeri and it’s also the site of our first permanent European settlement and NZ’s oldest surviving building The Stone Store.

In the beautiful coastal town of Russell we have NZ’ first capital and across the water at Waitangi the grounds where the Treaty was signed.

These factors taken together make us the birthplace of our nation. 

The vast Northland electorate stretches from Cape Reinga and 90 mile beach in the North across to the beautiful Whangaroa and BOI harbours in the east to Dargaville and the mighty Tane Mahuta Kauri in the west then wrapping around Whangarei and extending past Wellsford and Mangawhai to the south.

We have 1700kms of coastline and the best scenery in the country despite what my colleague Tamati Coffey might try and tell you.

We enjoy the country’s highest average temperature, we have 3.6 per cent of the population and just over 5% of the land area.

We are a region with many challenges but I am incredibly positive and optimistic about our future.

It’s a true honour to be voted in by the people of Northland to represent them and it’s a real privilege to be one of 120 people tasked with the responsibility of ensuring this country is governed well.

I want to acknowledge our leader Bill English and our senior management team both past and present for their leadership and guidance of our country over the past 9 years through the GFC, the Christchurch earthquakes and several other major challenges we have faced as a Nation.

Mr Speaker, can I also acknowledge our Party President, Peter Goodfellow and the National Party board he leads.

I want to acknowledge Northern Region Chair Andrew Hunt and his executive and finally our general manager Greg Hamilton and the crew from the service centre whom I am told are possibly the best team we have ever had.

I would also like to acknowledge my predecessors and the work they have put into the Northland electorate.

I would like to acknowledge my National Party colleagues especially from the 2017 intake and my colleagues from across the house for their success in getting here.

We enjoyed some time together during the induction period before the games began and I look forward to working with all of you on the various select committees and other duties.

I would like to mention and acknowledge my two main opponents in Northland Labour’s Willow Jean Prime for showing the same determination and perseverance as I have to make it here.

And NZ First Winston Peters for being unrivalled in his longevity as New Zealand’s longest serving and possibly best known Politician.

It’s important to me that as one of the front men we never forget the team behind us working away to ensure our success.

To my superb Northland electorate team a huge thank you to you all.

I am nothing without you, I appreciate every bit of time, every effort and every bit of encouragement that you have all put in. I want you to enjoy our success because it is OUR success.

Mr Speaker I want to make special mention of our Electorate Chair Rose Ellis. Rose is a massive asset to Northland.

In the 2015 by-election she drove over 10,000kms in one month and put in countless hours of work all at her own cost to support the National campaign in Northland.

In our 2017 campaign Rose didn’t let up she led from the front and really did make a huge difference and I will never forget that.

Mr Speaker I would also like to single out for special mention my campaign chair Grant McCallum.

Grant is a former National Party board member and a man with a mountain of knowledge who was and is a huge help to me.

Grant’s guidance and advice were critical to our success.

Mr Speaker I want to offer my thanks to all Northlanders who supported me through the campaign and put their faith in me to be their representative.

My political career began in 2010 when I entered the rather prolonged race to be the Northland candidate for the 2011 election.

I made the short list on that occasion but didn’t make the podium.

Having no desire to be an MP anywhere but Northland I essentially shelved my political dreams and got on with what was a pretty good life.

Then rather unexpectedly along came round two in 2015. This was a mad dash to the finish in a greatly shortened selection process and this time I made the podium but didn’t get the gold.

Finally in late 2016 in round 3  I made it across the line and was selected as the National Party candidate for Northland.

On that day my campaign began and did not stop until late on 22 September with my electorate chair Rose Ellis balancing on my shoulders pulling out the last nail of our last hoarding.

I credit this long and onerous campaign and my team for our ultimate success in winning back Northland.

Mr Speaker a bit about my early history and my journey here.

I want to thank my family, starting with my wonderful parents who gave me the best start in life anyone could wish for.

If everyone experienced the upbringing I had there would be no need for Policeman or Judges, lawyers or prisons, you wouldn’t even need locks on your doors.

I am the eldest son of Joe and Jenny King who this year celebrated 52 years of marriage.  My father a well-respected Chiropractor and farmer and my mother a school teacher and fantastic provider.

My parents worked really hard for what they have and made many sacrifices to give us the life we enjoyed.

My father’s word is his bond, a handshake seals the deal. He leads by example and set the bar high.

Words cannot describe how proud I am of them.

I was also blessed to briefly know my oldest sister Joanna who was taken from us at a young age. I have one younger sister Tara and one younger brother Patrick whom I admire greatly.  

I’m the proud father of three amazing children, Jake, Robbie and Jasmine and the husband to an incredible woman and mother my wife Sarah.

I was born 50 years ago in Auckland and moved north at aged 9.  We grew up on a picturesque hill country farm in the mid-north which we now own.

We have an amazing life on that farm, swimming in and drinking water from the two rivers that flow through it.

Riding our horses and dirt bikes across the hills, hiking through the bush, eeling in the creeks, scaling the cliffs and climbing deep into the glow worm caves …our farm has it all.

40 years later nothing has changed we can still do that although these days I much prefer to sit on the riverbank and watch my kids do the action stuff.

After leaving schools and scraping together some cash I left on my big OE.

I bought an old American Ford station wagon in San Francisco and for a year it was my home whilst I travelled the length and breadth of North America clocking up over 20,000 miles covering many parts of Mexico, the US and Canada. This was a huge adventure filled with incredible memories and recommend it to all.

On returning to NZ I completed 3 years of study graduating from Auckland University with a Bachelor of Science.

After graduating I followed in my grandfather’s footsteps and joined the Police.

During my 14 year Police career I got to experience the human race in all its glory.  I dealt with the sad the mad and the bad.

I saw and experienced things that cannot be unseen and came out of it at the other end with a heightened level of compassion for people that has never left me.

I learnt many of my most valuable life lessons during this period of my life.

I like to share with you a story about my grandfather also named Joe a policeman for 30 years.

He ended up on the North Shore in Auckland before the harbour bridge was built.

He was the sole policeman from Campbell’s Bay to Waiwera. I recall him telling me many stories from his policing days and these have stuck with me. 

I recall a story where my grandfather received a call to a bad car accident on the Orewa hill north of Auckland.

At that time a new cop had just been stationed in Orewa and my grandfather headed north to assist him.

He learned that a car had rolled that the 3 occupants had been thrown out and that the car had landed on one of them. That the injuries were life threatening head injuries and that it was pretty grim.

My grandfather was told that the injured passenger was his son, my father. On route to the scene my grandfather passed the ambulance going the other way heading to the hospital and knew his son was in it.

He continued on to the scene to help his mate the new cop and did his job because that’s the kind of man he was.

My grandfather has long passed away but if I am half the man he was and my father is then I will be doing alright.

Mr Speaker by far the biggest and proudest achievement of my university days was the discovery of my soul mate and love of my life my wife Sarah.

Sarah has been by my side for the past 27 years and is one out of the box.

I can honestly tell you I would not have made it here without her love and ongoing support.

Never has there been a truer word spoken than beside every successful man their stands a great and equally successful woman.

Mr Speaker I want to close with my dream for Northland.

I want a region where all of our children can grow up get educated, have a career and raise a family in Northland.

I want a region where all of our children are raised in the strong, stable and loving environment that I enjoyed.

That we can stem the flow of our young people out of Northland.

It’s especially personal to me as my son Jake is chasing his dream and training to be an airline pilot in Hamilton.

I would dearly love it if we grew to the stage where he could complete his training in Northland so I could get to enjoy having him around more often.

How do we do grow and prosper well it starts with investing in our infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our digital and energy network, our schools our hospitals and our people, especially our people.

I want to encourage our many talented people to step up, take leadership roles in our communities, become mentors and lead by example.

I want us to stop talking about the potential that Northland has, I want to realise it.

I am committed to keeping Northland on the map to keeping us front and centre.

To Northlanders I give you this promise I will work the hardest and the smartest that I can to achieve our dreams and our aspirations.

I’m proud to be a Northlander. I’m proud to be your MP.

Lawrence Yule’s maiden speech

November 20, 2017

National’s Tukituki MP, Lawrence Yule delivered his maiden speech last week:

Ki te iwi o Ngati Kahungunu, tena koutou

To all the people of Ngati Kahungunu, greetings

Ki nga hapu whanui o Heretaunga tena koutou

To all the hapu of Heretaunga, greetings

Ki nga kaumatua o Heretaunga tena koutou

To all the elders and leaders of Heretaunga, greetings

Kia ora mo te aroha, me te manaaki ki au mai ra no

Thank you for the love and support you have given me over the years

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The home and the family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In simple terms I want it gone from our society.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A new main hospital block and Fallen Soldiers Memorial Hospital in Hastings at approximately $150 -200 million.
The 4 laning of the Hastings to Napier Expressway.
Assistance with Central Hawkes Bay 3 Water upgrades
Assessment and possible construction of a new school in Havelock North.
Mr Speaker I am incredibly grateful to the people of Tukituki for placing me in this chamber. I will represent them with all my knowledge, skill and humbleness.

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

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

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa

Erica Stanford’s maiden speech

November 19, 2017

East Coast Bays’ MP Erica Stanford delivered her maiden speech this week:

Mr Speaker, can I congratulate you Sir, on your successful election to the role of Speaker.

I look forward to your rigorous application of the rules of this House and of course your great leniency when dealing with this freshly-minted member from the East Coast Bays. 

Under your stewardship Sir, I can see this House is moving with the times.

I was so very pleased to see you bouncing one of the beautiful babies of the House on your knee during a debate last week.

The Member from Pakuranga certainly seemed to enjoy his time on the big chair.

In all seriousness Sir, your commitment to making this a family friendly workplace is admirable and to see you leading, literally from the front, was quite a special moment. 

I would like to start today, by acknowledging and thanking the people of the East Coast Bays for their trust and confidence in electing me as their representative to this Parliament.

I am deeply humbled by the support that I have received from my community – and I am especially proud to be the first female MP for East Coast Bays.

This is my first rodeo… and as a rookie I owe a debt of gratitude to many people for their support on this ride into Parliament.

In particular I would like to thank my electorate Chair, Scott Browne, my high-school buddy and campaign chair Vernon Tava, and my dear friend and right-hand man, Tony Hannifin.

Today I must also acknowledge and thank my predecessor, and former boss of four years, the Honourable Murray McCully.

Murray was first elected as MP for East Coast Bays in 1987, a day after my ninth birthday, with the slim majority of 311 votes.

For 30 years he was a hard-working and well respected local MP, evident in the fact that he left Parliament with an impressive majority of over 15,000, which is a monumental effort and … just shy of my very first majority of 16,000.

I jest Mr Speaker, but I am well aware I am fortunate to ride the shoulders of this political giant. 

And of course he will go down in history as one of our finest Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

I am who I am because of my family and I owe them all so much for their part in getting me here today.

To my parents.  Thank you for making me watch the 6 o’clock news every single night growing up.

Thank you for coaching me through all those debates and speeches at school and for encouraging me every step of the way.

To my incredible husband, and partner of 21 years, Kane.

Our names on the Rangitoto College 5th Form Speech Trophy, a year apart, sum us up so well.

While I pontificated over the relevance of the United Nations and the changes that I believed were required for a more effective organisation for 10 – probably insufferable – minutes, he talked about bus drivers.

You are the Yin to my Yang and we make a great team. Thank you for supporting me in this role and taking charge at home while I’m away.

And to my children – Holly and Alex – you guys ROCK. 

I am so very proud of you.  Holly you changed my world and you continue to amaze me with the things that you accomplish. 

Alex, my special little guy – you make my heart sing.

My journey to Parliament has been a rather windy road with many deviations along the way.

My first job was stacking shelves on the night shift at the Warehouse for $4.50 an hour.

A job as a telephone market researcher helped to support me through my Political Science degree at Auckland University.

From there I had three distinct careers and a short stint as a stay at home mother, the combination of which has provided me with many insights across the private and public sector.

I worked as Export Manager for two iconic New Zealand manufacturers.

I spent most of my 20s travelling through Asia, Europe and the Middle East promoting unique and innovative Kiwi products from placemats to acoustic insulation.

I know first-hand that the incredible reputation of our country and our people overseas is invaluable.

And that we must continue reducing trade barriers to create a level playing field for our exporters and access much larger markets.

I stand for a confident, ambitious, outward-looking New Zealand that sees the world as a field of opportunities, not a vast unknown to be regarded with fear and suspicion.

We should be open to the world, not try to close ourselves off from it.

After a short break to start a family I took on a new career as a television producer – of everyone’s favourite genre…. reality TV.

I worked on a number of shows involving noise control officers, dog control teams and the Lifeguards of Piha Rescue.

I put it to you Mr Speaker – that my skills in reality television will hold me in good stead for my time in this House.

Whether that be for the Neighbours at War across the floor…. the explosive drama of THE Marriage at First Sight between New Zealand First and the Greens.  Or this Parliament’s special edition of Survivor with the Member from Epsom.

From there I worked for Murray McCully in the East Coast Bays electorate office, helping thousands of locals, businesses and organisations navigate their way through various government departments.  This really was the pointy end of policy and reinforced my passion for my community and for solving problems.

Mr Speaker, the East Coast Bays is a very special place and has always been my home.

Kane and I raise our family a stone’s throw from where I spent my childhood, swimming at Long Bay beach, and traipsing through the Okura Bush.

I was born and raised there, met Kane at Rangitoto College and we married on the bank of the Long Bay marine reserve.

I play in a local hockey team, chaired my local business association, and I’ve worked in the electorate for the last eight years.

The East Coast Bays reaches from the majestic Okura Estuary in the north – a pristine marine reserve and breeding ground for the Hauraki Gulf.

To Murray’s Bay in the south, where kids do bombs off the new wharf in summer and west out to Albany – once orchards and strawberry fields – now the bustling business hub of the North Shore. 

We are home to Rangitoto College, the largest high school in NZ, High Performance Sport New Zealand, Massey University’s Albany campus and Business North Harbour, the largest business association in NZ.

About half of the electorate was born overseas.

We have thriving communities of South Africans, Koreans, Chinese, British, Dutch, and many others. Our ethnic diversity makes the Bays a unique, culturally rich, interesting place to live.

It’s a beautiful, busy, thriving place, and it’s growing at a rate of knots.

There are many things that I want to achieve for the East Coast Bays and my priority is to ensure that we accommodate this growth.

That we continue to deliver more classrooms for our local schools, some of which are nearing capacity.

I will be advocating for better transport solutions for the somewhat overlooked Shore.

I will be applying pressure to clean up our waterways that feed into the beaches that our kids swim in.

To help protect our marine reserve for future generations.

And to preserve those precious green spaces that the rural urban boundary has, up until now, been safeguarding. 

And it is my community from which I draw my inspiration.

I’m inspired by parents in my electorate who make great sacrifice for their children, working to ensure that the next generation have opportunities they did not.

I’m inspired by businesses like Rex Bionics and Sealegs Marine in Albany who are taking on the world, punching above their weight in typical Kiwi style.

By people that get together to preserve and protect our environment like Restore Deep Creek, Friends of Okura Bush and the Long Bay-Okura Great Park Society.

By people who go above any beyond the call of duty like our local school principals and our famous bird lady, Sylvia.

In my electorate, every day, I see people working hard to do great things, to protect our place, provide for future generations and to help their community.

I want to work in a Parliament that gives these Kiwis, all Kiwis, the opportunity to succeed.

Where you are brought up influences your values. So does how you are brought up.

My parents have played a huge part in shaping the values that have guided me through life thus far and will, indeed, guide me here in this Parliament.

My father arrived in New Zealand from the Netherlands as a five year-old with his parents and three brothers.

Like so many immigrants, they came to this country in search of a better life, willing to work hard, to embrace their new country, and to make sacrifices to achieve their dreams.

Despite having very little, and losing his father at a young age, dad worked hard at school, and later took a job at the local freezing works to support himself through flight school to follow his dream of flying for his new nation’s airline.

His 40 years of service and elevation to 747 Captain at Air New Zealand are testament to the fact that there is no substitute for hard work and that fruits of your labour are a direct result of the effort that you put in. 

My mother worked in our family business growing hothouse grapes for export. The long hours she spent in that intolerably hot glasshouse were to pay for school fees to give my brother, sister and I, the best start in life.

Thank you Mum, for your sacrifice, for your hard work and for making me the kind of mother that sacrifices everything for my children.

Perhaps one of the most valuable things I inherited from my father is that famous Dutch pragmatism.

I come to this House with an open mind.

My outlook is not restricted by the blinkers of inflexible political ideology.

Rather, I am a firm believer in the importance of constantly scanning for great ideas that can so often lie in the periphery of our vision.

I am interested in what works.

An example of something that works and one of the great success stories in my electorate is the Vanguard Military Academy. 

Vanguard is a partnership school that has been incredibly successful at helping young people who have not done well in the mainstream education system.

Not only were many of these young people not succeeding academically, they told me that they’d lost any belief in their own ability to succeed.

This school, quite simply, has turned their lives around.

I sat down with students from Vanguard and I have seen for myself, the confidence and hope in the eyes of these young people who now have futures that they are looking forward to, for the first time.

That’s why I find it very troubling indeed that this government plans to shut down these schools purely on the basis of rigid political ideology.

If we are serious about helping young people with dramatically different backgrounds and life experiences then we can’t rely on the same old approaches, done the same old way.

The backdrop to my childhood was sausage sizzles, cake stalls and garage sales to raise money for one community project or another. But it was my parents’ work to protect the Okura Estuary from a proposed tip site that had the greatest impact on me.

Okura is officially recognised as a jewel in our back yard, part of a pristine marine reserve bordered by a protected native forest and a coastal walkway visited by over 70,000 people a year.

But had it not been for a group of passionate locals and environmentalists who fought for over a decade in the 1980s it would now be an environmental disaster zone.  

This battle was one of the defining moments for the electorate, it led to the protection of the Okura native forest and the establishment of the Long Bay Marine Reserve.

I would like to pay tribute to the many different local conservation groups who fought, and continue to battle, to protect this very special place.

I am sad to say that the potential removal of the rural urban boundary will likely mean that your work is far from over.

I am committed to continuing to work with the many environmental community groups in the East Coast Bays….. to muck in with you, to help you, and to promote the work that you do.

Because our greatest treasure is this beautiful land.

In the immortal words of Neil and Tim Finn, we glisten like a pearl at the bottom of the world.    But we can’t take this for granted. It is a priority for us to restore and preserve this great treasure.

It has always bothered me that environmental protection is cast as somehow a left-wing issue.

Conservation, the care and preservation of nature, is part and parcel of the conservative political tradition to which my party belongs.

I, for one, don’t believe that capitalism and environmental protection can’t sit together.

The reality is – that environmental protection is a priority for all of us. To solve the challenges that face our generation and the ones to follow, we will need to go beyond conventional political boundaries. 

I am interested in what works.

We need a successful economy to pay for the choices that we make to protect our environment.

We need a diverse economy to add value to our world-class primary produce and tread more lightly on the land.

We need to co-operate across sectors and across parties so that the good work of one government is not undone by the next.

Sir, I come to this House believing in freedom, personal responsibility and achievement through hard work and determination. 

And I believe that, as a society, it is our duty to help those most in need.

If we are to improve the lives of all Kiwis, we need a society that fosters these values.

We must be ambitious in our thinking and be aspirational about what we can achieve.

Open to the world, not fearful of it.

Flexible in our approach and focussed on what works, wherever the ideas may come from.

Mr Speaker – I love seeing the world through my children’s eyes, and seeing how ‘normal’ can change so much in just one generation.

It will be normal for them to have a young female Prime Minister, it will be normal for them to have their marriages defined by love and not gender, and it will be normal for them to think about sustainability in every aspect of their lives.

Sir – I relish the challenge of working on policy that will continue to place us on the right side of history.


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