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Peoples : How would bring Maori & Pakeha into a multi-ethnic future? Labour Leadership Q&A #5

Posted by on September 11th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 5

Peoples : How would bring Maori & Pakeha into a multi-ethnic future?

Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over the past 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog starting yesterday (Tuesday 10th September), till Friday 13th September. All-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.


Question : How are you going to blend the two main traditions we have in New Zealand, Maori and Pakeha, to provide the basic identity profile with which we can go forward into a multi-ethnic future?

Submitted by : Ian Free, Auckland



Answer from David Cunliffe

A Labour Government that I lead would honour the Treaty of Waitangi and invest in that proud diverse future.

I will commit to a regular series of iwi forums across the country, to develop lasting partnerships with all major iwi. I want to demonstrate that Labour is committed to the treaty partnership and it is part of how we work together.

We would encourage the arts across the board, and invest in further building our unique, strong national identity. But most of all, I have a deep and unswerving commitment to honour the diversity of all our communities and all our people.

As a West Auckland MP, with almost 40% of my constituents not born in NZ, I also know the value of an inclusive multiculturalism built on our bicultural foundations.

Both are built on the same principles that are fundamental to Labour – that every New Zealander is of the same moral value – and that every Kiwi kid deserves a good start so they can make the best of their lives.
Labour needs to deepen its alliances with our ethnic communities. Labour’s policy of a creating a Ministry of Ethnic Affairs with new powers and responsibilities will help to achieve this. Their struggle for a fair chance in New Zealand is part of our broader struggle for a fairer, more decent New Zealand that celebrates diversity.


Answer from Shane Jones

As our leader I am totally confident that I can offer a unifying influence given my ancestry, education and communication.

Identity is not static. It is imperative however we not cast ourselves adrift from the bi-cultural narrative inherent in the Treaty of Waitangi.

The creative sector and our curriculum should encourage the blending of Maori culture into our broader civic culture.


Answer from Grant Robertson

I think the word ‘blend’ in the question comes from the wrong starting point.

For me, using the Treaty of Waitangi as the base as our founding document we can create a strong foundation.

I support New Zealand becoming a republic, but it must be done acknowledging the Treaty. I also support the teaching of Te Reo Maori in all schools as a way of strengthening our culture.

What we must do is support the celebration of the many cultures in New Zealand, including through language and culture weeks, teaching of language in schools.

Our rich diversity provides a terrific platform to build our nation for the 21st century.


Remember Bastion Point

Posted by on November 15th, 2012

The Ngati Whatua Orakei Settlement Bill passed its third reading today. As an Aucklander the occupation of Bastion Point, and Ngati Whatua’s 170 year struggle for justice has always meant a great deal to me. I felt really privileged to be able to contribute to the debate on behalf of Labour.

Ngati Whatua’s loss of land, and their extraordinary struggle to hold on to some of it, and then get some back, is a story every Aucklander should know. The 1987 Waitangi Tribunal report sets it all out, including how city authorities in 1911 built an 8 foot high pipe across the foreshore to discharge the city’s raw sewerge onto Ngati Whatua’s shellfish beds.

And the compulsory acquistion and forced clearance in 1951 of the village at Okahu Bay. Today’s kaumatua remember watching their houses being burned to the ground.

The turning point for Ngati Whatua, and arguably for race relations more broadly, was the 507 day occupation of Bastion Point led by Joe Hawke 1977-78 to stop the National Government of the day selling off the land for high income housing.

The eventual eviction of the protesters by police and army shocked the nation, including me.

To see the settlement finalised today, in light of that history, is quite something. Something that all New Zealanders can take pride in.

Hone Harawira’s speech in the debate was one to remember. He recalls the occupation of Bastion Point with great humour.


Jobs for the whanau – and the boys

Posted by on February 8th, 2012

The National party are up to their old tricks – appointing people very close to them to positions in a way that is not appropriate.

First Sir Wira Gardiner. Very talented. Appointed by the previous government to do some tricky tasks. But he is married to a Cabinet Minister. He should not be appointed by any Minister in the current government to paid employment. John Key and Bill English have appointed him to sell their asset sales process to Maori.

The Labour government was very strict on this issue. Spouses were even rejected when they topped processes for voluntary advisory groups. It might seem prim and proper but processes need to be seen to be beyond corruption.

And now it appears that one of the two Nat MPs from the last intake who wasn’t good enough to make the extended list to get back in again has been employed to put the chairs out at the very same meetings that Gardiner is running. I’m not sure if Paul Quinn would be very helpful in any role.