Labour maidens – Willow-Jean Prime

Written By: - Date published: 5:27 pm, November 12th, 2017 - 29 comments
Categories: labour, Parliament, vision - Tags: ,

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be covering selected maiden speeches by the Government’s new MPS. Here’s Willow-Jean Prime taking a strong stand for all of us.

This is the house of the people.
This is not a place for empty words.
It is a place to do right for our people, with our people.
Together.

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MAIDEN SPEECH – WILLOW-JEAN PRIME

Kaore te ki patu te makere noa i te ngutu
He porutu waihoe i a Kawana i runga e
Matau ana roto i te hau korero
E herengia koia te rakau ka whiria e
Te ata whakarangona nga mahi o te arero
Ko to tinana ra i waiho atu i tawhiti e
Ko to pai reo kau ka tuku mai ki ahau
Kia ahu ai atu e arotau mai ana e
Ka te tiriwa te ripa ki Akarana
Ka puwahea te rae ki Tautoro ka whakamutu ano nga rangi o te whakarongo e

The words of this waiata are from a letter sent by Hone Heke to Governor Grey.

Heke is reprimanding the Governor for moving the capital away from Okiato in the North, away from the people, and reprimanding him for his messages said from afar.

Empty words that fall so easily from his lips.

Empty words.

That’s something I am not here to indulge in.

I am here with a purpose. I know why I am here. I know who I represent.

I am a child of Te Tai Tokerau, the birthplace of our nation, where our founding document, Te Tiriti o Waitangi was signed.

I am the daughter of a Pakeha mother and Maori father.

I am proudly bicultural. I am proudly bilingual.

I stand here in this House of Representatives, proud to represent all New Zealanders.

I am here to uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It is who we are. It is all of us.

There is a Whakataukī:
“Tangata ako ana i te whare, te turanga ki te marae, tau ana”

It basically means the child who is taught well at home stands collected on the Marae.

TODAY I stand here in our Whare and I stand collected because I was well taught by my mum.
My mum who has always had the courage to do, what is not always easy, but what she felt is right.
Mum didn’t seem afraid of anything.
She’d chase a dangerous dog down the road with a stick, back to their owners with a warning that if it wasn’t tied up she would call the pound.
She would pull you up for spitting or littering.
She would stop hoons hooning up and down our streets.
She would not allow drinking or drugs around children.
She would call the police and report domestic violence.
Not even gang members or teens full of attitude intimidated her.
She was not always popular. I thought it was so shame.
But this is something I appreciate now as an adult and as a mother myself.
I now know it was because she cared about our community.

TODAY I stand here in our Whare and I stand collected because I was well taught by my Nana.

My first memory was walking up the hill to visit my Nana.
I loved visiting her.
She’d sit in her corner chair and we’d talk. And talk and talk and talk.
It was her that taught me how to work through my words.
How to use my words to create understanding.
And just how important words can be.

TODAY I stand here in our Whare and I stand collected
because I was well taught by my people and our history.

People like our Whaea Dame Whina Cooper.

A woman of conviction whose image and message is still carried deep in our hearts of our people.

Slight in frame.
Head scarf neatly tied below her chin.
Thousands of people in her wake.
Using her walking stick to hold the ground in place below her.
One step after the other.
She walked from the top of the north to the steps of Parliament and delivered a single message.
“Not one more acre of Maori land”.
As I make my own journey from the top of the North to the steps of Parliament, I look to this incredible Maori Woman from the North as inspiration.

TODAY I stand here in our Whare and I stand collected because I was well taught, and I continue to be well taught, by my Whanau.
By my Dad.
By my amazing husband Dion, holding it down at home. I love you so much.
By my sister Season-Mary and my brother Lloyd,
By my babies – my two beautiful election babies
Hihana Mairehau Belle Te Tau o Taku Ate
and Heeni Hirere June Te Kare o Nga Wai Prime
You have taught me so much and we have so much more to learn together!
I love you.
Mama loves you.

TODAY I stand here in our Whare and I stand collected because I was well taught by Moerewa.
I am really proud to come from Moerewa.
Despite our hardships, our community has remained strong.
We have a lot of heart. We support each other and we try to lift everyone up.

I am privileged to have be lifted up to stand here today.

As with each and every one of us in this Whare, I recognise that privilege, and I recognise that when I stand here I stand as my mum, as my nana, as my people, and as my community.
This is a great responsibility.
But it gives me great strength.
Like I said, I know why I am here.
I know what I am here to do.

In the words of our Whaea, Dame Whina Cooper and in the actions of my mother:

“Take care of our children. Take care of what they hear, take care of what they see, take care of what they feel, for how the children grow, so will be the shape of Aotearoa.”

But Aotearoa is not in good shape! We have not been heeding this advice. We are not taking care of our children.

I have travelled, from the top of the North to the steps of Parliament so that, like Dame Whina Cooper, I can be in Parliament and deliver my message:
Not one more child should live in poverty.
Not one more family without a home.
Not one more young New Zealander without a dream.

I now want to share a personal story that motivated me and that is was probably inevitable that I would end up be here today.

As a student many years ago, I opened the newspaper and there was a full two page spread of wanted or convicted criminals.
Many of them were young.
Almost all were Maori and Pacifica.
Many of them I could tell from their names were Ngapuhi and one young man even carried our Ngati Hine tupuna name – Kawiti.
I was deeply saddened, angry and frustrated. How could the descendant of an ancestor whose signature is at the top of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, whose reputation as one of the most powerful military leaders, strategic thinkers and peacemaker be in this situation? This is not supposed to be his destiny, or anyone’s destiny.
I thought to myself we can’t just point the finger and blame, we have to do more, we have to try harder.
I believed then that:
If we addressed our history and the wrongs of the past;
If we had a proud sense of identity;
If we were more connected and took collective responsibility as whanau and communities;
If we were caring and supportive of not just our own whanau but others;
If our young people played more sports and had no time or energy to be haututu and get up to mischief;
If we could all do well at school then maybe, surely, it would be better than this.

Just a few months ago, over 10 years later, I literally saw the same thing on my backdoor step. Helicopter circling, cops searching with torches and dogs. Road blocks. All for a Maori boy who ended up handing himself in. And you know what, he carried the Kawiti too – I was absolutely gutted.

We’ve got to change this.
49% of our children in Northland live in poverty.
Our youth unemployment rate is over twenty percent.
We have one of the lowest average incomes in the country.
That’s not right.

But it’s not just Northland.
For too long our nation has been shaped to look after the few.
And it has come at the cost to the many.
We have allowed the economy to take the place of the people. It’s back to front!
I am here, with my people, my whanau, and my colleagues in Government to change this. To bring people, and our communities back into the centre of everything we do.

This is our nation, it belongs to us as a people: to Maori, to Pakeha, to our brothers and sisters who have joined us since the first footprints were laid down in sand.

But what does that mean?

It means:
Finding ways to rebuild the communities we have been losing.
It means protecting and growing our rights as people, not just as economic units, health clients, “clients” of any kind.
It means nurturing our children by nurturing their whanau their mums and dads and grandparents – all of those around them.
It means nurturing them through decent education and health – right from the start and with a focus on community – not just as individuals. To be loved by all of us, not turned into metrics.
And I want to say a bit about mental health and suicide here. It touches on all of us, my own house, my own street.
If our statistics weren’t bad enough, Northland has the highest youth suicide rate in the country. That is not right.

This nation belongs to all of us. It should be for all of us.
That means good jobs. Jobs that pay well and give people the freedom to live their lives, to take part in their communities, to be a part of them. To have warm, safe and dry homes.

It means finding our way back to who we are as New Zealanders.

That’s why I could never have stood here as anything other than a Labour MP. Because no other party speaks so strongly to these values and to the way I was brought up.

Just as I bring my people into this Whare with me, so too do my colleagues bring theirs.

And I want to echo our leader Jacinda here, we are a Government for All New Zealanders. And we will get this done with All New Zealanders.

This is the house of the people.
This is not a place for empty words.
It is a place to do right for our people, with our people.
Together.

 

29 comments on “Labour maidens – Willow-Jean Prime”

  1. Paul Campbell 1

    Umm … excuse me, standing here in the airport security line, there’s something in my eye … must be the hayfever or something

    • In Vino 1.1

      It could be that biblical plank, you know? Or whatever other term applies according to which version of the bible..

  2. Incognito 2

    Respect!

  3. Dan 3

    Magic. Uplifting.

  4. patricia bremner 4

    A very moving speech.

    Practicing what is spoken can be harder as she discovered when faced with Willie joining Labour, sorry for past things, wanting to make things better.

    Willow found it hard to accept he was genuine, and embarrassed her then Leader Andrew Little.

    As Willow said all of the people, ahead of anything else. should be helped.

    When you are for all people, that means those like and unlike you, even those who offend at times. We were all someone’s baby.

    Becoming a mother gives rise to universal understanding of things partly grasped.

    To govern for all means accepting difference, while providing guidelines. This goes both ways of course.

    Some of us need to put people ahead of financial planning getting ahead and doing well. Perhaps then the suicide and incarceration stats will improve.

  5. srylands 5

    I found it empty rhetoric. Precisely what policies is she advocating?

    • Muttonbird 5.1

      Maiden speeches aren’t about rattling off lists of policies. They’re used to set out a person’s vision and values.

      • tracey 5.1.1

        Vision and values? You lost srylands right there…. his head may have exploded.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1

          Nah, he has both.

          Vision: to become Paula Rebstock.

          Values: a tradable commodity in today’s market.

    • dv 5.2

      Nope
      Principled.
      Need principles first, then policies.

      Bit of a shift after the las 9 yrs.

    • Al 5.3

      It is her first speech in the house. What were you expecting? Detailed policy and analysis?

    • Incognito 5.4

      People that repeat themselves often have very little to say 😉

    • AB 5.5

      She’s advocating that we don’t structure our society as a joyless sh*thole where we all have to scramble over each other to get ahead or just survive. High-level stuff but its a place from which policy can flow.
      Sryland’s dislike of it isn’t because it’s “empty” at all. It’s not empty, he just disagrees with the content.

    • cleangreen 5.6

      Srylands why do you act with so much insensitivity without any shame for your lack of humanity & compassion?
      Are you really just a computer programmed prompt?

  6. tracey 6

    “We have allowed the economy to take the place of the people.”

    THIS ^^^^^^^ Chanting the economy, the economy, the economy stupid, is lazy and has produced the results you would expect from laziness. How money is generated and spent matters because of the decision made by so many of us to pursue consumerism as happiness. BUT it is not above the people or the environment. The economy (money) ought to be view as the means by which the people and the environment thrives.

    For those who say it is |Just words”, I urge you to read it again, and slide your mind open a little. For those who say where is her policy, I say stick your foot in the door of your mind and hold it open a little longer. By coupling her words to your knowledge of the Labour policy and Labour/NZF/Greeen agreements you can see the how.

    ” Finding ways to rebuild the communities we have been losing.
    It means protecting and growing our rights as people, not just as economic units, health clients, “clients” of any kind.
    It means nurturing our children by nurturing their whanau their mums and dads and grandparents – all of those around them.
    It means nurturing them through decent education and health – right from the start and with a focus on community – not just as individuals. To be loved by all of us, not turned into metrics.
    And I want to say a bit about mental health and suicide here. It touches on all of us, my own house, my own street.
    If our statistics weren’t bad enough, Northland has the highest youth suicide rate in the country. That is not right.

    This nation belongs to all of us. It should be for all of us.
    That means good jobs. Jobs that pay well and give people the freedom to live their lives, to take part in their communities, to be a part of them. To have warm, safe and dry homes.”

    • cleangreen 6.1

      100% tracey.

      We need to put ‘people also as part of our environment’ as being ‘holistic’ and being considered in that way.

      You have tippified it pretty clearly and I wished our poiticians would heed the reason why they were elected as “public servants in the first place”..

      US said it right; “For the people by the people”

      “This is the house of the people.
      This is not a place for empty words.
      It is a place to do right for our people, with our people.
      Together.”

      As I said Tracey, the politicians are firstly “Public servants” and as such must do all that’s in the best interests of the public.

      • tracey 6.1.1

        Sadly there is rarely consensus on what is in the “best interests” of the public. That is why I still favour MMP which gives us the best chance to get that right by not just thinking about as many groups as possible but having as many groups as possible at the table contributing to the policy/implementation.

        • cleangreen 6.1.1.1

          Thats a good pint tracey.

          Can Jacinda have her agencies construct a list of rules/considerations/policy placed in all PM’s guidelines going forward for parliamentary “consensus on what is in the best interests” of the public. ”

          For this new government with a new policy “to change how Government operates in the interest of the people” then it can become a new list of duties all MPs must observe during their consideration of any “changes” going forward to make those promised changes?

  7. savenz 7

    Fantastic speech.

    It will be interesting what a Labour led government does. Because things like the TPP trade agreements, many of which are already signed and effects being felt but covered up by faulty statistics, are not going to help Northland kids at all. Getting rid of some of the clauses will do little. Much of NZ wealth is already going offshore.

    Taking land and the profit from industry and leaving the pollution, ecological damage and costs for the locals to clean up. The effects are not even being revealed yet.

    The new government can borrow money or raise taxes, and put up benefits and build more hospitals and have better education to mask it for a short time, but what then? In 10 years, 20 years and 100 years what will happen to Kiwi’s? Will they be 2nd class citizens, surviving on subsidised wages or benefits, with the Paula Bennett and Judith Collins the types of Kiwi’s who made it?

    Are we going to turn into the USA where previously well paid jobs are now contract, poorly paid and costs like accomodation are rising beyond their means so they have to commute 4 hours a day?

    Saw a documentary where part time university professors at a top University in the USA were saying, they can not afford to work for the university as their wages and temporary conditions are not at a level they can live off… They did not want to leave their prestigious job, but the pay was not equal with the job and not sustainable long term.

    So it’s not just low paid workers being shafted, it’s across the board, from academics to the middle class.

    I know a number of doctors who are disillusioned when they waste significant amount of time on paper work and bureaucrats and accountants effectively have more power than them.

    At the same time some types of pay are millions of dollars and increasing 20% per year. Apparently 8 people own as much wealth as 1/2 the planet.

    Rise of the accountants, bureaucrats and the mediocre.

    Very nice touch to mention the word, client in the speech.

    We are living in a world where the most powerful favour short term profit and maximising as much as they can get and want to keep it that way. Everyone else are clients and consumers and have little value beyond that.

    Living should not be a metric.

    • cleangreen 7.1

      100% savenz;

      Labour under jacinda after her Auckland Town hall speech offered us new hope so is jacinda able to deliver anything of the promises now that TPP 11 has ‘entrapted us ‘ as some claim?

      it will take jacinda to act desivively now and depart from this madness as Trump did as he pulled out so can Jacinda follow Trump lead on these foriegn takeover agreements.

  8. Mickomarvel 8

    One of the best maiden speeches I have ever heard. Ka pai, Willow-Jean.
    It was a privilege to meet this wonderfully centred and grounded young woman on the day that Jacinda visited Kaitaia during the election campaign.
    I suspect she will rise quickly through the ranks and become a capable and effective minister in the Government’s second term.

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