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Tariana Turia answers your questions

Written By: - Date published: 7:42 am, May 7th, 2008 - 40 comments
Categories: interview, maori party - Tags: , , ,

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We’re very pleased to have Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia respond to your questions as part of our Interview the Leaders series.

Question to all leaders:

Of which of your achievements in politics are you most proud?

I am most proud of having played a part in the creation of a movement which has given our people an independent voice in Parliament. Any achievements I may lay claim to are really the achievements of many people over a long time.  The photographs of Maori politicians which adorn the walls outside our offices remind us every day that we, the current Maori members of parliament, are part of a movement which started with them, way back in 1868. We owe them so much, those early Maori politicians who paved the way; we know they did the best they could in a political environment that was hostile to Maori.

The dam-burst and outpouring of political commitment and grass-roots involvement by tangata whenua that led to the creation of the Maori Party is a further development in the political maturation of our democracy.

As we say in the Maori world “Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini” which in this context is interpreted as meaning. “Mine are not the achievements of the individual but the achievements of the many”

From reader “higherstandard”: Can you envisage a NZ when there is no need for Maori seats in parliament?

Our position is crystal clear. The Maori seats are here to stay until our people decide otherwise.

On the wider question of Maori representation, it is important to note that the four Maori seats were created in 1867 to limit the political influence of Maori who would otherwise have been entitled to 14-16 seats in the parliament of 76. The term “European seats” finally ceased to be used in 1975.

Maori MPs in other political parties cannot claim to be the authentic and independent Maori voice in the Parliament. They are the Maori voices of Labour, National, Greens and New Zealand First who are bound by party whips to expound the views of their Parties, not of Maori.

With the advent of the Maori Party, as an authentic and independent Maori voice in Parliament, we aim to increase Maori participation in the democratic processes of Aotearoa.

The Royal Commission into the Electoral System thought the emergence of a Maori Party might make separate Maori seats unnecessary. But tangata whenua opposed that idea, arguing successfully that the seats had come to represent the voice of the Treaty partner, and a guaranteed Maori voice in Parliament, as a constitutional matter, should not be subject to the vagaries of political choices.

The Maori Party is keen to discuss constitutional arrangements tailored for Aotearoa/New Zealand, which may include the creation of a Parliamentary Tikanga Maori House alongside a Parliamentary Tikanga Pakeha House – to recognise the bicultural roots of the Nation envisaged by the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.

Treaty Settlements and the Maori seats should not be linked, one is about justice, the other about democratic participation.

From reader “Daveo”: Having an ethnic-based party makes a lot of sense when faced with a dominant settler majority often hostile to indigenous rights, but how do you intend to address the fundamental economic and class contradictions inherent in drawing support from both powerful Maori business interests and the large Maori working class?

The Maori Party is not ethnic-based, except that our kaupapa, or guiding principles and values, are drawn from tikanga Maori:

  • Manaakitanga
  • Rangatiratanga
  • Whanaungatanga
  • Kotahitanga
  • Wairuatanga
  • Mana Whenua
  • Kaitiakitanga
  • Mana tupuna/whakapapa
  • Te Reo Maori

None of the above lend themselves to the western non indigenous political commentary and analysis of binary opposites implicit in Daveo’s query.  We do not necessarily buy into the contradictions others do and then use those contradictions as a basis for forming relationships. We appeal to Maori on the basis of an independent Maori voice in Parliament regardless of economic status.  Many people from many diverse cultures endorse the values espoused by the Maori Party. The fundamental principles of whakapapa, whanaungatanga, kotahitanga and kaitiakitanga will determine the nature of the relationship with all our people.

40 comments on “Tariana Turia answers your questions”

  1. AncientGeek 1

    That is probably the best of the leaders posts that I’ve seen (so far). I got a clear sense of exactly who Tariana Turia is, and the history that she draws on.

    I particularly liked her answer on hs’s question about the maori seats. It’d be interesting to speculate on what would have happened in 1867 if the division had been less biased.

  2. higherstandard 2

    AG

    Agreed. Would that all leaders were so eloquent and honest.

    I don’t necessarily agree with all that Tariana says but I certainly respect her position and the manner in which her answers are put.

  3. AncientGeek 3

    hs: You get the impression that the other leaders to date are muffled a bit by politics.

    I find that despite my ongoing support for labour, that I’m gladdened by the rise of the maori party.

    Been advocating a more autonomous maori position since meeting some activists in the early 80’s. They were pointing out the horrendous statistics of prison populations, unemployment, etc. It was clear that the existing system was pretty useless. It was just a drag on the whole of society.

    Once I read back and looked the the previous failed policies like benevolent paternalism, assimilation, conquest, etc. I realized that the only approach that hadn’t happened was the one that maori activists had been advocating forever. Their control of their own economic assets. The treaty of waitangi settlement process has been great for giving them exactly that. In the 80’s, I thought it would take 40 years to have any major effects – and that is still what it looks like to me.

    But the rise of what looks like a young inexperienced, but this time sustainable, political party is a good sign. Especially since it is so orientated towards maori doing their own development.

    My family has been around NZ for a long time. The earliest is the 1830’s. One thing we’re very sure about is that maori strongly identify with their family structures and culture. That has seeped into the long-term family structures amongst kiwi/europeans here as well. Kiwi family culture has a distinctly extended family system.

    It has been interesting talking to my maori cousins and their families. They’re a hell of a lot happier about direction for their kids than they were when I was growing up with them.

  4. Rocket Boy 4

    I agree that Tariana answers are very full and well thought out.

    However I do have to wonder if Tariana actually lives in the real world with comments like:

    ‘Maori MPs in other political parties cannot claim to be the authentic and independent Maori voice in the Parliament. They are the Maori voices of Labour, National, Greens and New Zealand First who are bound by party whips to expound the views of their Parties, not of Maori.’

    She seems to think that there is some ‘special’ Maori point of view that only her party can represent when clearly there is not. Maori opinion and views are as diverse as the rest of New Zealand society and saying that only one party represents this is as naive as those who try and set up ‘Christian’ political parties to represent all Christians.

  5. higherstandard 5

    AG

    Agreed apart from very occasional lapses of judgement I think the Maori party has been excellent.

    Along with the Greens there the only parties whose politicians always say what they believe and don’t give you the impression they’re lying to your face.

    Although as I commented on another post the larger parties are often forced to be duplicitous and frugal with the truth to be populist especially in election years.

  6. higherstandard 6

    RB

    I think she’s having a valid dig at the Maori MPs in other parties having to toe the party line (Whipping etc) rather than having an independent or Maori central view reflective of their electorate.

    This is not a surprising position when you look at Tariana’s history with the Labour party where she was treated poorly.

  7. r0b 7

    the four Maori seats were created in 1867 to limit the political influence of Maori who would otherwise have been entitled to 14-16 seats in the parliament of 76

    Agreed with the comments so far in general, but on what basis would Maori have been entitled to 14-16 seats? Is that a claim purely about proportion of population, or am I missing some constitutional history here?

  8. It’s a classic dodge on the last question: ‘class dichotomy, what class dichotomy?’ As if Maori are somehow exempt from materialist interests.

    but good quality answers all over. Even the dodge is a part of politics and it’s pulled off well here. In some ways it’s not the specific answer they give but how they give it that is interesting.

  9. BeShakey 9

    HS – I agree with Rocket Boy that it is inaccurate to say that Maori MPs for other parties aren’t really representing the views of their constituents. Turia did have a bad time in Labour, in fact that seems to be the most important feature of her political psyche (at times it appears to be even more important to her than representing Maori). In many ways I think that Turia (not the Maori Party) represents many of the worst aspects of Maori politics. From the dealings I’ve had with her and have heard first hand accounts of, she probably has a genuine desire to promote the interests of Maori, but has no real idea about how to do this. Fortunately this is balanced, to some degree, by colleagues who share a similar desire but are less jaded and more intelligent.

  10. Matthew Pilott 10

    I agree with all the commentators here – these are very good quality answers! & thanks to Tariana Turia for putting some real time and thought into them.

    I had similar thoughts to Rocket Boy regarding the talk of other Maori MPs being forced to tow a party line, but I see her views being driven by a factor specific to the Maori Party.

    Every issue they touch becomes a race issue. To use a contentions example, the Ruatoki raids. They were all of a sudden all about White Imperialism and Oppression of Maori. Nothing to do with a bunch of jokers running about the bush with auotmatic weapons and molotov cocktails.

    There are countless examples of this, and while I understand the party sees itself as the advocates of all Maori, I think it must be asked is it of real benefit to Maori people to make everything a race issue?

  11. Judging by the interviews I have seen with her over the years and the comments that she has said, there is no way in hell, she came up with those answers.

  12. I don’t know Brett – many people are much better on paper than they are in soudbites. These are quite complicated ideas and I can imagine that if you took one sentence out of context (as if it were a soundbite) it might seem less thoughtful and more like a random thing to say.

    As an example a journo looking for some conflict (and sadly there ain’t many other kinds nowadays) might take this line:

    Maori MPs in other political parties cannot claim to be the authentic and independent Maori voice in the Parliament.

    And build a story around it that would be headlined:

    Other MP’s not real Maori says Turia

    Go figure…

  13. Tane 13

    Good point Sod, the Maori Party do get a rough time in the media.

    For example, you could just as easily turn

    On the wider question of Maori representation, it is important to note that the four Maori seats were created in 1867 to limit the political influence of Maori who would otherwise have been entitled to 14-16 seats in the parliament of 76.

    into

    Turia demands nine more Maori seats

  14. Oh I like this game.

    How about we take: The Maori Party is keen to discuss constitutional arrangements tailored for Aotearoa/New Zealand, which may include the creation of a Parliamentary Tikanga Maori House alongside a Parliamentary Tikanga Pakeha House – to recognise the bicultural roots of the Nation envisaged by the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.

    and turn it into:

    Turia calls for Maori law

    I can hear the Kiwiblog right’s shrill screaming already!

  15. Robinsod

    True, some people are better on paper than on television, but the way those answers were written, I could almost guarantee from the comments she has said in the past, that didn’t come from her pen.

    I understand, the Maori party wanted extra time to answer the questions, I guess they were looking for a good speech writer.

    By the way if those answers came from Dr Sharples, then I would agree, that he said that, but there is no way, Turia wrote that.

  16. Matthew Pilott 16

    The dam-burst and outpouring

    Hydro Disaster in Unspecified Location!

  17. Ben R 17

    “Every issue they touch becomes a race issue.”

    Very true. NoRight Turn highlighted her blatantly racist comments about immigration from European countries last year.

    “Turia’s comments are in short a nasty, racist little blurt, of exactly the sort indulged in by Winston Peters, though with a different target. And it will do her party no favours. Unfortunately, they seem to be less then concerned; Turia has apparently convinced them to adopt NZ First-style state racism as party policy.” http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2007/02/nasty-racist-little-blurt.html

    She’s also taken some bizarre positions, suggesting that race is the main factor in her opinions:

    – Supporting Donna Awatere Huata when she used money assigned for Maori children’s reading programmes for personal cosmetic surgery. “How dare you call her a thief”.

    – Saying Maori teenage pregnancy was not a problem. “go forth and multiply”

    – Refusing to criticise Robert Mugabe’s brutal slum clearance programme.

    – Supporting gangs and pulling Pita Sharples into line after he suggested they should be “named and shamed” last year.

  18. Matthew Pilott 18

    Ben R – the other one I had in mind was smoking. While it is true that smoking rates are far higher for Maori, it is not because they are Maori and genetically predisposed to it or whatever. The solution could be targeted at Maori parhaps, but the problem isn’t theirs alone, and calling it as such was cunterproductive.

    I guess the MP get more mileage out of ‘maori’ problems, but talking down their own culture – it’s not how I’d roll.

  19. deemac 19

    did no-one else notice that she did not actually provide a concrete answer (as opposed to political waffle) to the first question? Of course it’s hard for small paries to have “achievements” but then how do they justify their existence?
    So many social problems are a function of class, they just look like Maori issues because they are over-represented among the lower socio-economic groups. Does the MP have a raft of policies to address this?

  20. BeShakey 20

    Part of the problem seems to be she has a persecution complex. Maori have been screwed over by the state in the past (some of it the recent past), but why is she so desperate to equate their experiences to the holocaust? She might win some votes by appealing to a certain demographic (and lets face it, she clearly isn’t interested in appealing to many here), but she also runs the risk of alienating large portions of the voting public to the extent that it puts at risk the possibility of a coaltion that would actually achieve some of their goals.

    It’s also interesting that, following some initial love for her comments, a number of left-leaning people here are showing some distaste for her. I personally wouldn’t want to see them as part of a Labour coalition (maybe a confidence and supply agreement would be OK). She lacks the intellect to come up with workable solutions, or the skills (unlike Sharples) to unite the broader voting base behind a programme that would make real steps forward for Maori.

  21. outofbed 21

    Turia, Jeannette and Helen or
    John Rodney and Peter ?

    Tough choice eh ?

  22. higherstandard 22

    OOB

    At least the boys would agree with each other most of the time

  23. Lew 23

    The third response is the most important of these; it’s these kaupapa from which all maori party policy, and speech derive. The fundamental point is that it’s not a race-based party, it’s a philosophy-based party – just that the specific philosophical framework from which it emerges is a maori one. in this is’t no different to any other party; all are based on philosophy in one way or another, and all those philosophies are non-maori. most are explicitly European; based in political or social theories of the englightenment, or classical, liberal or neoliberal economics, or marxism, or environmentalism. The party is essentially an attempt to shift or modify the paradigm in which NZ politics is currently played out; the philosophical `rules of the game’ as it were. The name maori party, in lower-case, reveals this perspective, because the word `maori’ means `normal’ or `ordinary’. It could possibly be called `our party’ where the `us’ speaking is Maori people with a perspective rooted in traditional philosophy and values. In this respect it is more a populist party (with a particular focus) than anything else, a fact reinforced by the fairly rigorous programme of consultation its MPs and officials undertake around the country.

    I’m currently doing a MA on the differences in discourse between maori party MPs, other Maori MPs, and non-Maori MPs, trying to determine the extent to which this philosophical basis makes any difference to their discourse.

    A few other comments in response to others:

    RocketBoy: “She seems to think that there is some ?special? Maori point of view that only her party can represent when clearly there is not.”

    The point is that the diversity of different perspectives among Maori can in principle be united by their common basis in kaupapa learned through the experience of being Maori. They make no claim to represent people who identify as Maori per se – they make a claim to represent those who find significant value in traditional Maori philosophy.

    higherstandard: “I think she?s having a valid dig at the Maori MPs in other parties having to toe the party line (Whipping etc) rather than having an independent or Maori central view reflective of their electorate.”

    This is explicitly their point. Maori MPs have for decades been constrained by their party, becoming subalterns to other agendas – essentially the argument is that most Maori MPs have been Labour first, Maori second. This disjuncture only comes into full relief when the two agendas are totally incompatible, such as the Foreshore and Seabed. Obviously it’s not a zero-sum game, but anecdotal evidence such as the fact that four maori party MPs in their first year in parliament made ten times as many speeches as all other Maori MPs in the past decade gives some indication of how much that voice has been subsumed.

    Steve Pierson: “It?s a classic dodge on the last question: ?class dichotomy, what class dichotomy?? As if Maori are somehow exempt from materialist interests.”

    Same argument as made above: Maori have diverse views and even across a class divide can be united by their common history, upbringing and philosophical basis. How much you believe this is a matter of your own ideological bent, but it certainly can’t be discarded out of hand.

    Brett Dale: “Judging by the interviews I have seen with her over the years and the comments that she has said, there is no way in hell, she came up with those answers.”

    If you genuinely think the party leaders sit down and personally type out responses to these questions, you’re very naive. If not, you’re just taking a needless sideswipe at Turia.

    I entirely agree that the maori party has the media against them, just as Maori do in general. This is their major challenge: to re-normalise `maori-ness’ in NZ politics.

    L

  24. Lew 24

    Err, obvious cock-up in my above post: “four maori party MPs in their first year in parliament made ten times as many speeches as all other Maori MPs in the past decade” should read “four maori party MPs in their first year in parliament made as many speeches as all other Maori MPs in the past decade”.

    That’s ten years’ worth – not 100 years’ worth. Sorry.

    L

  25. Patrick 25

    OOB – I’m hoping your comment is meant to be flippant, because I don’t think bunching Winston in with John and Rodney is very wise.

    Disregarding ideological views (where I do think NZF is *normally* closer to Labour), it really seems that Winston and Helen work well together and have a significant amount of respect for one another.

    I can’t imagine NZF and the Nats entering in a successful long term coalition.

    Oh course, depending on the results of the election, Winston may be forced to work with Key, but I can’t imagine that being his preferred option.

  26. Lew:

    I know any politician wouldn’t of typed out the answer on their blackberry and sent it in to the standard.

    My point being was, as lot of the replies to her answers were how eloquent and honest she was.

    Perhaps they should of said how eloquent and honest her speech writer was?

    The language that the writer used was so out of touch with Turia. Those words would not come from her mouth, Dr Sharples, yes, but not Turia.

  27. Lew 27

    Brett: Counterfactual speculation, useless except as polemic. A party leader’s response (whoever wrote it) is by definition the response of the party.

    L

  28. Brett. Most of the replies have been written by the leaders. Clark wrote her own and so did Hide, Fitzsimmons, and Anderton.

    Turia I don’t know for sure but it doesn’t matter because Lew is right, what goes out in the leader’s name is the leader’s words even if he/she didn’t write them – do you think that Clark and Key write the press releases that go out in their name? No, they approve them, just like they do letters and emails that go out in their name.

    And remember, the words that come out of a leader’s mouth can be just as much a creation of media advisors as a press release – watch Key, listen to him speak – he gets a line from his media advisors that has been tested and then he repeats it every time he’s interviewed for weeks until it sticks.

  29. Lew 29

    Steve, I’m curious as to how you know this.

    L

  30. Ben R 30

    “The fundamental point is that it’s not a race-based party, it’s a philosophy-based party”

    Lew,

    That may be what they say in theory, but in practice many of Turia’s comments simply demonstrate the universal human tendency towards ‘in-group bias’ & ‘out group bias’.

    In her case her bias is pretty explicit and seems to go beyond simply favouring Maori, but anyone who isn’t white. Consider her reluctance to criticise anyone who isn’t white (ie. Awatere – Huata, Robert Mugabe, Taito Phillip Field, Mongrel Mob/Black Power gangs). She also wanted Pasifika people to be able to vote on the Maori roll, which suggests she’s more interested in gaining power than simply providing a Maori voice.

  31. because I called the offices and they said things like ‘oh I sent the question off to her but they’re not back yet’, and some are clearly in their personal styles – Hide and Anderton and the PM (and no media professional would put “there are so many!” as Fitzsimmons does at the start of her first answer).

    Plus Hide mentioned responding to our questions when talking about his problems with people ‘believing’ in climate change in another interview the other day.

  32. Ben R 32

    “I entirely agree that the maori party has the media against them”

    With the exception of Paul Henry, I don’t think that’s the case. He was the only person in the media I can recall who seemed to think Turia’s comments about immigration were racist.

    Imagine if John Key or Helen Clark had made the kind of comment she did, basically saying she was unhappy a particular colour of person was coming to the country. They would have been skewered.

    I think the maori party enjoy extremely good coverage in the media, and probably get some leeway because reporters want to avoid appearing racist.

  33. deemac 33

    Lew makes some good points but really, “Maori have diverse views and even across a class divide can be united by their common history etc…” So if you are Maori and your employer is too, that solves any minor differences over pay and conditions? We live in a capitalist society, and no amount of cultural input can sort its inherent conflicts.
    PS I suspect Sharples would have been rather more coherent.

  34. Lew 34

    Ben: “That may be what they say in theory, but in practice many of Turia’s comments simply demonstrate the universal human tendency towards ‘in-group bias’ & ‘out group bias’.”

    I agree that there’s a cognitive gap between philosophy in practice, but that’s hardly confined to the maori party. All parties have lofty principles they strive towards and fail to achieve in some way or another. Individual politicians so much more so. I also wonder how well Turia serves her cause by backing (or failing to condemn) obvious villains.

    “She also wanted Pasifika people to be able to vote on the Maori roll, which suggests she’s more interested in gaining power than simply providing a Maori voice.”

    She said it was worth thinking about. This is a long bow.

    “I think the maori party enjoy extremely good coverage in the media, and probably get some leeway because reporters want to avoid appearing racist.”

    I don’t buy into this theory of anti-racist backlash. I’m not really talking about the specific things commentators say in response to maori party issues, but the overall ways in which the issues are handled. Discourse, not content. Researchers from Auckland and Massey universities have found significant disadvantages to Maori in newspaper coverage, for instance: examples include more Pakeha than Maori being cited, and more prominently, on issues of primary concern to Maori; negative framing of issues to imply malfeasance, dishonesty, wastefulness or privilege when referring to Maori in business, etc. My preliminary research indicates these sorts of problems apply more or less equally to the maori party, who have cast themselves as exemplar.

    L

  35. Lew 35

    deemac: `can be’, not `are’. There’s no need to sensationalise. And I think you might be surprised to find how many Maori (or Chinese, or Indians, or family members, or whatever group here) will put up with poor conditions, wages or treatment on the basis of cultural relations.

    L

  36. Ben R 36

    “My preliminary research indicates these sorts of problems apply more or less equally to the maori party”

    In terms of the amount of coverage they receive, would they get any less than other parties of comparable size? My general impression is that their members are regularly sought for comment in print & on tv/radio. If anything, they seem to have a relatively high profile for a party with 4 seats?

    “I don’t buy into this theory of anti-racist backlash. I’m not really talking about the specific things commentators say in response to maori party issues, but the overall ways in which the issues are handled. ”

    I don’t know if you call it “anti-racist backlash” or simply reverse racism. Whatever it is, it seems that a maori party member can make a comment on race & reporters/commentators will not blink an eyelid, but if a white policitian says the equivalent, there is an outcry. Look at the reaction to Turia’s comments on immigration against the reaction to Peter Brown’s comments. I think the media were a lot more critical of Brown. It’s as though it is acceptable (in fact expected) that maori party members would be racially biased.

  37. Matthew Pilott 37

    Ben R – I can see what you’re saying from an anecdotal perspective. It took Turia (or whoever it was) to call the Land Wars akin to the Holocaust before she got a seriously negative reaction. (If my facts are wrong, my apologies; though it might just serve to illustrate the fragility of anecdotes, but that is my perception of the MP take on race issues – they never seemed to be called on it).

  38. Lew 38

    Ben: Minor parties can be relied upon to garner more than their proportion of coverage on the basis of pure representation. I haven’t done any quantitative, but my instinct is that the maori party do get a bit more media time than other minor parties, but nowhere near as much as the Greens, for instance.

    Not getting into the debate as to whose pronouncements on immigration were worse (i’m not very familiar with them), I’d just note that `reverse racism’ is essentially a propaganda term. It’s like `forward slash’ and `back slash’ on your keyboard: there is no forward slash, only slash. There is no reverse racism, it’s racism whichever way you slice it.

    But Pakeha in NZ are notoriously quick to cry `OMG racism!’ when they perceive it as it emanating from anyone other than them. Read Tim McCreanor & Ray Nairn’s research on Pakeha reactions to the Haka Party incident if you want an insight into this.

    L

    Captcha: `Emigration 29′. Heh.

  39. AncientGeek 39

    rOb: not sure if this got answered. This all recollection.

    but on what basis would Maori have been entitled to 14-16 seats? Is that a claim purely about proportion of population, or am I missing some constitutional history here?

    The origional provincial electoral franchises were based on property – something in the order of “male and owning x pounds of property”. This lasted until about 1880 when the property requirements were removed.

    The problem was that maori owned property in common as part of the hapu/iwi – not as individuals. So they couldn’t fufill the property requirement, despite ‘owning’ more than sufficent land. So 4 seats were set aside that did not have the property requirement.

    There has been discussion ever since about equivalences. Think about it. In the european population is you owned x pounds of property you could vote, less then you couldn’t. That meant that there was a proportion of ‘wasted’ property. Of course it would have been difficult to figure out that wastage factor for maori.

    Those 4 maori seats were retained even after the 1880(?) reforms. That went through the maori dieback (mainly disease) and resurgance in population.

    I think thay remained 4 seats up until the 1996 election(?) when they became proportional to the population enrolling on the maori roll.

    Why am I saying all this – try this wikipedia article

    captcha: yelling and
    sounds like this comment stream

  40. r0b 40

    AG, many thanks, very interesting, and fills a gap (I have far too many) in my understanding of our history.

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    2 days ago
  • Govt backing horticulture to succeed
    The Government is backing a new $27 million project aimed at boosting sustainable horticulture production and New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery efforts, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our economy. During and ...
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    2 days ago
  • Applications open for forestry scholarships
    Applications have opened for 2021 Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau – Forestry Scholarships, which will support more Māori and women to pursue careers in forestry science, says Forestry Minister Shane Jones. “I’m delighted Te Uru Rākau is offering Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau – Forestry Scholarships for the third year running. These ...
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    2 days ago
  • Excellent service to nature recognised
    The Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List once again highlights the dedication by many to looking after our native plants and wildlife, including incredible work to restore the populations of critically endangered birds says Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. Anne Richardson of Hororata has been made an Officer of the New ...
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    2 days ago
  • Wetlands and waterways gain from 1BT funding
    The Government will invest $10 million from the One Billion Trees Fund for large-scale planting to provide jobs in communities and improve the environment, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Forestry Minister Shane Jones have announced. New, more flexible funding criteria for applications will help up to 10 catchment groups plant ...
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    3 days ago
  • New fund for women now open
    Organisations that support women are invited to apply to a new $1,000,000 fund as part of the Government’s COVID-19 response. “We know women, and organisations that support women, have been affected by COVID-19. This new money will ensure funding for groups that support women and women’s rights,” said Minister for ...
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    3 days ago
  • Govt supports King Country farmers to lift freshwater quality
    Healthier waterways are front and centre in a new project involving more than 300 King Country sheep, beef and dairy farmers. The Government is investing $844,000 in King Country River Care, a group that helps farmers to lift freshwater quality and farming practice, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. “Yesterday ...
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    5 days ago
  • Libraries to help with jobs and community recovery
    A major funding package for libraries will allow them to play a far greater role in supporting their communities and people seeking jobs as part of the economic recovery from COVID-19. “Budget 2020 contains over $60 million of funding to protect library services and to protect jobs,” says Internal Affairs ...
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    5 days ago
  • Support for arts and music sector recovery
    A jobseekers programme for the creative sector and four new funds have been set up by the Government to help our arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19. Thousands of jobs will be supported through today’s $175 million package in a crucial economic boost to support the ...
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    5 days ago
  • Legislative changes to support the wellbeing of veterans and their families
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has welcomed the First Reading of a Bill that will make legislative changes to further improve the veterans’ support system.  The Veterans’ Support Amendment Bill No 2, which will amend the Veterans’ Support Act 2014, passed First Reading today. The bill addresses a number of ...
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    5 days ago
  • Christ Church Cathedral – Order in Council
    Views sought on Order in Council to help fast track the reinstatement of the Christ Church Cathedral  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Hon Poto Williams, will be seeking public written comment, following Cabinet approving the drafting of an Order in Council aimed at fast-tracking the reinstatement of the ...
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    5 days ago
  • New Zealanders’ human rights better protected in new Bill
    The law setting out New Zealanders’ basic civil and human rights is today one step towards being strengthened following the first reading of a Bill that requires Parliament to take action if a court says a statute undermines those rights. At present, a senior court can issue a ‘declaration of ...
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    6 days ago
  • Deep concern at Hong Kong national security legislation
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong. “New Zealand shares the international community’s significant and long-standing stake in Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government invests in New Zealand’s cultural recovery
    Thousands of artists and creatives at hundreds of cultural and heritage organisations have been given much-needed support to recover from the impact of COVID-19, Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern announced today. “The cultural sector was amongst the worst hit by the global pandemic,” Jacinda ...
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    6 days ago
  • Better protection for New Zealand assets during COVID-19 crisis
    Key New Zealand assets will be better protected from being sold to overseas owners in a way contrary to the national interest, with the passage of the Overseas Investment (Urgent Measures) Bill. The Bill, which passed its third reading in Parliament today, also cuts unnecessary red tape to help attract ...
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    6 days ago
  • Cleaning up our rivers and lakes
    Setting higher health standards at swimming spots Requiring urban waterways to be cleaned up and new protections for urban streams Putting controls on higher-risk farm practices such as winter grazing and feed lots Setting stricter controls on nitrogen pollution and new bottom lines on other measures of waterway health Ensuring ...
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    6 days ago
  • Record year for diversity on Govt boards
    The Government is on the verge of reaching its target of state sector boards and committees made up of at least 50 percent women, says Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter and Minister for Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa. For the first time, the Government stocktake measures the number of Māori, ...
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    6 days ago
  • New appointments to the Commerce Commission
    The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister and Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister, Kris Faafoi, has today announced the appointment of Tristan Gilbertson as the new Telecommunications Commissioner and member of the Commerce Commission. “Mr Gilbertson has considerable experience in the telecommunications industry and a strong reputation amongst his peers,” ...
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    6 days ago
  • Historic pay equity settlement imminent for teacher aides
    The Ministry of Education and NZEI Te Riu Roa have agreed to settle the pay equity claim for teacher aides, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This will see more than 22,000 teacher aides, mostly women, being valued and paid fairly for the work they do. “Teacher aides are frontline ...
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    7 days ago
  • Govt delivers security for construction subcontractors
    Subcontractors will have greater certainty, more cashflow support and job security with new changes to retention payments under the Construction Contracts Act says Minister for Building and Construction, Jenny Salesa. A recent review of the retentions money regime showed that most of the building and construction sector is complying with ...
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    7 days ago
  • New Zealand and Singapore reaffirm ties
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have marked the first anniversary of the New Zealand-Singapore Enhanced Partnership with a virtual Leaders’ Meeting today. The Enhanced Partnership, signed on 17 May 2019, provides the framework for cooperation across the four main areas of trade, defence and ...
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    7 days ago
  • JOINT STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTERS OF NEW ZEALAND AND THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE ON THE FIRST AN...
    On 17 May 2019, New Zealand and Singapore established an Enhanced Partnership to elevate our relations. The Enhanced Partnership – based on the four pillars of trade and economics, security and defence, science, technology and innovation, and people-to-people links – has seen the long-standing relationship between our countries strengthen over the ...
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    7 days ago
  • Government investment supports the acquisition of new Interislander ferries
    State-Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters has welcomed KiwiRail’s announcement that it is seeking a preferred shipyard to build two new rail-enabled ferries for the Cook Strait crossing. “This Government is committed to restoring rail to its rightful place in New Zealand. Bigger, better ships, with new technology are yet another ...
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    7 days ago
  • Better protection for seabirds
    Better protection for seabirds is being put in place with a new National Plan of Action to reduce fishing-related captures, Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.   The National Plan of Action for Seabirds 2020 outlines our commitment to reduce fishing-related captures and associated seabird ...
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    1 week ago
  • Milestone in cash flow support to SMEs
    Almost $1 billion in interest-free loans for small businesses More than 55,000 businesses have applied; 95% approved Average loan approx. $17,300 90% of applications from firms with ten or fewer staff A wide cross-section of businesses have applied, the most common are the construction industry, accommodation providers, professional firms, and ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government protects kids as smoking in cars ban becomes law
    Thousands of children will have healthier lungs after the Government’s ban on smoking in cars with kids becomes law, says Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa. This comes after the third reading of Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Bill earlier today. “This law makes it ...
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    1 week ago
  • Parliament returns to a safe normal
    The special Epidemic Response Committee (ERC) has successfully concluded its role, Leader of the House Chris Hipkins said today. The committee was set up on 25 March by the agreement of Parliament to scrutinise the Government and its actions while keeping people safe during levels 4 and 3 of lockdown. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Foreign Minister makes four diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced four diplomatic appointments: New Zealand’s Ambassador to Belgium, High Commissioners to Nauru and Niue, and Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism. “As the world seeks to manage and then recover from COVID-19, our diplomatic and trade networks are more important than ever,” Mr Peters said. “The ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Bill to counter violent extremism online
    New Zealanders will be better protected from online harm through a Bill introduced to Parliament today, says Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin. “The internet brings many benefits to society but can also be used as a weapon to spread harmful and illegal content and that is what this legislation targets,” ...
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    1 week ago
  • Mycoplasma bovis eradication reaches two year milestone in good shape
    New Zealand’s world-first plan to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis is on track the latest technical data shows, says Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor. “Two years ago the Government, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand and industry partners made a bold decision to go hard and commit ...
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    1 week ago
  • New payment to support Kiwis through COVID
    Further support for New Zealanders affected by 1-in-100 year global economic shock 12-week payment will support people searching for new work or retraining Work programme on employment insurance to support workers and businesses The Government today announced a new temporary payment to support New Zealanders who lose their jobs due ...
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    1 week ago
  • PGF reset helps regional economies
    The Provincial Growth Fund will play a vital role in New Zealand’s post-COVID-19 recovery by creating jobs in shorter timeframes through at least $600 million being refocused on projects with more immediate economic benefits, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The funding is comprised of repurposed Provincial Growth ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government exempts some home improvements from costly consents
    Government exempts some home improvements from costly consents Homeowners, builders and DIYers will soon have an easier time making basic home improvements as the Government scraps the need for consents for low-risk building work such as sleep-outs, sheds and carports – allowing the construction sector to fire back up quicker ...
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    1 week ago
  • Concern at introduction of national security legislation for Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the New Zealand Government has reacted with concern at the introduction of legislation in China’s National People’s Congress relating to national security in Hong Kong.  “We have a strong interest in seeing confidence maintained in the ‘one country, two systems’ principle under which Hong ...
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    2 weeks ago