Questions: Maori Development—Priorities

Tuesday 21 July 2009

KELVIN DAVIS (Labour) to the Minister of Maori Affairs: What are his priorities for Maori development?

Hon Dr PITA SHARPLES (Minister of Maori Affairs): My priorities are to achieve whanau ora and tino rangatiratanga, in accordance with the promise of partnership expressed in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Kelvin Davis: Given that 400 to 500 Maori are joining the dole queue each week, does he not think it would have been better to hold 21 hui on Maori job creation or Maori educational underachievement than on a flag?

Hon Dr PITA SHARPLES: Many issues face Maori, and in terms of employment I am actively focused on a range of issues. I have an economic task force, which is creating opportunities for employment as well as for business and for iwi industry.

Hon Ruth Dyson: Name one.

Hon Dr PITA SHARPLES: Trade training. On Thursday I am going to announce 250 places for Maori trade trainees.

Mr SPEAKER: I am concerned and will seek advice on the flying of flags in this Chamber. In the meantime I ask the honourable member please to take them down. I will seek advice. If I am wrong, I will fully apologise to the honourable member.

Te Ururoa Flavell: How is the Minister promoting and protecting the exercise of tino rangatiratanga by Maori?

Hon Dr PITA SHARPLES: The right to autonomy, self-expression, and self-determination underpins my consideration of all issues. This should be obvious in the high-profile work that I am doing on reviewing the Foreshore and Seabed Act, bringing in a shift of Government—

Hon Trevor Mallard: Who wrote this?

Hon Dr PITA SHARPLES: I wrote it; I can write. I am working for Maori representation on the Auckland Council, which I am involved in, plus shifting the Government’s opinion on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples—something that member’s party should have endorsed…

Kelvin Davis: What does it say about the Minister’s priorities for Maori development if during this recession symbolism comes before creating Maori jobs and raising Maori educational underachievement?

Hon Dr PITA SHARPLES: It does not come before those things; it comes as well as them. There are many issues with Maori, and, as I spelt out, my employment activities will create a lot of training positions plus employment and, as well as that, education. I am launching a literacy programme in South Auckland very shortly, reviewing kaupapa Maori education, and opening a trade agency in a school. We are involved in many issues for the betterment of Maori people.

Te Ururoa Flavell: Has the Minister seen any reports on progressing his Maori development priorities?

Hon Dr PITA SHARPLES: I have seen a report from the National Business Review of 10 July 2009 that reported on an impressive—

Hon Trevor Mallard: It is well named; the Tory rag supporting the Maori Party!

Hon Dr PITA SHARPLES: Do you not read it? It reported on an impressive list of wins in Maori development, including a possible repeal of the foreshore and seabed legislation, that a Maori flag is to fly on Waitangi Day, greater resources to speed up Treaty negotiations, ratification of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, having two Ministers of the Crown, being in charge of Te Puni Kokiri, a planned major devolution of welfare spending, the gaining of one or more Maori seats on the Auckland super-city council, protection of the Maori seats in Parliament, and a constitutional review—e?!

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I did not want to interrupt the Minister, as I was enjoying his answer, but I think he referred to you as endorsing a particular thing three times in his answer. I know we have—

Mr SPEAKER: The member has made his point; he will now resume his seat. I simply ask the Minister to in the future be careful not to use the word “you”, because he brings the Speaker into his answer and he should not do that.

Reference the New Zealand Parliament website

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