Hit of the day

Jami-lee Ross got Nanaia Mahuta a beauty at the last question time of the year:

8. JAMI-LEE ROSS (National—Botany) to the Minister of Local Government: What will she do to build support and acceptance for Māori participation in local government?

Hon NANAIA MAHUTA (Minister of Local Government): Mr Speaker, Merry Christmas. It may come as a complete surprise to that member, but I look forward to working alongside local government to increase civic participation and, importantly, their efforts to engage Māori in local planning and decision-making.

Jami-Lee Ross: Does she agree that there are hugely destructive consequences of division, separatism, parallel representation, and parallel laws within the local government sector?

Hon NANAIA MAHUTA: What I do acknowledge is that there are many councils who are meeting the challenge of increasing engagement and participation with Māori and iwi. They are doing some very good work at a number of levels. Much of this is arising from the Treaty settlement space, and I want to applaud those councils who have made a decision to move towards Māori wards. It’s their decision and we should support them.

Jami-Lee Ross: Does she feel she has an obligation to stand up for Māori New Zealanders and condemn anti-Māori statements, such as that we have political separatism—”a pathway to purgatory”?

Mr SPEAKER: Order! As the Minister of Local Government she has no responsibility in that area.

Jami-Lee Ross: Point of order.

Mr SPEAKER: Well, the beginning of the question was: does she have responsibility to stand up for Māori New Zealanders? There are certainly members of the Cabinet who have that responsibility; not that member in this portfolio.

Jami-Lee Ross: Can I rephrase the question then, Mr Speaker?

Mr SPEAKER: I’ll be generous, and you can have another go.

Jami-Lee Ross: OK. As the Minister of Local Government does she feel she has an obligation to stand up for Māori New Zealanders and condemn anti-Māori statements about the practices within the local government sector, such as that we have political separatism—”a pathway to purgatory”?

Hon NANAIA MAHUTA: I thank that Māori member for that question and acknowledge that the views of others, while I don’t hold them, are the views of others. By and large, local government is working constructively to meet the challenge of increasing civic participation. There has been continual low turnout at local government elections. They want to do something about it. They are taking leadership in some areas to increase the participation of specific groups.

Jami-Lee Ross: What will she say then, as Minister, to the prominent political leader who said to Local Government New Zealand recently “in local government as in central government there has been a pandering to division, separatism, parallel representation and parallel laws without any regard to the hugely destructive consequences.”—that quote being from the Rt Hon Winston Peters?

Hon NANAIA MAHUTA: We’re a coalition Government that recognises and understands the many challenges within our communities. While that member wants to kick the tyres, what I can say is that we do believe that by working together—[Interruption] You may not like it, but we do believe that by working together for the benefit of all New Zealanders, many boats can rise, and we’re making some good inroads, and the 100-day plan is just the beginning.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Will the Minister confirm that as far as the Māori people are concerned, where it impacts on her portfolio, she and this Government are interested in equality based on not pigeonholing people but by judging them on their performance and their commitment and their skills, and not discovering that they are Māori in the same way Columbus discovered America, purely by accident?

Hon Simon Bridges: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. We were, earlier on, pulled up for having a number of parts in our questions. That had several parts and is clearly out of order.

Mr SPEAKER: And what I will do, as I did earlier, is allow the Minister to answer any of the questions that were asked.

Hon NANAIA MAHUTA: In so far as my portfolio of responsibility is concerned—

Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order. The member will resume her seat. A point of order, the Hon Gerry Brownlee.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Well, noting the content of that extensive question, and its rather pointed aspects, I wonder if you might consider, sir, also allowing Willie Jackson to answer that question.

Hon NANAIA MAHUTA: Mr Speaker, in so far—

Mr SPEAKER: No, no. I’m just sort of considering how trifling that was and whether it deserves anything else but, again, I’ll be kind to the member.

Hon NANAIA MAHUTA: In so far as my portfolio is concerned, I can assure many members in this House, as they will know, that representation on councils is first and foremost based on merit and a will and willingness to serve their community and the interests that are there. They do recognise there is an overall challenge about increasing civic participation, and I am engaging with them on that matter.

Kiritapu Allan: Does the Minister advocate for separate Māori representation in every local authority?

Hon NANAIA MAHUTA: I support local democracy and I want to acknowledge and applaud those councils who believe that Māori wards is one of many ways to ensure that valuable contributions can be made to the decision-making and planning processes in their district. Their leadership will make a difference. They want to ensure that that reflects the will of their local community.

Jami-Lee Ross: I seek leave to table a document prepared by the Parliamentary Library for my office, which is a compilation of quotes from the Rt Hon Winston Peters about this very issue.

Mr SPEAKER: Have those quotes been previously published?

Jami-Lee Ross: It’s a compilation, sir, from the library. The library document has not—it’s from the library.

Mr SPEAKER: I’ll put it in the hands of the House. I think it’s a marginal call if all it is is a republication. Is there any objection to that book being tabled? There appears to be none; it can be tabled.

Document by leave, laid on the Table of the House.



Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.