Maiden Speech for Todd McClay

December 10th, 2008 at 10:49 pm by David Farrar

is the new MP for Rotorua. Extracts below from his , and the entire speech is over the break.

I would like to pay tribute to Hon. Steve Chadwick, across the House. A worthy opponent, who dealt with the issues on the campaign trail and fought a clean campaign. Mrs Chadwick has great affection for Rotorua. I am grateful that she has offered to working together over the next three years to advance the interests of the people of Rotorua.

Very nice to acknowledge the former MP, and her offer to work together for Rotorua.

Mr Speaker if I had forgotten, I was certainly reminded during this year’s campaign. My family is the most important thing to me in this world. My ambitions as a member of , the things that I want to do for my community, the reason that I want more violent criminals and drug dealers locked away for longer, is because of my overwhelming desire to protect and offer opportunity to my family. On issues of conscience, in this House, I will be guided by what I want for my 4 small children and whether they will grow up to be proud of their father based upon the decisions that he has made and how he has voted.

My wife Nadene and I have been blessed with 4 outstanding children. Joshua 10, Samuel 8, Caelen 6 and my daughter, the perfect one, Ana-Kiera who is four.

Nadene must be a saint to cope with four children – and Todd!

My journey to this chamber, as with many of us, was not without detours. I have spent much of my adult life outside of New Zealand. I have worked in one of the worlds largest bureaucracies, in and around the European Union Institutions in Belgium. At that time few if any other New Zealander had worked in the European Parliament politically. As a result I am no fan of bureaucracy. To quote a former President of the EC Jacques Delors I firmly believe that Governments should do less but what they do they must do better.

Bigger is not better!

I have experience of diplomacy. In 2000 I travelled to Cotonou in Benin to attend the signing of a development and trade agreement between Europe, and the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. There I met the Foreign Minister of the Cook Islands and the Premier of Niue. Over months these two countries decided to establish diplomatic representation to the EU in Brussels. I was honoured to be asked to represent these two beautiful countries as their Ambassador to Europe.

Mr Speaker, I declare an interest. In 2005 I was awarded honorary Cook Islands nationality by the government and people of the Cook Islands. I am proud to stand here today and say to the people of New Zealand that I am a Cook Islander and I send greetings to my many friends in Rarotonga. Kia Orana.

Todd’s time as an Ambassador for various Pacific countries in Europe was fascinating. I actually first dealt with him in relation to an Internet issue affecting Niue.

Mr Speaker, during my campaign I met a man in Rotorua whilst door knocking who wanted to talk with me about how to keep young people out of trouble. I was impressed by this man. He had been a gang member for much of his life. He had served time in prison, he said that he had never voted because he did not care. When he last came out of prison he decided to change. He wanted to change because of love for his family and he wanted a different life for his young children. He left the gang, got a job, and now he works with the community. His children now have a brighter future. When faced with decisions that affect New Zealanders I will think of this man.

Those who turn their lives about, should be given all the support we can.

Many years ago NZ society was based upon the structure of the family. Neighbours knew and liked each other. Rural communities were strong. And perhaps life was simpler. When a school needed a new swimming pool (that’s right schools once had pools), or if a small community needed a hall, funds were raised to buy timber and cement, people came together and built these things. Today, funds are raised for resource consents and development levies. Many of our children no longer know how to catch a fish or climb a tree.

Now even the tree fort needs a resource consent!

Mr Speaker, to be a member of this House is a privilege and I pledge to remember this each and every day that I am here. It is an opportunity to work hard to help others, to make New Zealand and my home Rotorua better. The day that I forget this privilege will be the day that it is time for me to leave this place.

The full speech is over the break

Maiden Speech
Todd McClay MP
Member of Parliament for Rotorua
10 December 2008 to be delivered at 16h45
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

Mr Speaker, I begin my maiden speech today by offering congratulations on your election as Speaker of this great institution. I also congratulate my new colleague the Deputy Speaker Lindsay Tisch, and Assistant Speakers Eric Roy and Rick Barker.

I want to pay tribute to our Prime Minister, John Key, and the way that he has lead this Country since the election result of November 8. Many, many people in my electorate of Rotorua have told me that this is the type of leadership that they voted for and the change that they want. I also want to pay a glowing tribute to the Party President Judy Kirk. Judy is an exceptional person and many of us were helped to be here today by her hard work and dedication. I would like to praise the CNI Chair of the Party Jo Stewart and thank her for standing on the side of a road with me waving a placard during the campaign.

In the streets of London as on the sports fields of Munster New Zealand has a reputation of reward for hard work

I want to thank my campaign team for all their support over the past year. My Electorate Chairman, Ian Patchell who is here today, my campaign chairman Councillor Mike McVicker, my Finance Agent Don MacFarlane, Ian Mclean for his great wisdom and guidance and many, many others who are responsible for our success in the Rotorua electorate. I also want to acknowledge the people who have travelled from Rotorua to be here today and to thank Neil for the unfettered access to his fridge during the campaign Neil.

I want to make special mention of a very special person my father-in-law Ron Wattam. Ron and my mother-in-law Margaret live in Cromwell and came to stay with us in Rotorua for a week, about 6 months ago, and they are still there. Ron worked from early in the morning until late at night removing great moustaches from my hoardings. I can say to the Prime Minister that the people of Whakarewarewa believe that I look better with a moustache than he does.

Mr Speaker, I can report that bakeries in other electorates should not bother entering the national pie contest next year, because I can vouch for the pies made in Maketü. I know this for a fact having consumed nearly 500 of them while campaigning this year.

I would like to pay tribute to Hon. Steve Chadwick, across the House. A worthy opponent, who dealt with the issues on the campaign trail and fought a clean campaign. Mrs Chadwick has great affection for Rotorua. I am grateful that she has offered to working together over the next three years to advance the interests of the people of Rotorua.

Mr Speaker if I had forgotten, I was certainly reminded during this year’s campaign. My family is the most important thing to me in this world. My ambitions as a member of parliament, the things that I want to do for my community, the reason that I want more violent criminals and drug dealers locked away for longer, is because of my overwhelming desire to protect and offer opportunity to my family. On issues of conscience, in this House, I will be guided by what I want for my 4 small children and whether they will grow up to be proud of their father based upon the decisions that he has made and how he has voted.

My wife Nadene and I have been blessed with 4 outstanding children. Joshua 10, Samuel 8, Caelen 6 and my daughter, the perfect one, Ana-Kiera who is four. Joshua, Sam and Caelen attend Lynmore School in Rotorua and have told me that they are excited to see their dad on TV today.

I must for more than a moment speak of the great love and understand of a truly exceptional and long suffering woman and that is my wife Nadene. Nadene and I will have been married for 14 years this year. The last 14 years have been a joy, well at least for me, and never could I have imagined that I might complement someone so well. Without Nadene’s support, her understanding and perseverance as a wife and mother then my life would have been much more ordinary.

It is important to remember one’s origins.
Mr Speaker I am proud to say to this House that I was born in Rotorua as was my mother before me and I am the son of a school principal with a life-long commitment to improving children’s lives. When I was born my parents lived in Reporoa and my father drove a school bus each morning before teaching children how to read and write. The school bus in Reporoa is no longer driven by a teacher and sadly early next year may no longer be based in the district. And this will not be right.

I want to thank my parents, Roger and Dawn for sharing this day with me. I had a great childhood, and against the frequent demands for retribution from my siblings, do not remember my father ever raising his hand against me in anger. My two younger brothers Tim and Steven are extremely hard working, successful New Zealanders. They are good fathers, and are great brothers.

I grew up in Taupo and attended Tauhara College and Wesley College in Pukekohe. I am sure that the Hon. Minister Paula Bennett would agree that my school in Taupo was better than her school in Taupö.

In my younger years I had many jobs, I cleaned cars, I cut firewood in the bush, I worked for Carter Holt in their saw mill, but mainly I was like many young New Zealanders. I loved fishing, I enjoyed hunting and played rugby with a passion. I had little interest in politics and am not sure that education was as important to me as it should have been.

My journey to this chamber, as with many of us, was not without detours. I have spent much of my adult life outside of New Zealand. I have worked in one of the worlds largest bureaucracies, in and around the European Union Institutions in Belgium. At that time few if any other New Zealander had worked in the European Parliament politically. As a result I am no fan of bureaucracy. To quote a former President of the EC Jacques Delors I firmly believe that Governments should do less but what they do they must do better.

I have owned a business where on a daily basis we balanced the demands of finding and keeping good staff with the need to remain competitive and productive. I have great sympathy for every New Zealander who will fight to survive in the coming months and years as the world’s economy struggles to change. I do not subscribe to the view that employers are bad people yet accept that employees must be afforded rights.

I have experience of diplomacy. In 2000 I travelled to Cotonou in Benin to attend the signing of a development and trade agreement between Europe, and the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. There I met the Foreign Minister of the Cook Islands and the Premier of Niue. Over months these two countries decided to establish diplomatic representation to the EU in Brussels. I was honoured to be asked to represent these two beautiful countries as their Ambassador to Europe.
Mr Speaker, I declare an interest. In 2005 I was awarded honorary Cook Islands nationality by the government and people of the Cook Islands. I am proud to stand here today and say to the people of New Zealand that I am a Cook Islander and I send greetings to my many friends in Rarotonga. Kia Orana.

After many years in Europe my wife and I realised that we faced an important decision. A decision that would decide the very people our children would grow to become. Our choice was between a life different from that of our childhood or to embrace the very things that make New Zealanders unique. It was not just a choice between life in Brussels where it always rains, or life in Wellington where it never does.

Mr Speaker, during my campaign I met a man in Rotorua whilst door knocking who wanted to talk with me about how to keep young people out of trouble. I was impressed by this man. He had been a gang member for much of his life. He had served time in prison, he said that he had never voted because he did not care. When he last came out of prison he decided to change. He wanted to change because of love for his family and he wanted a different life for his young children. He left the gang, got a job, and now he works with the community. His children now have a brighter future. When faced with decisions that affect New Zealanders I will think of this man.

I want for a moment to reflect on the country that we live in.
Many years ago NZ society was based upon the structure of the family. Neighbours knew and liked each other. Rural communities were strong. And perhaps life was simpler. When a school needed a new swimming pool (that’s right schools once had pools), or if a small community needed a hall, funds were raised to buy timber and cement, people came together and built these things. Today, funds are raised for resource consents and development levies. Many of our children no longer know how to catch a fish or climb a tree.

The Rotorua electorate is an exceptional place and it is reflective of much of New Zealand. From our beautiful lakes, we have many in Rotorua, to Mt Tarawera and Ngongotaha, to the trees of the central north island. Indeed Nick Smith and I were known to hug such trees during the early parts of this year’s campaign on the foreshore of Lake Tikitapu.

We have great beaches in Maketu and Pukehina, and some of the best fresh and salt water fishing in this country. My electorate is truly a place of vast opportunity. We are rich in culture, Maoridom is strong in this region and I believe moari culture to be my culture because I was born in this country.

Kawerau and Murupara are communities where their people are proud of what they have achieved together. Kawerau is the smallest council district in New Zealand and we should learn from their commitment and emulate their successes in many other parts of this land.

Mr Speaker, I lay the following claims on behalf of the people of the Rotorua Electorate.

Rotorua is the tourism capital of New Zealand. Next year the Bay of Plenty will celebrate the upgrading of the Rotorua airport to International standard. This airport will be a gateway to the Bay and will provide benefit to the many towns and cities in our region

Visitors come to Rotorua expecting the very best service. They want memorable and unique experiences and they want to eat and drink and go shopping. In parts of our country this is possible. But over Easter, in Rotorua this is not. If we are serious about tourism in this country, if we are to embrace the benefits of increased visitor numbers, then we need to change. The message we send from the tourism capital is don’t come to Rotorua over Easter, it is closed. We need to change that message so we can fully embrace this future.

The Rotorua electorate is also the Forestry capital of New Zealand. Engineering, trucking and transport, innovation all play a vital role in the local economy. I believe that forestry has importance to our future. The way to meet our international environmental commitments is to plant more trees, and then process these trees in this country. To add value to them here. We must send a clear signal to the forestry industry that as a parliament we offer support. I commit fully to working with the forestry sector, and all those whose livelihoods are dependent upon it, for the future of my electorate.

Mr Speaker following boundary changes my electorate is also the Kiwifruit capital of New Zealand. Our kiwifruit are impressive, they are large, they are sought after by international markets and some of them are even shaved. The kiwifruit sector, like others, has suffered over recent years. The development of infrastructure in the Bay of Plenty, and an unrelenting focus on productivity, will help the kiwifruit farmers of Te Matai road. I will work closely with them to ensure that their industry is managed as they wish it to be.

Mr Speaker, during her Maiden Speech yesterday, my colleague Melissa Lee spoke of the horrific death of little Nia Glassie in Rotorua. It would be easier to speak only of the good things about my home and to ignore the problems as if they hadn’t happened. But this is not my way. It concerns me that the very people who should love and cherish our young the most, Nia’s parents and grandparents, treated her life so cheaply. The action of those found to be responsible for Nia’s death is evil. I know of no other way to describe it. Justice for Nia Glassie will only be done when horrific child abuse in all parts of New Zealand stops. Today I challenge all communities of New Zealand to care more for our children. It is a privilege to be a parent….it is not a right. It will take more than reports and inquiries to stop this cycle of violence. Child abusers do not read our reports. It will take consequence and personal responsibility. It will take each of us, as a community, to stand up and say that violence of any type is not acceptable.

Two weeks ago I met a small boy who attends Otomarakau School on the edge of my electorate in the Eastern Bay. He asked me what my job was and I explained that the job of an MP was to represent, to be a loud clear voice on behalf of the people of his electorate. I also said that more than anything I believed that the job of an MP is to listen, not just to talk and quoting a Greek philosopher said that should be easy, as I have two ears and only one mouth. I will be able to listen twice as much as I talk……..This small boy said to me, Sir I think that you will be a good MP. I can see your two ears.

Mr Speaker, to be a member of this House is a privilege and I pledge to remember this each and every day that I am here. It is an opportunity to work hard to help others, to make New Zealand and my home Rotorua better. The day that I forget this privilege will be the day that it is time for me to leave this place.

Kia ora Mr Speaker and Thank You.

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4 Responses to “Maiden Speech for Todd McClay”

  1. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,786 comments) says:

    Good to see some top talent in Government, especially after the lackluster underperformers of the last failed government.

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  2. Tim Ellis (253 comments) says:

    Very good speech. I don’t know how he finds the time, though, being both MP for Rotorua and Mayor of London. Is that even allowed?

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  3. berend (1,601 comments) says:

    Quote: firmly believe that Governments should do less but what they do they must do better.

    If so, you’re in the wrong party pal. Where are the ipredict bets that government will not spend less money and have less bureaucrats in three years time?

    [DPF: Well as neither National nor ACT are promising to spend less, of course it won't. Once again you do your black and white purist view of the world]

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  4. berend (1,601 comments) says:

    ACT didn’t promise to spend less? I must have misread their twenty point plan.

    [DPF: They promised to spend 3.6% more every year. This is less than current spending increases, but still an increase]

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