Brendan Horan maiden speech

February 9th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

First some family history:

My waka is Tainui of which Hoturoa was the captain

My iwi is Ngati Maniapoto

My hapu,  Ngati Hikairoa

 On my European side I am descended from Orm, the Viking. 

Orm lived around 750 AD. He was reputed to have killed a large bear with one blow of his fist. I think Sonny Bill Williams should have fought Orm instead.

Because amenities were affordable we regularly visited the local swimming pool and developed civic pride, 20 cents entry fee.

 Compare that to my local council swimming pool Baywave in Tauranga where entry and  hydroslides costs 8 dollars for local children.

 It’s no wonder children struggle to swim and one of my goals is to have gold coin entry to all swimming pools for all NZ school children.

Brendan was born in 1961 so presumably the 20c was around 1968 – once decimal currency came in. The CPI was 70 in 1968 and today is 1158, so in today’s dollars that 20c would be $3.30. So $8 is over double what it used to be, in real terms.

“Evil thrives when good men and women stand by and do nothing”

 So I ask now – how can NZ have the highest child brutality and murder rate   in the OECD , how can this possibly be NZ when we start the year with a baby being murdered in a small town, a 16 year old boy assaulting and raping a 5 year old girl and a young father being stabbed to death while sitting in his car waiting for a medical prescription.

The foul stench of these crimes lingers over our entire nation, but in particular those of us in the house today – as it has happened on OUR watch.

And further …

The protection and safety of all NZ children must be paramount.

We are all aware of the need – and decisive action must be taken.

If we have to step on a few toes and offend the politically correct – then so be it.

I’d be interested to hear what he has in mind.

This NZ First economic plan will operate in the absence of secrecy.

Cough, cough Spencer Trust.

To be fair, that was Winston’s baby. No one else in NZ First even knew of it – not even the Party President!

Our people are some of the most creative, innovative and forward thinking to be found anywhere.

But currently we are marking time and quite frankly we need to embrace, support and speed up the rollout of ultra fast broadband.

The mobile digital revolution is accelerating at an exponential rate.

Countries with established broadband are rapidly going mobile and that is going to have massive implications for business, education and the health sector.

The digital revolution is still in its infancy, I agree.

The full speech is after the break.


Jami-Lee’s maiden speech

April 7th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

New Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross gave an excellent and principled maiden speech to the House yesterday. Some parts I especially liked:

I didn’t have an easy start to life. It is a common misconception that National MPs were all born with a silver spoon in their mouth. That certainly did not occur in my case. My mother was young when she had me, and my father was nothing more than a faceless name that never stepped up to life’s responsibilities. Having just finished raising three girls on her own, my grandmother decided that it was her job to give her young grandson the best up bringing she could possibly provide. She raised me in our small flat in South Auckland, where we lived from week to week as she looked after her own frail mother at the same time. But my grandmother is the reason I didn’t become a statistic. In the most public way I could possibly say this, thank you Nana for the love you showed me, and for giving me the best start to life that I could possibly have asked for. May every child born into difficult circumstances in this country, be as lucky as I have been.

A lovely tribute.

Mr Speaker, I am a staunch believer in limited government. I believe government’s intervention in the lives of New Zealanders must be minimal and only when necessary. I believe the state should provide help to those in need, but on the basis of need, not desire. I believe that government must protect the private and personal security of citizens from foreign or domestic attack. I believe the state should provide access to essential services, like health and education, when the private sector is unable to provide these services profitably. And above all else, we should instil in the nation a culture of personal responsibility and self-sufficiency.

Hear hear.

It has been my observation during my time as a city councillor that as politicians we have a natural tendency to want to legislate, a natural tendency to want to throw funding at an issue, or to regulate, often in a way that limits the freedoms of everyday New Zealanders. I submit to the House that in making decisions, the principles of freedom and liberty must be overriding considerations in everything we do. In my view, one of the greatest observations of the 20th century came from Ronald Reagan during his first inaugural address. Speaking about the problems of decades of bloated bureaucracy, the problems of an over-reaching state, and the economic ills of a government that thought it could spend its way out of many of the troubles it encountered, he commented that government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem.

Freedom, liberty and a Reagan quote. It could only get better with a Thatcher quote.

Governments shouldn’t be judged solely on how many laws they pass that, rightly or wrongly, increase the size of the state or further restrict our freedoms. Governments should also be judged on how many unnecessary statues and regulations they remove, further reducing restrictions and compliance regimes, and ridding the country of the shackles of socialism that have been built up over many decades gone past.

Socialism is a failed experiment. The socialist doctrine seeks to close the gap between rich and poor, a reasonable goal. But rather than doing so by incentivising wealth creation, socialism seeks to redistribute the limited resources of wealth creators by using the coercive power of the state. If tax and spend was all we had to do to achieve what we wanted, then every nation on earth would be a glowing utopia of human desire. Clearly, that is not the case.

Jami-Lee is so right, that t is a failed experiment.

If I may paraphrase Baroness Thatcher, the problem with this approach and the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money to spend. The problem with trying to spend your way towards closing the gap between rich and poor is that eventually we all collectively become poorer.

Yes, a Thatcher quote also. Superb.

Mr Speaker, as a new Member of Parliament, I join the ranks of members, past and present, proud to call themselves Maori. But whilst I am an individual of Maori descent, I do consider myself a New Zealander first and foremost. I have Ngati Porou blood running through my veins, but I can assure the House that I am a New Zealander who believes strongly in one standard of citizenship. …

It also means that I do not subscribe to the view that I, or any New Zealander of Maori descent, requires special seats to be elected to Parliament, to Councils, or any other body in this country. It is my hope that the people of New Zealand will be the given the opportunity, in the near future, to examine the role of Maori seats in Parliament by way of referendum.

As I blogged yesterday, Parliament has 21 (arguably 23) MPs of Maori descent now. This is proof that you don’t need the Maori seats to have Maori representation in Parliament.

Mr Speaker, I enter this House with a strong set of beliefs and ideals. I am a centre-right fiscal conservative – someone who believes in individual freedom, equality and the maintenance of law and order. Undoubtedly some of those ideals will be moulded and tempered over time to align with what is achievable. But whilst politics may be the art of the possible, politics without principle is nothing more than a naked power grab.

I want my constituents to have the right to exercise their free will to make the most of the time they have on this earth. I want our nation to be proud. I want our nation to be prosperous. I want every child born in New Zealand to be able to access quality schools and universities. I want every adult to seek to be a productive member of society where they do not have to rely on the state to prop them up. I want our nation to be a centre of brilliance, where achievement is rewarded and innovation and excellence can thrive, where we value and protect our personal freedoms, and where we celebrate every day all that is great about our New Zealand.

Mr Speaker, I am honoured to have been elected to the 49th Parliament. I come here to be what James Dilworth called “a good and useful citizen”. I am honoured to have been elected to serve the people of Botany, as their Member of Parliament. And serve I shall.

National is strengthened with the addition of Jami-Lee to its caucus. He’s off to a very good start.

A valedictory and a maiden

December 15th, 2010 at 7:01 am by David Farrar

I can’t recall the last time Parliament had a maiden speech and a valedictory speech on the same day. First NZPA report on the valedictory of Pansy Wong:

“It was beyond my wildest dreams when, 14 years ago, a girl born in Shanghai who grew up in a Hong Kong apartment where eight families shared a kitchen and bathroom, made an historic maiden speech in Parliament,” she said. …

“My political career has been an all-consuming one,” she said.

“It would not have been possible without my husband Sammy’s unrelenting support. As a consequence, his business interests were severely curtailed.”

“The playing field is far from being equal, but anything is possible if one works hard for it…nowadays it is accepted that Asian New Zealanders can succeed in the highest office.”

“It is time to turn a page in my life’s journey, to focus on personal and family priorities.

“The journey has been a remarkable one and it is time for me to exit political life.

“Sammy, I am coming home.”

I’m personally very sad to see Pansy go in these circumstances. I’ve known her since 1996, and she has always been delightfully cheerful and down to earth – has never let being an MP go to her head.

Pansy used to live in my apartment block so when I worked at Parliament, I’d sometimes get a lift in with her. We used to joke about the ghost of Muldoon haunting our apartment block (he used to live here also).

I was also the regional liasion to the Wellington Asian Committee for a couple of years, when I was Regional Deputy Chair. They were a powerhouse wheb it came to organising events and functions. It was always amusing as they planned a function and went around the committee, asking people how many tickets to a yum cha or the like they could sell for say $50 each. Most people would commit to selling 30 – 50 places each. Pansy would often take on responsibility for 100 places, and then when it came to me, I would sheeplishly commit to two tickets!

I often reflected that the only thing more surreal than me being the regional liasion to the Asian Committee, was that I also was regional liasion to the women’s committee also 🙂

So a sad farewell to Pansy, with the contrast being the maiden speech of Mana MP Kris Faafoi:

This is not the first time I have spoken in the House of Representatives.

In 1994 as a spirited 18 year old Jim Anderton chose me as his Youth MP.

That September day I arrived not realising I had to give a speech.

Flustered and nervous I scrambled to write something on the spot.

I also recall a young – well spoken – ginger headed Youth MP from up the line.

He spoke enthusiastically and seemed comfortable in his surroundings.

16 years on Darren nothing has changed!

Some say Darren is still a Youth MP 🙂

I didn’t know Kris had been a Youth MP. Knowing this, his switch from journalism to politics is more logical.

Can I take this opportunity to also acknowledge the other candidates in the recent by-election.

In particular I would like to acknowledge the Honourable Hekia Parata and Jan Logie.

On the whole the mood on the hustings was genuinely friendly.

Mana is one of the few electorates where spontaneous Pacific Island dancing is not an uncommon happening at campaign events.

I’m sure we are all glad my former TV colleagues did not make it to many of those.


Dad – I don’t know how you did it – but when I went hunting through your Wairarapa College yearbook and noticed your nickname was Romeo – it sounds like you did OK.

My mother Metita – left as part of a repatriation scheme – she didn’t know she was leaving Tokelau until the day she left.

They departed their homeland as 16 year olds – they left behind their loved ones, their culture, their religion to seek a better life in New Zealand.

Through hard work and sacrifice – and some help from the state – they toiled to make sure their hard work counted for something.

My parents wanted to ensure their three sons and daughter were raised as New Zealanders – they also wanted us to hold on to the important aspects of their way of life from the Pacific.

One reason I always like maiden speeches, is they are a reminder of the families behind an MP, and the incredible sacrifices parents make for their children.

Last week I got a letter of congratulations from Ward Clarke – my High School Principal.

I have two vivid memories of Mr Clark.

He espoused the value of the afternoon nap.

And each year he delivered us this quote from William Penn which inspired me and which I would like to share as I come to an end -.

I expect to pass through life but once.

If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.

A very nice touching speech. Well done Kris.

Dr Cullen’s Maiden Speech

April 29th, 2009 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

A reader asked if a copy of Dr Cullen’s maiden speech could be located as it was not online. I put out a cry for help,and someone has found a copy, so enjoy:

New Zealand Parliamentary Debates 23 April 1982, vol. 443, p 441-446

23 April 1982 Address in Reply 441

Dr CULLEN (St. Kilda): I rise feeling like the elusive “scarlet pimpernel” of the Labour Party. Members opposite, or at least some of them, have worked themselves into a righteous lather of trembling indignation about the left-wing academics in the Labour Party. At last, the “one and only” has stood up to be counted. The previous Opposition maiden speakers are not academics by their immediate former profession. I am the first Opposition speaker to be so. Three Opposition members might be classed as academics, but I am not sure about their qualifications: the member for Christchurch Central is a lawyer, and therefore qualified to make an income outside—and that may be an automatic disqualification; and the member for Te Atatu and the member for Mt Albert taught at Auckland University, but as an Otago man I am not clear about their status as academics. When the compliments about left-wing academics are thrown across the House I shall be grateful if they are addressed to me personally and not spread around in an unwarranted fashion.

I affirm my loyalty to the Queen, and her heirs and successors, whoever they may be.

Mr East: And to your old school, Christ’s College.

Dr CULLEN: And to my old school, Christ’s College. I am proud of the fact that my secondary education was not paid for by the taxpayers of New Zealand but by the farmers of Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay. I ripped them off for 5 years then, and I shall get stuck into them again in the next few years, so the honourable member should not bring that subject up too often.

The rest is over the break.


Final Maiden Speech

February 12th, 2009 at 11:31 am by David Farrar

The final maiden speech was given yesterday by new Green MP Catherine Delahunty.  It is online here. Some extracts:

Mr Speaker, Te Tiriti o Waitangi is like a rope between us, the indigenous manawhenua and the Tangata Tiriti. We, Tangata Tiriti hold on to the rope because we need it most. At our end the rope is made of the bones and tears of migrants – many of whom left cold islands on the other side of the world hoping desperately for a better life. And that better life came to pass through systemic violence, theft and denial. Te Tiriti, a frayed and stretched arrangement is the tie that binds us to this place and to the hope that violence, theft and denial need not be the basis for our bonds in the future.

A nice cheerful start.

We enjoy ongoing colonial privilege, but we have an opportunity to take responsibility for this and work for a justice-based peace. This justice is desperately needed from Ruatoki to Gaza.

Hmmn I think she just compared the Urerewa Raids to the conflict in Gaza. Well who knows, what she really meant.

But first I thank my mother for her vital lesson that a background of privilege and racism need not distort the human heart

So is she saying her mother came from a racist background?

Despite that healthy suspicion towards institutions I embrace this new chapter with all the illusions of a maiden. Last time I was a maiden was 40 years ago. It’s refreshing to revisit that time of passionate conviction, when it was our unique duty to resist the system while wearing a lot of black clothing.

Umm, was she a cat burglar?

The person who pushed me into this was my partner Gordon Jackman who lives issues of justice every day. They say that behind every great man is an exhausted woman, or behind every great woman is a man trying to slow her down, but I say: beside this ordinary woman is an extraordinary and totally supportive man.

So it is just all the other men who are slowing down great women?

When I first marched on Parliament it was in a pushchair, protesting against nuclear weapons. At 10, I stood with my sisters on those steps of Moehau granite as we protested against troops being sent to Vietnam, and at 16 I led the first union of high school students to those same steps.

Wow she was a political activist as a two year old. Obviously her parents believed in letting her form her own views.

And, to my friends of the last decade – the educators for social change and social justice – these years have been ones of learning, so much richer than any unit standard or university essay. We have travelled a road that is made by walking and we have met with inspiring community activists and workers along the way. Thanks to the Treaty educators, the disability activists, the Women’s liberation and gay rights workers, the environmental campaigners, the unemployed rights activists, community development leaders and young unionists, the collective gardeners and all the other targets of SIS and Threat Assessment Unit time wasting.

I think she missed out the whales.

The hardest issue I have ever learned about remains riddled with denials and taboos. As a TAB — a temporarily able bodied person — I grew up with all the prejudices our society has developed to justify our discrimination against people living with impairments.

Very Orwellian – instead of disabled people., we define those who are not disabled as “temporarily abled bodied”.

In a healthy group the individual can thrive, it is not a war between nanny state and the free market, the real struggle is between earth-based collective well-being versus a polluted globalised greed.

All worship Gaia and you will be happy.

The international financial crisis is inextricably linked to climate change and if we can’t work the linkage out then Papatuanuku will spell it out for us.

Wow, climate change is to blame for the financial crisis also!

Well one can’t accuse Catherine of hiding who she is, and what she believes in. Never though we would find someone who makes Sue Bradford look like a reactionary sellout to the forces of capitalism!

Was a very funny moment last night, related to the speech. During the afore mentioned drinks, one National MP gave an impromptu impassioned speech on a particular topic. She was clapped at the end of the fiery speech, until the Nat next to her did the best burn I have seen in ages, and serenely commented that it was the best speech he had heard since Catherine Delahunty’s maiden speech. Within seconds everyone was in hysterics, as this new ultimate put down.

Amy Adams Maiden Speech

December 11th, 2008 at 2:05 pm by David Farrar

Amy is the MP for Selwyn – a seat that has produced many good MPs, including Sir John Hall:

We seem to raise strong politicians on the Canterbury plains. I come from the same part of the country as the great Sir John Hall, a farmer, and former premier of New Zealand who, in the 1870’s, formed and maintained a government in a period of change and great instability. Sir John is particularly to be remembered for one of his final acts of public life which was to successfully sheppard the women’s suffrage bill through the House in the 1890’s.

Living in a world where women in NZ have risen to the top in almost every profession, and now dominate the universities, it is hard to believe that only just over 100 years ago they didn’t even have the right to vote. And it was not until WWII, that women seriously started to enter the workforce.

In the passage of time we seem to have lost sight of the enormous contribution Sir John made and as a woman now representing his home area, I want to take a moment to acknowledge his legacy.

As a farmer, he and his brothers formed one of the first large-scale sheep runs in the South Island, which later became Terrace station. And as a politician for the original Selwyn seat, he was respected for his integrity, and huge contribution to the developing nation’s landscape.

Sir John was a staunch conservative, who felt women would bring more decorum and civilized behavior to politics, plus would be least likely to countenance official extravagance.

Women, he noted “instinctively possess a far keener insight into character than men, and the result of giving them a vote would be that a candidate’s chance at election would depend more on his character, for trustworthiness, for ability and for straightforwardness than upon mere professions made on the hustings.”

I find it interesting that even enlightened MPs such as Sir John argued women should get the vote not on the basis of it being a fundamental right for all adults, but on the basis it would produce better outcomes!

I come to this House as a commercial lawyer and a Canterbury sheep farmer and based on that just last week in Wellington someone called a “typical Nat”. I make no apology for that side of my background, I am proud of what I have worked hard to achieve, but for those looking to stereotype me it is worth pointing out that I also grew up in a sole parent household, always short of money, with my mother putting herself through a degree with two pre-schoolers underfoot, eventually becoming a psychologist bonded to the education department.

All these new MPs are making it very hard for those fighting class wars from the 50s to portray National as the party of inherited privilege.

At this time, we need the rural sector more than ever. We need to treasure our rural communities, not trash them.

Something that worries me is how many New Zealanders have lost touch with the land. Most kiwi kids don’t visit farms anymore, they don’t see lambs in spring, and they don’t grow up knowing that farmers care about their land, its health and its future. It’s not in their interests to pillage nature. Farmers farm for future generations, and they farm for the prosperity of all New Zealand.

Actually it worries me too how few kids gets exposed to the outdoors and rural NZ. I was very lucky that growing up we had a few acres in Reikorangi, and over the summer would help the local farmer out mustering stock, dagging etc etc.

We must also remember that the plight of the agriculture is not just about the success of our economy. The world has a massively expanding population and UN predictions are that feeding those people will be one of our biggest challenges in years to come. We cannot afford to let our agricultural industry shrink in NZ where we have the proven capability to produce some of the best, and most environmentally sound, foodstuffs in the world.

And if we follow a fundamentalist approach to climate change, the only way to reduce emissions enough will be to slaughter livestock, rather than have them produce food for the world.

Making laws that effect people’s lives is a very grave responsibility. And when the law does put restrictions on people, we owe it to them to make the rules clear and concise, and not open to subjective interpretation leading to wide inconsistencies of result.


Mr Speaker, business in this country has often been demonized in recent years as large, heartless corporations making money off Kiwis for their international owners.

But in reality the face of New Zealand business is a couple of guys working in a workshop out the back of town fixing cars. Or a mum selling kids products via a website from home. Or builders, sparkies and cleaners. Lawnmowing contractors, painters.

The productivity of this country is in their hands. They form the bulk of New Zealand businesses, and they will be very exposed in the coming economic storm. They are the infantry of our economy, and they are fighting on the frontline right now.

So are we sending in reinforcements? Or are we going to abandon them?

Well Labour and Greens are fighting to make it harder for small businesses.

The state is here to help, but its role is not to run your life, tell you what to do or how to do it.

The role of Government is not to wrap us in cotton-wool to ‘save us from ourselves’.

I can assure you that I will stick up for the right for kiwi kids to play on swings, see-saws, skateboards and cycles, and to climb trees and build treehouses without having to apply for a building consent!


The full speech is over the break.


Kelvin Davis Maiden Speech

December 11th, 2008 at 9:04 am by David Farrar

Labour List MP Kelvin Davis delivered his maiden speech yesterday. Davis was a very respected principal in Northland before becoming an MP. Some extracts:

Prosperity of all Maori is necessary if we are to fulfil the words of our great Tai Tokerau rangatira Sir James Henare, when he once said, “It is preposterous that any Maori should aspire to become a poor pakeha when their true destiny, prescribed by the Creator, is to become a great Maori.”

What makes Maori great? I believe any Maori who achieves their potential or beyond and bolsters the standing of their whänau and community achieves a measure of greatness. As a former principal it was immensely rewarding to witness the joy and satisfaction on the face of whänau when their children achieved. I was acutely aware though of how thin those ranks of achievement are in many of our schools.

NZ history shows that Maori can succeed in the face of adversity. But this success needs to become the norm rather than the exception. The greatness of a nation is linked to the distinction of its people. Mr Speaker I come to the House seeking to make a contribution that enriches our nation through expanding the ranks of those Maori families who seek educational achievement. The lessons of the chalkface have value and ought to be borne in mind as we debate how to innovate, fund and improve our system of education.

Reducing the number of Maori who leave school unable to read and write, let alone achieving qualifications is a goal I am sure all parties share.

Educational engagement and achievement is vital to Maori greatness and prosperity. We will achieve more with one full generation of highly educated Maori, than we will from the last 168 years of grievance.

I’ve spent twenty years at the chalk face in education. I enjoyed a 14 year career as a Principal and am especially proud of the achievements of the Board of Trustees, staff and students of Kaitaia Intermediate School, which in seven years saw a school turn from almost total academic failure to academic success.

In my experience, while there can be several factors affecting a school, the quality of leadership from its principal has a great impact than all the other factors. I’d personally pay the top principals a lot more.

Conversely, we – Maori – have to realise one of our greatest weaknesses is to blame the system. We know that history has conspired against us; we know a heck of a lot happened to our people that set our progress and development back and has resulted in our struggle to prosper and achieve greatness.

But as critical as I am of those who deny the effects of the damage the system has done to Maori over the last 168 years, I am equally critical of Maori who only blame the system for their own failings.

Do we as a people have the courage to accept responsibility for our lives? It’s time for us to collectively step up and as we say – para te huarahi – blaze a trail.

I’ve sat in hui where the talk has all been about the injustices, the grievances, the excessive navel gazing that stagnates the mind and saps the energy and the soul.

It’s time we stopped wallowing in self pity and instead looked for solutions.

Excellent stuff. If this is the quality of the new Labour intake, they will do well.

I conclude Mr Speaker by stating that I have hope for the future, the future of my children and the future for us as Maori. I believe that by lifting Maori educational achievement, and by us as Maori having the courage to take control of our present, we will as a people achieve prosperity and the future greatness that is our destiny.

Hell, I’m almost looking forward to Davis as a Minister! A very different quality to the Mahara Okeroa’s and Dave Hereroa’s.

The full speech is over the break


Hekia Parata’s Maiden Speech

December 11th, 2008 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Another maiden speech yesterday was Hekia Parata.

In 1885, my great, great, grandfather, Tame Parata, entered Parliament as the Member for the South Island. He served a distinguished career of 26 years, dedicating his efforts to his people in their search for quality citizenship in their own lands.

I never knew Hekia’s great, great grandfather was an MP.

Later, in 1905, another tipuna of mine (ours), Sir Apirana Ngata, entered Parliament as the Member for Eastern Maori, and committed his public service of 38 years to seeking opportunities for, and emphasizing obligations to citizenship.

I enter Parliament and begin this phase of my public service journey proud to follow in the footsteps of these ancestors in the pursuit of quality citizenship for all. They provide a model that I am glad to emulate: unambiguously Ngati Porou and Ngai Tahu; unequivocally a New Zealander.

What a great way of expressing it.

I came from a community at a time when it was peopled by hard, hard workers, who eked out livings on infertile and soft country that even as it was farmed it slipped away into the river and out to sea. These people suffered the boom and bust of officialdom; the capricious ideas of what next to invest in; how now we might be saved – always by well meaning yet very distant bureaucrats and politicians; and all the time, oblivious to the possibility that we might actually save ourselves.

And you see why Hekia is in the National Party.

In my lifetime I have seen the very kinds of communities of my upbringing succumb to the disease of dependency where State intervention is the norm not the exception; where care givers, and providers, and facilitators, and sector workers replace aunts, uncles, neighbours and friends; where State welfare (rather than social welfare) is the first resort and the basis of an intergenerational life sentence rather than a lifeline; where despair and alienation are masked by drugs and alcohol and abuse; and displaced anger makes victims of children and their mothers; where low expectation in schools is predictably repaid with low achievement; where fault and blame laying has become the defence of failure.

The defence of failure – all too common.

I come to Parliament equipped with our experience of starting our own businesses and managing them through all the highs and lows that attend such initiatives. We have faced the risks that small businesses up and down the country face. We have slogged through the mire of compliance regimes and related costs. We have encountered the impervious official at the point of export, indifferent to the effects of inexplicable bureaucracy and the costs incurred.

We must liberate businesses to create employment and wealth, and bend our minds to that, rather than to ever more clever ways to redistribute it.

Hekia is that rare breed – someone who has been a top civil servant and also a successful small business owner.

The full speech is over the break:


Maiden Speech for Todd McClay

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

Todd McClay is the new MP for Rotorua. Extracts below from his maiden speech, 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 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.

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 for Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga

December 10th, 2008 at 10:29 pm by David Farrar

This was the first speech in the Address in Reply – a great honour. Extracts below, and the full speech can be viewed on TV3.

In Maungakiekie, there are 149 different ethnic groups represented. Approximately 50% European, 22%
Asian, 19% Pasefika and 11% Maori. Over 1/3 of our resident population are born overseas, and a 1/3 speak foreign languages. 70% have religious faith and our schools range from decile 1 to decile 9.

A hugely diverse electorate.

My personal story is borne of the fabric of the community I represent. Born in Samoa, I migrated to New Zealand when I was a child and lived in Mangere with my family. We lived in a 3 bedroom house with double garage where our custom to care for our extended family sometimes meant that we
had up to 16 people living in our home at any one time.

My father in particular made huge sacrifices. The stories he told of shifting from the warm climes of Apia to the snow and sleet of Bluff moves me. The stories he told having to walk from Ponsonby to Parnell to save the bus fare in order to have lunch money humbles me.

My parents suffered and endured a great deal just so that us children could live better lives.
We were not a wealthy family but we were rich in spirit, resourceful and determined to succeed in this

The sacrifices parents will make for their children, never fails to amaze me.

My family continues to be, the cornerstone of my life. My parents instilled in us strong family values,
Christian principles and a diligent work ethic. They are values of honouring your elders, respecting others’ opinions and treating others as you yourself would like to be treated.

Values, that NZ needs more of.

Education for me was the key to unlocking so many of the opportunities I have enjoyed in life. Education allowed me to travel, meet new people, experience different cultures. They also taught me that the best teachers in the world can and should be your parents who encourage aspiration, and teach core values and an honourable way of life.

Sadly not even the best teachers in the world can usually compensate for not having parents who encourage aspiration.

I was taught my success will not be based on bank balances, assets or looks. Success will be based on the breadth and the depth of relationships and the ability to positively impact and love others.

By that measure, Sam is already hugely successful.

I am also acutely aware of the importance of the private sector in building the future of this country. 70% of the jobs in my electorate are provided by the private sector: It’s health is their lifeline.

Fundamental to the health of the private sector in these difficult times are lower taxes, less bureaucratic red tape, and legislation which encourages fruitful investment into our productive assets and industries.

A nice reminder that the Government does not create wealth.

Finally I would like to mention my personal belief in the notion of public service. We have a Samoan proverb O le ala I le pule o le tautua. Loosely translated, this means the path to leadership is through service. To serve means to listen, respect, engage, and sometimes even to disagree. But it is a verb, and therefore one should always act. I look forward to implementing change in Maungakiekie and within this parliament through service to its people and institutions.

I am hoping that Sam will continue to serve, and in time, lead.

Praise for maiden speeches

December 10th, 2008 at 7:13 am by David Farrar

All_your_base at The Standard has a very generous post on the maiden speeches of Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga and Melissa Lee.

I’ve just watched the first part of the Address in Reply debate which included maiden speeches by two new National Party MPs – Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga and Melissa Lee. They were impressive. This in itself should provide some cause for concern for Labour but more ominous should be the signal that while this year’s election is over, National’s campaign for 2011 has already begun.

I doubt very much that Sam and Melissa’s names were drawn from a ballot.

They were not. It is a rare privilege to move and second the Address in Reply debate, and the honours normally go to two new MPs whom are judged by the party leadership as having bright futures ahead of them.

In their speeches both made much of the changing face of the National Party. If I heard her correctly, Ms Lee will be New Zealand’s first Korean MP and the first female Korean MP in the world outside of her mother country. Mr Lotu-Iiga scored a convincing victory in the previously Labour-held Maungakiekie electorate. Both MPs spoke confidently in english, in their native tongues, and in Maori. If Labour was ever becoming complacent about the continued traditional support of the nationwide ethnic community, the approach National took today should be a wake-up-call.

Both speeches were excellent. I blog some quotes below.

Finally, I may have missed something but it would have been nice to see even a few of the members of the Labour caucus cross the floor to congratulate the new National Party MPs as did those from other parties (including the Greens). You don’t have to like it, but for the time being you might just have to suck it up.

Yeah maiden speeches are generally a time to put party differences aside.

NZPA reports on parts of Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga’s speech:

Education, family and faith mean a lot to new National MP Sam Lotu-Iiga.

The Samoan-born MP was the first to give a maiden speech in the new Parliament which opened today.

He recalled a childhood in Mangere, where extended family at times swelled the numbers in the household to 16, and sacrifices his parents made.

“My parents suffered and endured a great deal just so us children could live better lives. We were not a wealthy family but we were rich in spirit, resourceful and determined to succeed in this country.”

While he thanked his wife Jules and family, several watching in the audience openly wept. His own voice broke when he talked about his late daughter who he was sure could hear his words. “I miss you and I love you.”

Sam’s family has had huge challenges this year.

Mr Lotu-Iiga said he was raised with strong family values, Christian principles and a strong work ethnic.

“I was taught at a young age that education was the key to a successful future.”

Educated at Auckland Grammar School Mr Lotu-Iiga went on to study at Auckland University to attain BCom/LLB and MCom(Hons) degrees. He also holds an MBA from Cambridge University (Queens College).

I’ll link to the full speech once I have it.

Melissa’s maiden speech was also very personal and moving:

It is with great honour that I deliver my maiden speech not only as the first MP of Korean descent in New Zealand, but also the first Woman of Korean descent to become an MP outside of Korea. It is indeed humbling. It is truly a sign that the world has come of age in a global sense. It’s also a step toward realizing our Prime Minister’s and the National Party’s vision, to make our parliament more diverse and truly representative of the population that now make up our country.

I am also very pleased to be giving my Maiden Speech in this House, at a time when New Zealand has chosen to say NO to a party, whose policy gained support from people who “dislike” people like me – simply because of my ethnic heritage. Call it irony or just a fortunate turn of events that with the exit of that party, comes the first minister of Asian origin in the Cabinet. New Zealand has come of age it seems by saying we have no room at this inn for racists. It is the dawning of a new era, and it is my privilege to be a part of it.

NZ First did run shocking campaigns targeting immigrants based on their race. I actually don’t think Peters himself was racist, but think he did set out to appeal to people who believed in a white only immigration policy, such as his Deputy Leader appeared to.

I pay homage to the tangata whenua … To all of the canoes that crossed the Pacific Ocean from Hawaiiki to New Zealand.

They paved the way, and they initiated a unity that has made us who we are today.. We are one people.

Like them, I too arrived on a waka in 1988.

The only difference was that my oars were replaced with wings and it travelled much faster than that of the ancestors.

But as I embraced New Zealand, it embraced me back, and nurtured me into what I have become.

Today I can honestly identify myself as being a New Zealander, and Aotearoa being my home..

I love the symbolism of a Korean born MP, speaking in Maori, to explain how she has become a New Zealander.

The full speech is over the break.