Karanga te rā, karanga te rā!
Karangahia ngā ihi o te rā, kia hui te ora, kia hui te mārama
Wetekina te pō, kia pūrangiaho te kōrero
Tākiri te haeata, ka ao, ka awatea, horahia mai ko te ao mārama
Tīhei mauri ora
Kei aku iti, kei aku rahi, kei aku manukura tēnā koutou
Koutou kua karapinepine nei i te reo karanga o te Pāti Kākariki
Koutou, otirā tātou kua whakarauika mai nei ki te whakanui i te kaupapa e tūhono nei i a tātou:
Ko te rangatiratanga, ko te mana motuhake me te kaitiakitanga
When I look at my tamariki, my mokopuna, I feel a huge responsibility to make real change for them and for their future.
I want to see an Aotearoa where all tamariki can grow up safe and loved by their whānau, with everything they need to be healthy and nurtured.
I want to see an Aotearoa that truly values Te Ao Māori knowledge and leadership, and embraces it as part of the enduring solutions that we all deserve.
I want to see an Aotearoa that recognises we are better when we collectively support one another.
The Green vision is an Aotearoa where all of us have what we need to live good lives.
I yearn for an Aotearoa that prioritises our relationship to our stunning natural world so much so, that the generations after us can be proud of what we left for them.
I stand here today – as a wahine Māori, as a Green Co-leader and Minister, as a member of a progressive and passionate party – and I am proud to say we are more determined than ever to achieve this vision.
Our Te Mātāwaka caucus, which is our Māori and Pasifika Caucus – includes our Māori, Pasifika and Tangata Tiriti Members of Parliament. So that is myself, the chair of Te Mātāwaka Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, Teanau Tuiono and Jan Logie as our Tiriti spokesperson.
This year in Waitangi, Te Mātāwaka had the opportunity to announce six pou priorities to uphold the mana of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
We have emphasised Tino Rangatiratanga, Mana Motuhake and Kaitiaki responsibilities by pushing the government to have better relationships, and hear the calls from our people and communities.
We are committed to ensuring more Māori and Pasifika-led initiatives are resourced and authorised to lead across all the mahi.
As Minister and Co-leader, the commitment to Te Tiriti justice is absolutely integral to everything I and the Greens do, but needs to be integral to the work that ALL politicians do.
Hutia te rito o te harakeke,
Kei whea te komako e ko?
Ki mai ki ahau; He aha te mea nui o te Ao?
Maku e ki atu,
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata!
In te ao Māori we refer to the pā harakeke, a plantation of flax bushes, as an approach to community wellbeing.
At the centre of the flax bush, is our most precious new growth; a baby, a child, a person in need of help. This is the rito.
Immediately surrounding, are the protector leaves that are vital to that new growth. These represent whānau including parents, nannies and papas, aunties and uncles, close friends and loved ones. These are the awhi rito, who embrace the new growth rito.
The outer fronds of the harakeke, represent the strengths of our ancestors across many generations and the broader supports in community, hapū and iwi. These provide shelter, belonging and protection for the whānau leaves in the centre.
Te Ao Māori is about valuing children as taonga, who can only be strong and healthy when at the centre of a thriving pā harakeke.
This is how we must approach our biggest challenges as a country. We can see, that tangata whenua hold the key to these enduring solutions for generations to come.
It is our role as Green MPs and in Government to highlight that our whānau hold the solutions and require the support to strengthen our communities across the country in the big challenges we face.
This is my approach to my role as the Minister of the Prevention of Family Violence and Sexual Violence.
I acknowledge my colleague Jan Logie, who led this kaupapa in Government last term as Undersecretary. Her incredible leadership made it clear that we must change how we work.
Jan’s foundation work led to this government prioritising the prevention of violence and led to the creation of this first ever ministerial appointment. I am privileged to be leading transformational change.
This requires a long-term commitment to a whole of government and community vision of eliminating family violence and sexual violence. We must massively build up our prevention work to stop violence from happening in the first place. At the same time we need to expand the safe responses that finally interrupt the intergenerational trauma caused by this harm.
In May we launched our hui around the country, to inform the creation of a national strategy and action plan for the prevention of family and sexual violence.
To even get this far, we had to firstly acknowledge the damage and violence that has been done to tangata whenua by the Crown. We began a pathway to restore that relationship. This was a necessary starting place but it will remain central to our government’s approach and solutions to violence.
Now I want to be very clear that family violence and sexual violence happens across every community. But some people have more privilege and resource to be able to get away with and hide their violence more than others. It is completely unacceptable that any one group is demonised for violence.
But what is more important, is how to achieve enduring solutions. Engaging with people at the frontlines of harm, is absolutely essential to shifting how we work.
I will continue to meet with a wide range of people and communities who want support to just live their lives in peace. I meet with victim-survivors and people who use violence - and sometimes they have been both.
When I meet with women, there is common agreement. Women all want healthy, violence-free lives for their whole families and their children and it is my job to meet with them about how we can achieve that vision.
And that includes meeting with women associated with gangs and I will not ever apologise for that.
I am proud that as a Green Minister I can do what is right and not just what is popular. It is in working with people, not stomping on people, that the solutions lie.
It is also my job, as a Green Minister, to call out dangerous, racist and classist political narratives from other political parties.
Those politicians who deliberately ignore the systemic causes of crime and violence, do not make communities safer or uplift the mana of our communities.
Their dehumanising narratives have no place in Aotearoa.
Everyone we have engaged with, from the government sector, victim advocates, victims and perpetrators and the loads of research available, everyone knows the harmful stigmatisation must stop.
But, the ghost of Don Brash is haunting the National Party.
It is lazy and dangerous politics we are seeing from the Opposition.
They do not have answers or solutions to the big issues in Aotearoa, and so they are seeking to divide our communities.
Just this week, National voted against banning conversion therapy, even though they say they don’t support conversion therapy.
They used lazy and dangerous politics to get some attention, putting politics ahead of peoples’ lives.
That is the latest step in desperate attempts from the National Party, that will make things worse in our communities, not better.
It is abhorrent. We will not let it stand. We are here to push back against that type rubbish that threatens our communities who have been smeared for generations by people who hold power selfishly.
And I have faith that what the Opposition is trying to do will not work. People do not want what the Opposition is selling.
The nasty politics of yesterday will not feature in the Aotearoa of tomorrow.
Aotearoa, as we know it today, is built on stolen whenua. There is mamae, there is hurt, there are generations of trauma to address.
But we cannot and must not shy away from that.
Colonisation flows through our history and our present; it is in the systems of government we work in; it is in the history we teach to our children; it is in the streets and communities we live in.
But colonisation does not have to be a part of our future. We can reimagine an Aotearoa decolonised, and indigenous ways of life revitalised.
Aotearoa is facing a reckoning, and in this moment lies a beautiful opportunity for real change for planet and for people.
I recently met with local migrant and refugee women of colour in Christchurch. They spoke to the fear they have about asking for help when they are victims of family violence. They held the same fear that their families will be separated, judged, and traumatised, but not helped.
These are the same concerns we hear from hapū and whanau, from people of all backgrounds, and this shows me that what works and is needed for Māori will benefit everyone. A re-indigenised Aotearoa, is a beautiful way to care for all of us!
As I mentioned earlier, from May and over three months we held community led engagement to help create a national strategy to eliminate family violence and sexual violence.
Now that this is completed, the National Strategy and Action Plans are being drafted for Cabinet consideration in September. I am so grateful to the deep insights that people have given to inform this strategy. They gave their experiences with generosity and hope for real change and peaceful lives for all.
In Budget 2021 in May, I was really pleased to announce another 131.9 million dollars in new funding towards the transformation work and community-led, whānau-centred solutions to wellbeing and living lives free of violence.
This funding includes providing people with support to stop using violence. It addresses immediate safety for victims and allows them to stay safe and protected in their homes.
It also includes local programs across the country to support new parents with skills and tools for violence free strategies with their children.
I am proud of the work done so far to get us to this point, but it is going to take a lot more work and long-term planning to try and shift to something that is dramatically different.
I know this work must be properly resourced by government, then led and owned by communities. I know that if we do it right, this work will endure beyond any Minister or political party, because the people will demand that this path be protected. It is long overdue, but it is never too late to make a commitment to our whānau and our communities.
We are in a Co-operation Agreement, where we have the Greens in government, but also not in government. As well as violence prevention, I am also an Associate Housing Minister with oversight of the homelessness responses in Aotearoa.
The Greens have always said that housing is a human right, and a core public good. Houses are homes for people to live in, and not just a way to make profit.
Our country is one of the least affordable places in the world to live. Whānau are being pushed into tenuous renting situations that are cold, damp, unsafe and inaccessible.
Whānau are living in transitional and emergency housing for more time than anyone ever thought we would need. The impact is unacceptable, and unnecessary. We can choose to fix this.
This is a problem that has been decades in the making. Previous governments chose to sell off public housing and have not yet replaced this desperately needed, quality, affordable housing at the scale required.
We need a range of solutions to prevent further homelessness and to address the complex challenges that people experiencing homelessness face.
We are starting to make good progress. The country’s first Homelessness Action Plan was launched in February 2020, supported by $300 million in funding. The plan aims to help more than 10,000 people.
And the new transitional housing places that I have announced this term are making an important difference for everyone in them.
Importantly, the Māori and Iwi Housing Innovation Framework for Action (MAIHI) is guided by Māori principles to deliver a system-wide response to Māori housing stress.
In this year’s Budget, we extended support to the 1,000 people who were housed during the initial COVID-19 response.
The government also invested $380 million dollars in Māori housing for around 1,000 additional houses, and repairs to a further 700 houses. In addition, Māori will have direct access to a $350 million Māori Infrastructure Fund.
Right now, we are doing the 18-month review of the Homelessness Action Plan. The Homelessness Action Plan was created with community and the sector and was the first time Government ever had a comprehensive plan.
It was from a time before the global pandemic which has since made things even harder for those already struggling.
I expect that the review will show there are more actions we can take to truly make homelessness brief, rare and non-recurring.
One area I want to see more attention to, is for young people who are homeless. There are unique solutions needed for young people who miss out on the support that they would get if they were adults. As well as housing and social services, we need to focus on reconnection and establishing relationships back with their whānau and community.
I want to thank the many organisations who are already doing this work and are ready to do more of it. I have a responsibility to prioritise your voices in my work across all the housing Ministers.
Our Cooperation Agreement means that we retain our independent Green voice to put forward bold, new solutions.
So on housing the Greens have continued campaigning for a broad range of well thought-out solutions that will actually turn the crisis around.
We want to see a proper Warrant of Fitness for rental homes, so all tenants are guaranteed a healthy home and don’t have to demand what should already be in place.
And we are the only political party who have put rent controls on the agenda. The situation is dire enough to have something direct and immediate for people who rent while we wait for more public and affordable housing to be built.
I know the Government needs to do more to improve lives for people. And I also know that it will take time and dedication to address these big issues.
In the Greens, we will continue to use our independent voice to encourage our Government partners to go further and faster. We must help build more public support for bold changes, and strengthen the mandate for the Government to act with urgency and resolution that matches the scale of the housing crisis.
Our Green vision to see everyone living in a safe, warm, dry, affordable, and accessible home, will remain an absolute priority for us.
As I said earlier, COVID-19 has shone a glaring light on the inequities in our society, and has made it harder for people who were already struggling.
But it has also shown us that we can make big, bold changes, fast, when we work together.
We know that it is bold changes that are needed for everyone to have what they need to live good lives, for a stable climate and for thriving nature.
We will keep the mana of people and the planet at heart of what we do.
We will strive for a world that keeps the pā harakeke nourished and bursting with health. We will insist that Tiriti justice is upheld across our work. We will be clear that tino rangatiratanga is key to healing relationships across communities and reconnecting all of us with our seas, our rivers, our bush, our mountains and our whenua.
Our politics is about restoration and protection.
We know everyone must commit to this.
This is intergenerational work. I have faith in the work we are doing. I have hope because I know that you, our members, are with us as we carry out this transformational work.
The Green Party will always stand up to the politics of fear and division and exploitation.
We will meet that narrative with a stronger message: one of inclusion, of acceptance, and of support for one another.
We get further, and we get there faster, when we move together.
Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.