Marama Davidson's State of the Planet speech

Mā te oranga o te taiao, ka ora ai te iwi, mō te takitini kāore mō te torutoru anake.

Nei ra taku mihi tuatahi ki a koe e te koka o te ao, korua ko te matua ki runga ra – me o tamariki katoa huri noa I te ao turoa. Ko Papa, Ko Rangi, ko ngā Atua katoa tēnā koutou.

Ki ngā tūpuna hei takoto te ara tika mō tātou te iwi o nāianei, tēnei te mihi ki a koutou.

E rere haere ana ngā mihi ki te mana whenua o te rohe nei. Ki ngā hapū me ngā iwi o Tāmaki Makaurau, tēnā koutou mō tō koutou manaakitanga i tēnei wā.

Huri noa ki a koutou kua whakarauika mai nei i tēnei rā, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

Kia ora!

Well, what a time to be a part of this world!

Today, I want to share some of the big dreams and visions that my Green colleagues and I are working for.

Over the summer I was grateful to return to my Hokianga homeland with my family including my dad, who is also here today.

During our holiday dad showed me the Kauri tree he had planted over 20 years ago on our whenua.

That Kauri is pretty big now, about as tall as the house.

And my brother said the best time to plant this tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.

Well, we can’t go back in time, so we need do all we can now to protect our climate, solve inequality and care for nature.

Addressing these issues is the priority for the Green Party and I want to thank you all for being here today to hear what I have to say about this mahi.

And let me take this opportunity to thank our current and former Green Party MPs, our local government representatives and our Green Party leadership and our party members and volunteers who are the backbone of everything we do.

Here in Auckland our communities want more from Government. They want long lasting change.

They want action on the climate.

They want strong communities which means good housing, livable incomes, accessible transport, meaningful jobs, quality healthcare and thriving natural parks.

That’s what the Green Party is here to do.

We measure our success through the well-being of our mokopuna, through the growth in our precious native wildlife, through the harmony in our communities and through the safety of our environment.

Protecting our climate, solving inequality and caring for nature – I want to see Aotearoa flourish.

We’ve been in Government for two years, and in that time we’ve done so much – including banning new offshore oil and gas permits, delivering a blueprint for a kinder and stronger social safety net, and passing the Zero Carbon Act.

We’ve acted to protect our people and our planet.

It is only with the Greens in government that we’ve turned the ship around, but we know we need to go further and faster on the issues that matter.

Over the summer I’ve spent time with whānau on my whenua, my awa and my moana, I’ve talked with our home people and local communities and I’ve walked along the coastline and in our native bush.

This has renewed my determination and resolve for the work we need to do.

Today, I want to talk about the future our people and our planet deserve.

Our vision for nature is that she is thriving, living and constantly breathing around us.

Before even our human needs come into play, Papatūānuku must be treasured and protected for her innate beauty.

Everything in the cycle of life is important – from the most minute of the 150 different types of organisms that live on Tāne Mahuta right through to the ancient giant Kauri tree ancestor itself.

So first, we must protect nature for nature’s sake, and second because we rely on Papatūānuku for our kai, for the air we breathe, for the water we drink and for our humanity.

Our water should be clean and refreshing, free from pollution and protected as a taonga to be cared for and nurtured.

We can have healthy forests of Kauri, oceans teaming with life, and valleys filled with native birdsong.

We can once again understand that animals are our relations.

I look forward to the day when humans stop thinking we can be the boss of our big Mama, and just love her the way we are supposed to.

Strong political leadership must recognise that tangata whenua and grassroots community movements are dedicated to protecting our future and the environment, and we need to support them.

I also want to talk about our vision for indigenous peoples.

Affirming indigenous knowledge, and leadership is essential to solving the most pressing issues of our time around climate, inequality and nature.

Around the globe indigenous peoples have been looking after the land and caring collectively for each other, for millennia.

As peoples we acknowledged early on that when we exploit something that our earth mother has provided us with, this has an impact on the rest of the cycle of life and on future generations.

We had to make mistakes, learn from them and work out how to keep life’s circle in balance so that nature was able to replenish herself.

And we have held on to these understandings long after our lands, waters and languages were taken from us.

We knew what a circular economy was centuries before the term was invented.

So around the world prioritising indigenous led solutions is our way forward.

Here in Aotearoa, Te Tiriti is our country’s founding document, forged at the creation of Māori and non-Māori living together in an equal and respectful relationship.

Upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the sovereignty of tangata whenua is simply the right thing to do.

When Aotearoa arrives at this understanding, we will be a nation where all our people and our environment flourish.

Indigenous thinking shows us how to be good ancestors to our descendants seven generations ahead.

Indigenous peoples expertise, knowledge and most importantly leadership is critical in protecting our climate, solving inequality and caring for our planet.

Part of solving inequality is acknowledging that our communities have always been diverse.

We need a world free of discrimination which celebrates our colourful and different lives.

The only reason our schools and hospitals, sports teams and work places, performance and art organisations, marae and community gardens – the only reason our communities – thrive is because of the love and time put in by so many different people from different walks of life.

Welcoming that diversity all around us is how we build cohesion and connection among groups so we can resolve the worlds issues together.

Our vision of cohesive and connected communities is founded on our shared notion of fairness.

When people have long-term warm homes, healthy kai on the table, enough money left to pay the bills and deal with life's surprise events, meaningful jobs with living wages, when schools and training places and healthcare providers and justice systems honour who people are and provide what people need when they need it – then communities and families are healthier, safer and stronger for everyone.

It matters to me that all people should have the same opportunities to live good lives.

That people are able to live the lives that they choose to live rather than the lives they are forced to tolerate.

I look forward to a shared understanding for example where sitting in an important meeting or at a bedside with a sick person are both recognised as high stake roles.

And we cannot address inequality without also addressing climate change.

Because we need to safeguard the living systems on which all of life and humanity depends.

This requires us to transform our system to one that reduces harmful emissions so that we leave our grandchildren a stable planet to live on.

I want to give an example about what happens when I speak publicly about climate change.

I put up a social media post recently about taking action on climate change.

Someone commented: “You know Marama I can’t even think about this climate stuff while I’m losing the house I live in because I can’t afford the rent increase.”

They raise a valid point.

In creating a zero carbon world, we have to make sure people are able to put food on the table and have a roof over their head, otherwise our solutions will seem irrelevant to their lives.

My vision for protecting our climate, solving inequality and caring for nature understands that all these issues are connected and dependent on each other and we must address them all holistically.

However, we need to be real about the challenges we face.

That the situation we are in, and the problems we are trying to solve, have been created and perpetuated deliberately to benefit a few at the expense of the many, and at the cost of our planet.

We have enough to ensure every single person lives a good, full life.

We have a beautiful and prosperous country that everyone could share in.

But for too long we have focused on short-term profit at the cost of our people and planet.

We have measured success based on abstract ideas of growth and worth instead of asking whether our children have full puku or our kaumatua have warm houses or our communities have strong bonds.

The problems we face now are the consequence of decisions our governments made, not just for the past thirty years but for generations.

By driving the theft of Māori land, encouraging the exploitation of our Pasifika neighbours, entrenching the inequality of women and the exclusion of people with disabilities, we, politicians, have supported the wealthiest few to get wealthier at everyone else’s expense, to build walls of poverty and disenfranchisement and call them opportunities.

As a country, we have sat on our hands as our natural taonga have been driven to the brink of extinction and climate change has accelerated due to an unfounded belief that the very market which benefits from this will fix it.

And in the process we have been divided against each other and told to think of ourselves as free-floating individuals, cut loose and competing against one another instead of working together.

We can choose something different. And we must.

Because if we don’t, we will see more unprecedented catastrophic weather events and fires like those in the Amazon and Australia, wrecking our landscapes, communities, homes, animals and families, world-wide.

More stressed rivers, which threatens not only the health of our communities but the health of all living systems which underpin our way of life and the extinction of more and more species

More of the misery, imprisonment, anger and despair plaguing many of our whānau.

In my turangawaewae of Northland the impact can be seen in the deteriorating Hokianga Harbour and the stressed Whirinaki Awa.

In New Plymouth we’re hearing about people not able to leave violent relationships because there’s nowhere for them to go.

People in Dunedin are experiencing more and more flooding every year, with no sign of improvement.

In Whanganui prisoners are returning into our justice system because there’s not enough support to help them reconnect to their communities.

In Christchurch it looks like the bonds of our communities challenged by white supremacists committing acts of unspeakable violence. 

And in my home community of Manurewa, South Auckland, it looks like queues at the local Work and Income Office starting as early 4:00am. 

I know that people are living this and I will not lecture them on their lives from this place of privilege.

But I want you to understand my priority has always been and will always be advocating for those who are struggling.

My priority is people living with these consequences – that’s why I’m here.

Earlier I touched on the interconnected nature of the big crises we’re facing of climate change, environmental degradation, and inequality.

Focusing on only each problem in isolation cannot and will not work. 

These crises will impact on women, on working people, on lower income communities, on people with disabilities and on indigenous communities in a way that is unjust.

We need to work together to understand the connections between progressive grassroots campaigns from Pacific leadership calling for a halt to the seas rising over their nations, to students striking for climate change action.

From anti-poverty and homelessness advocates to indigenous peoples protecting their lands and waters.

Not to mention people agitating for fair pay and equity agreements, and so many more!

I want to pay particular attention to tauiwi and allies around the world showing up alongside indigenous peoples on the front line protecting their lands.

The solidarity that is shown to first peoples movements is a power that has unlimited potential and I am excited to see more and more of it happening around the world.

We are all fighting the same oppressive forces.

These causes are all connected, they are all resisting the ongoing perpetuation of inequality and climate destruction.

But we have made start.

As the Co-Leader of the Green Party I know we have the responsibility to present the bold and big ideas that will serve as a catalyst for change.

Our 20 years in Parliament, and now two years in Government, have seen a massive shift in the public consciousness.

We have delivered more action on the climate emergency in the last two years than the previous 30 years of government combined.

James has passed the Zero Carbon Act with the strongest possible political consensus – and I know just how hard that was!

Julie Anne introduced a massive reprioritisation of transport spending to focus on modes like public transport, walking and cycling, which reduce emissions.

Gareth worked tirelessly to end new off shore oil and gas permits, to protect our planet and our climate.

Chloe has worked to expand free mental health services for our young people, making sure they get the help they need when they need it.

Golriz is a champion for improving our electoral law, so that we have a democratic system that people can trust.

Jan Logie is leading a system wide reform, bringing together government, community, business and Māori in our approach to ending sexual and domestic violence.

Working for nature, Eugenie has delivered the largest boost to conservation funding in sixteen years, started tackling the plastics crisis, and worked with Labour on major water reforms.

And I’ve worked on making renting safer, warmer, and more secure.

We’ve turned the ship around, but we know we need to go further and faster to protect our climate, solve inequality and care for nature. 

Just imagine what we could do with an increased presence in Government after the next election.

We’ve taken some big steps on our journey.

We’ve done critical work in this term of Parliament, at the heart of this Government.

I had the privilege – as I have had for several years now – of being at Ratana last Friday to celebrate the birthday and the inspiring legacy of Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana.

And I’ve been reflecting over this long holiday weekend about this Government’s legacy.

Legacy is planting a Kauri tree – it will be many years, generations even, before it’s fully grown.

But we can protect and nurture our legacy as we would protect and nurture the Kauri tree.

We’ve done so much, but it’s still not enough.

We can spend another three years building structural support around the Zero Carbon Act to help it succeed.

We can put a proper limit on climate pollution and fix the carbon price so polluters pay a fair share.

We need to keep working in our communities, our transport network and on our farms to make the Zero Carbon vision a reality.

We can continue to prioritize the most vulnerable in our society, and make sure every child in Aotearoa grows up happy and healthy and loved.

We’ve started to level the playing field between renters and homeowners – and now we need to massively increase the number of public homes we’re building, to ensure people can afford a good home as well as all the other basics required for a good life.

We’ve increased minimum wage and put more money into the pockets of single parents by removing unfair sanctions – next is fully implementing the recommendations from the expert welfare report and immediately increasing core benefits.

We can keep working to protect our native flora and fauna, those taonga which speak to who we are as people of this nation.

We have focused on tackling waste including banning single use plastic bags – but now we need companies to take responsibility for where their products end up.

We established Te Kahui Wai Māori, who have delivered te mana o te wai, a blueprint for restoring and protecting our waterways – now it’s our job to implement it.

With your help the Green Party can push further and faster. It’s possible.

Our work is not done and we cannot stand idle. We’ve planted a seedling – now we need to help it grow.

I mentioned earlier how excited I am to have this platform.

I will always be amazed that it is my job to share my dreams and visions for a better world based on the work of our flaxroots leadership all around us.

And I know that The People will be the first to tell me when it is time for me to sit down.

Until then I want to keep supporting your collective movements for transformative change.

I want to keep taking your voices into the halls of power.

Our communities’ voices, our city’s voices, and our country’s voices. Especially those voices that often get ignored.

This year, I will proudly be seeking the Green Party’s nomination for the Tāmaki Makaurau electorate, as I did last election.

Tāmaki Makaurau is where my family and I have chosen to make our home. It is where I return to after taking the region’s messages, hopes, and frustrations down to the Beehive.

I am proudly an Auckland MP.

And I am proud to stand with other Auckland Green MPs: Chloe, and Golriz.

When our communities in this city do well, it is good for communities throughout Aotearoa.

When our Tāmaki Makaurau rivers, harbours, and forests are healthy, it is a sign that ecosystems around the motu are healthy.

When our buses and our parks and our community space are filled with the sound of our people speaking our reo, we know the language is getting stronger.

This city is so vitally important, it deserves political competition – and political cooperation – that brings out the best in everyone.

This term in Parliament – I have known how important it is to hold the line for our peoples’ biggest concerns.

When whānau have had their tamariki unjustly removed by the State, I have called for support not separation.

When Auckland housing is seen as a way to make the rich, richer, I have dedicated my focus to ensuring that housing is a public good.

When others have stood by and refused to address Māori water rights, I have stood strong on our Green Party position which agrees with tangata whenua having proprietary, kaitiaki and rangatiratanga rights over water.

When Tāmaki mana whenua do the work to clean up our rivers, protect Kauri from die-back, restore our Waitemataa harbour, and replenish native trees on their maunga, I am eager to support their leadership as custodians benefiting all of us.

Everyday, I work for the communities and the people of Tāmaki Makaurau in Wellington.

I work to support to the call from Māori to have a tangata whenua response to ending homelessness.

To ensure water is treated as a taonga with intrinsic value, rather than a commodity to be sold off to the highest bidder.

To make sure everyone has enough to live a dignified life!

I’m proud of the role the Green Party has played in ensuring te reo in our schools is a priority for this Government.

I’m proud – and, to be honest, a little bit sad – to be the only politician pointing out that our South Auckland families don’t need roving armed police, they need homes, decent jobs, healthcare and education.

I am so privileged to be trusted with the successes and hardships which colour life in Tāmaki Makaurau.

One of the greatest privileges of working in Tāmaki Makaurau is being able to know and support the kaitiaki protectors of Ihumātao.

To the front line founding cousins Pania Newton, Qiane Matata-Sipu, Bobi-Jo Pihema, Moana Wa, Waimaire McFarland, Haki Wilson and all the protectors who spanned numerous regions and backgrounds: thank you.

Thank you for your focus on the more enduring path for justice, and returning the land to mana whenua.

When others belittle you, your power grows stronger due to the tens of thousands around the country who support you.

The community you grew almost overnight on the whenua has given us a glimpse of what the best of our nation could be.

I and the Green Party have supported you for six years and we will continue to do so.

As well as being an inspiring movement, the kaitiaki/protectors at Ihumātao have created a huge opportunity for this country to have a hopeful conversation about true Tiriti justice.

Te Tiriti is about an enduring relationship, respecting the rangatiratanga of tangata whenua.

The Green Party knows that Te Tiriti is supposed to be honoured, not settled, and that deferring to large natural groupings does not uphold the mana of hapū.

I know what the issues are and I am committed to consistently fronting on them.

I have been involved in the work to enhance the lives of our whānau in Tāmaki Makaurau since long before I became an MP and I will keep going.

I am humbled to have shared this region as my home for the past 25 years and in 2020 I look forward focusing on the issues that are important to Tāmaki Makaurau.

We have before us a massive opportunity for change.

It is only with the Greens in Government that we’ve managed to turn the ship around – the next step is going further and faster. 

It is, give or take, about nine months until the 2020 election.

As a mumma and nana I know just how long and how short nine months can be.

We will have an election date soon, and the Greens are letting people know what we stand for.

Our call to action is for community movements to keep holding politicians to account.

To get the fundamental system changes required we need people in power who are beholden to our collective well-being – for the many not just for the few.

I have hope because people are good.

The only choice we have is to remain hopeful and organised for the long haul.

Protecting our climate, solving inequality and caring for nature will require intergenerational work, pulling all our wisdom together.

I have faith in our humanity because it always come through.

In struggle our puku rumbles with a desire to help each other, to save our animals, to nurture our trees.

Collective caring has survived the worst that life has thrown at us.

We can choose to overcome and rebuild a better world.

No reira tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

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