August 06, 2013
Maiden speech tackles big challenges
New Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri has used her maiden speech to parliament to address some of the major challenges in the Māori relationship with the Labour Party.
She says the bond formed between Labour and Māori after the 1935 alliance with the Ratana Church was still important but it could not be taken for granted.
Iwi Māori have not forgotten the foreshore and seabed legislation and the Tūhoe raids of 2007, but it was now time to move forward.
Ms Whaitiri says the Māori economy can be a game changer for the country, but in the past few years Māori unemployment has doubled in parts of her electorate.
She says her experience working for the Labour’s Department’s community employment group taught her the value of local solutions, and that government has an enabling role to support hapū, iwi, and communities to create sustainable solutions for whānau.
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