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Andrew Little - Environment Speech

Speech to Environmental Defence Society Conference

12 August 2015

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Thank you for the invitation to speak. The Environmental Defence Society is a true leader in New Zealand’s environmental discussion and so it is very special to be able to talk here today.

Can I begin by acknowledging my colleague, Megan Woods, who is our Environment and Climate Change spokesperson and who has been doing excellent work this year.

I’d also like to acknowledge Gary Taylor. I know first-hand that Gary is a forceful advocate for the environment. His voice counts.

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The Saudi Sheep Files

Today Labour is publishing documents obtained under the Official Information Act from Foreign Minister Murray McCully regarding the Saudi sheep deal for the public to view for themselves.

The documents prove the actions of the National Government relating to a $4 million facilitation payment to a Saudi Arabian businessman and a $6 million demonstration farm in the Saudi Arabian desert were unethical and wrong.

It is evident that the documents show deliberate misrepresentations by the Minister of Foreign Affairs as to the true nature of the payments made to the Al Khalaf group.

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The Health and Safety Reform Bill

The government’s Health and Safety Reform Bill should have been the legislation that kept John Key’s promise after the Pike River disaster to fix health and safety.

Instead it became a political football for National’s internal factions and a target for some of New Zealand’s worst employers.

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Honouring Erima Henare – a lasting legacy

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Tamāki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare is proud to have been the “first Te Kōhanga Reo baby” elected to Parliament. All who follow in his footsteps and all Kōhanga Reo students and their families, past and present owe a debt of gratitude to Peeni’s father Erima Henare and grandfather Sir James Henare who were pivotal in developing and championing the movement.

The Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust Board was launched in 1982 with Sir James and the then Māori Queen Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu instrumental in its founding. Erima Henare took up the torch of Te Reo and carried it proudly and with great distinction until his death in May this year.

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Māori fun in Nanaia Mahuta’s home.

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Waiata and kai are two of the keys to making learning te reo Māori fun in Nanaia Mahuta’s home.

“I have a son aged five and a daughter aged two.  My husband and I made a conscious choice they would go to Kōhanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa Māori and we’ll decide about secondary school later. But I strongly believe that what happens in the home is what makes the biggest difference to learning of language. 

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Te reo is a treasure for me

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“To be able to speak the language my ancestors spoke is a treasure for me.

“I didn’t grow up with the language - I came to it quite late. My grandparents spoke fluent Māori but they were of the generation that was punished for speaking it. They spoke Māori  to their children but they were expected to reply in English and mainly English was spoken as I was growing up.

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Te reo Maori is a very special taonga that must be treasured

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I am very proud to be Maori and so te reo Maori is a very special taonga that must be treasured.

For me, it helps strengthen my identity and validates who I am. For example I am takatāpui - a word in our language for Māori who are non-heterosexual, gay, lesbian, transgender or gender diverse.

Our terminology, in our language, helps to give me a solid base of identity, immersed in our indigenous language which supports my existence both in the past, today and in the future.

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Māori language is part of who I am as a person

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The Māori language is part of who I am as a person, as a New Zealander and as a Māori living in this country. If I did not have it, I would not be who I am. It is part of my identity, it gives me purpose and validates me as a person.

There were four marae in our community of Manutuke in Gisborne. We lived right opposite one and we were pretty much raised on them. When we moved to Hastings, it was to my mother’s whanau who lived on the Kohupatiki marae and, in those days, the marae was the bastion of the language - it was spoken all the time.

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Labour's position on the TPPA

Labour supports free trade. However, we will not support the TPP if it undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty.

We have five key principles which will be non-negotiable bottom lines to protect New Zealand’s interests when the agreement finally makes it to Parliament.

- Pharmac must be protected
- Corporations cannot successfully sue the Government for regulating in the public interest
- New Zealand maintains the right to restrict sales of farm land and housing to non-resident foreign buyers
- The Treaty of Waitangi must be upheld
- Meaningful gains are made for our farmers in tariff reductions and market access.

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Building for 2017 Nigel Haworth

 hqdefault.jpgNigel Haworth – building for 2017

Nigel Haworth plays “rather an unusual game of golf” off a handicap of 18 – but combining his academic career with presidency of the Labour Party doesn’t leave much time for practising his swing.

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