Let me be perfectly clear. Waitangi is not the occasion to play politics or to make a party broadcast, but I will add in passing that since Labour was voted into government, we have made many, many strides to advance the cause of Māori, real strides, meaningful strides, and we continue those strides today as I announce that JAtariki will be a public holiday.
And neither is Waitangi the occasion to shirk issues such as the imprisonment rates, health problems, suicides and education, as well as housing, but it would be remiss of me not to hint at wedding plans for myself and Clarke! I said to him, "Will you accept this rose?" And he said, "Yeah all good, but put it in a vase cos I'm going fishing."
Waitangi is also an occasion not to be vague but direct. There will never be a time, if we are honest with ourselves, that we will stand here at Waitangi and say we have reached a point of perfection. Because there will always be challenges. Some will be entrenched ones that we have been working on for decades and others will be new to us. What is important is we change the way we resolve them. That's the shift we've been working on. Furthermore - look, there's Neve!
Let me say through Dr Shane Reti, who as a man has speaking rights this year at Te Whare Runanga during the politicians' pōwhiri, that the National Party has always worked hard on behalf of Māori.
Dr Shane is himself Māori. So is another National Party MP, whose name is neither here nor there. But how many other parties can say they have two Māori MPs? I rest my case.
But I would like to take up my case and point out that the National Party will now stand in Māori electorates. Critics may say the party's previous position was to abolish the seats, but that's neither here nor there, a bit like the National Party itself.
Let me address the poignancy of political life by quoting parliamentary reporter Claire Trevett, who writes in the New Zealand Herald, "Politicians were welcomed on to Te Whare Runanga on the Treaty grounds, but Jacinda Ardern was the only woman allowed a speaking slot. Judith Collins and Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson were told they could speak at a separate event after the pōwhiri and a short lunch – but everybody disappeared, which left them nobody to speak to so they abandoned it."
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I have nothing more to add.
Let me get this party started! The Government are crooks, knaves, fools, dreamers, schemers, daydream believers with a homecoming queen and I'm not going to stand idly around Waitangi and keep quiet about it! I am the leader of the Act party! I am to all intents and purposes the Leader of the Opposition! And if no one else is going to slate the Prime Minister for announcing a public holiday rather than anything that would address bigger issues facing Māori then I will! By the way, Ministry of Education officials are all idiots!