• Jim Bolger
Prime Minister

Tom Mulligan, Georgina and Timoti Te Heuheu, Henry Randell, Kathryn Ward, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Let me begin by thanking you for inviting me here to the function launching your new Association today.

The Hawke's Bay Maori Business Association is a fine idea.

Put forward by the Hawke's Bay Development Board, you have turned it into a concrete reality and, as such, you are to be congratulated.

The Association is yet another manifestation of the resurging sense of commercial enterprise among the Maori people.

I say resurging because we are too inclined to forget that in the early days of the Pakeha in New Zealand Maori were great commercial traders.

Maori were known to be most astute and energetic business people.

And this is rapidly becoming the case once again. There is a great sense of initiative abroad and there are many new opportunities to be taken advantage of.

Many but certainly not all of these have flowed from my Governments efforts to settle the outstanding grievances relating to the Treaty of Waitangi.

I think first of the Sealord deal which settled, once and for all, the commercial fishing rights issue.

As a result, the extent of Maori involvement in the business and activity of fishing in 1996, as compared with 1993 includes:

the establishment of 50 new Maori fishing enterprises;

significant employment for iwi members, generated by iwi fishing enterprises;

$51.4 million is the estimated gross value of discounted quota which has been distributed as benefits to iwi in the past three years; and

20 per cent of iwi now operate, own or have interests in processing facilities.
Similar benefits flowed from the settlement with the Tainui people in the Waikato which:

enabled Waikato-Tainui to exercise options in the management of their cultural, social and economic base;

opened a new chapter allowing New Zealanders to be confident that this particular grievance was fairly settled and brought with it positive changes to benefit the whole community;

is likely to bring business development that has the potential to benefit the New Zealand economy as a whole; and

will see distribution of funds into the community for sport, health, education and social wellbeing because of the charitable nature of the trusts such as the Potatau Te Wherowhero Trust.
Crown and Maori negotiators are now well advanced in working through the details of the large Ngai Tahu claim and are making good progress.

We may get an agreement in principle before the election.

Where we see this kind of progress being made we know that Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu was right when she observed that:

In 1840 a pact was signed in good and true intent. And that was the beginning of a nation called New Zealand.

Indeed it was, and in events like this one today we are seeing another, a welcome dimension of the new New Zealand we are striving to create as we move towards the 21st century.

As I travel around New Zealand I see many examples of 'get up and go' among Maori, and it is most gratifying to see.

Indeed it is one of those most positive signposts which direct us, as a nation, towards a new and better tomorrow.

I want to encourage it and you want to encourage it.

We have common objectives to encourage and enable Maori to stand tall in today's business world.

We want to do more than that, we also want to assist iwi who are in a position to do so, to deliver social services to their children and young people.

It's a matter of recognising how we can best deliver services.

I therefore want to take this opportunity to announce a new initiative which will, I believe, be of real benefit to Maori throughout New Zealand.

It is the Government's intention to provide a one-off fund of $1 million to facilitate Iwi Social Services development.

To ensure that iwi are properly prepared to take responsibility for the delivery of social services to their children and young people.

Iwi Social Service programmes enable Maori whanau to take responsibility for the care and protection needs of their young people, and reduce the role of state agencies such as the Children and Young Persons Service.

Contractual arrangements will be entered into with iwi to deliver social services in respect of children of the iwi.

The first contract for Iwi Social Services has been operating with Ngati Ruanui since late 1994.

This contract has allowed for the development and testing of models that can be used for an extension of Iwi Social Services to further iwi.

To facilitate this process and ensure that iwi have the necessary resources to effectively care for children and young people, funding of $1 million is required.

The target is to have 15 new Iwi Social Services up and running by the end of 1997. Nearly 40 iwi have indicated an interest in becoming Iwi Social Service accredited.

The pace of development will be dependent on the time that it takes iwi to reach a level of preparedness to enter Iwi Social Services contracts.

Nevertheless we expect to reach our target of having 15 iwi contracted by December 1997 and we are confident that this will improve further the delivery of social services.

Expanded social services can only be delivered by maintaining a strong economy.

I would like to say that there has never been a better time for the launching of an idea like the Hawke's Bay Maori Business Association.

It is a move that rebuts the constant criticism of Maori - it leaves the whingers in politics and elsewhere behind, and gets on with the job of positively contributing to New Zealand.

It's a great time to be making the move.

Consider the countrys present economic situation.

In the 15 years from 1976 to 1990 growth averaged just 1.3 per cent. In the past four years it has averaged 3.8 per cent. We're doing three times better than we were.

In the same 15 years of low growth between 1976 to 1990 inflation averaged 12.4 per cent.

The history of New Zealand shows that high inflation kills growth.

That's why the National Party is strongly supportive of the Reserve Bank Act and the low inflation targets.

Since I became Prime Minister export earnings have climbed from $15 billion per annum to $20 billion.

And much of the growth has come from products and services that were not considered important a decade ago. You may be responsible for some of them.

As a result of this dramatic escalation in commercial activity Government revenues have increased and we have been able to increase social spending and reduce both debt and rates of taxation.

The first of our tax cuts came into force on July 1st this year. Next year, under a new National Government the tax cuts will be repeated.

And that is good news for all New Zealanders. Because people are going to have more money to spend and to invest.

The latest economic confidence surveys indicate that the impact of the first round of cuts is now being felt.

The National Bank's latest economic confidence survey states that 'business confidence is now back in the black'.

The service and manufacturing sectors are feeling particularly perky about the future.

And the good news does not end here.

On Friday we will eliminate New Zealand's net foreign currency debt as a result of the settlement of forestry cutting rights sale.

With these kinds of results, it is not surprising that the economic focus of our campaign is to build further on the success of the past six years.

It is a programme designed to promote growth, hold prices stable, give priority to essential social spending, repay debt and reduce taxation.

And, as such, it is receiving wide-ranging recognition.

Each year the European-based World Economic Forum issues a 'medical check-up' on the health and fitness of the world's leading economies.

This year it rated New Zealand third in the world for 'economic competitiveness' ahead of the USA (which came fourth) and Australia (which came twelfth).

This is tremendous news because it is these nations with whom we both trade and compete.

The Forum goes further and predicts that:

the fastest growing nations in the world in the next five to ten years will be Singapore, New Zealand, Thailand, Hong Kong and Malaysia, in that order.

That type of endorsement highlights the totally shallow and negative criticism of Alliance, Labour and New Zealand First.

The time for harping on about economic policies is over and I invite them to join progressive New Zealanders and help us build a bridge to the 21st century.

A bridge wide enough for all New Zealanders to cross over on.

As I said, there is no better time to be in business in New Zealand.

I want Maori business people to play their full part in the next stage of New Zealand's development.

And there is no better time for launching the new Hawke's Bay Maori Business Association than now.

I congratulate you on your initiative and I wish the Association all the best for the future.

Thank you very much.