Ratana Speech 2019

Ratana, 24 January 2019

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Kia ora tatou.

Thank you for the invitation to be here. It is a great privilege to be welcomed to Ratana again.

Let me acknowledge the leadership of Tumuaki Harerangi Meihana, those of you who have already addressed the Government from the Taumata, and the presence of all of the members of the Ratana Church.

Also let us acknowledge the attendance of Government parties, the Green Party, Labour, and New Zealand First all here today on a united front.

 On behalf of the Government, let me extend the apologies of the Prime Minister who could not attend today because of her work commitments which means she is currently travelling overseas.

This year we mark one hundred and one years since Wiremu Ratana started his spiritual journey which has become the Ratana movement as we know it today.

This time last year was Ratana’s centenary. Your church was 100 years old and the new Labour-New Zealand First coalition government, supported by the Green Party, was less than 100 days old.

When the government stood before you all last year we promised a Government with a difference.

  A government which looked after people.  A government which addressed neglect and social inequality. A government which grows the economy and is getting people back into work.

But as the old saying goes – words are not deeds. One year on, this government has put deeds to its words.

The Families package that we brought in last year is lifting the income of 384,000 families by $75 a week when fully rolled out.  Doctors’ visits are now free for all children under 14. Doctors’ visits also became cheaper for those with Community Services Cards, and more money has been invested into hospitals. We are opening more housing opportunities through Kiwibuild homes.  And we are heavily investing in the economic development of our regions through the provincial growth fund and the billion dollar tree plantings programme. Unemployment is at 3.9 per cent - the lowest it’s been in decades. And the number of jobs available is increasing.

In December the Child Poverty Reduction Law was passed to dramatically change the circumstances experienced in this country. The government has spent its first year in office setting directions and laying foundations for long term solutions to problems this country should never have tolerated.   

The Budget that is coming is focused on “wellbeing”. The Labour-New Zealand First coalition government does not seek to overpromise and under deliver for short term venal self-interest. We have a purpose in this government which unites three different parties.

We are a government which seeks to correct the fundamental infrastructure and social deficits we have ignored for far too long.

As we consistently said there are no overnight solutions, but there is progress to be made from long term investments.

We are setting out to create jobs in the regions and provinces to ensure that no part of the country is forgotten. To create opportunities for productive businesses, regions, iwi and others to transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy.

In many respects there is no real separation between what this Government wants to achieve for its people, and the work that T W Ratana committed his life to achieving.  He housed the people – here on his own land. He gave people jobs inside the Ratana community.  He looked after families – gave them a place to live and put food on their table.  He gave people hope for a better future.

As a government, we put actions to our promises, as we continue to deliver for New Zealand with many of the same objectives.   And in another 12 months when we return to your marae you will see more progress.

For there is an old saying:    “People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.”

ENDS