Tracey Martin, New Zealand First: Maiden Speech

Speech – New Zealand First Party

Firstly can I begin by congratulating you on your reappointment to the Speaker’s Chair and to take this moment to acknowledge this house. To recognise its importance, a whare where vital discussions are held and binding decisions are made but to also …Tracey Martin: Maiden Speech

8 February 2012

Mr Speaker

I te taha o taku matua ko Bolton raua ko Birman aku waka

I te taha o taku whaea, ko Takitimu te waka o tana whanau whangai

Ko te Whanganui-a-Tara te Maunga

Ko Waingongoro te Awa

Ko Waimarama te Marae

Ko Taupunga te Whare

Ko Ngati Kahungunu ki Heretaunga te Iwi

Ko Ngati Whakaiti raua ko Ngati Kautere nga Hapu

Ko Tiakitai te Tangata

Ko Mohi te Whanau

Ko Anne Williams raua ko Burnett Martin aku Matua

Ko Tracey Anne Martin taku ingoa

He mihi atu ki nga Atua e hangai nga nea katoa.

He mihi atu ki te whaea o te ao ko Papatuanuku e takoto ana ki waho.

He mihi atu ki tenei whare.

Tena koutou, Tena koutou, Tena koutou katua.

E tu ana ahau kei raro i te korowai o o tatou tupuna.

Mr Speaker,

Firstly can I begin by congratulating you on your reappointment to the Speaker’s Chair and to take this moment to acknowledge this house.

To recognise its importance, a whare where vital discussions are held and binding decisions are made but to also recognise that those gathered within it are no more important than the people who placed us here – that all of us, collectively, are here to represent the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.

A moment to pause and thank the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who, through their votes, requested that New Zealand First once again stand in this house and speak on their behalf.

A moment to thank the thousands of party members who never gave up, who provided, in the final days of our election campaign, the volunteer assistance that was forthcoming from every corner of the Nation.

My thanks goes to those who gathered in February 2009 and made the commitment to keep New Zealand First alive and viable.

Their efforts since that time have been unsung and unpaid and we owe them a debt of great thanks.

A moment to acknowledge the leadership of our rangitira, the Right Honourable Winston Peters – whose spirit and commitment to the principles of New Zealand First have led us out of the wilderness and back into parliament.

And a moment to personally acknowledge the support of my family, friends and community – from those on PTA’s and school Boards to Kapa Haka, Te Whanau O Mahurangi and my respected colleagues and staff from the Rodney Local Board of Auckland Council.

Mr Speaker,

As a sixth generation New Zealander my pakeha ancestors arrived on the Bolton and the Birman in 1840 and 1842 respectfully.

You could say that I am returning to my roots with the Tonks family having built and operated one of the first brick factories, flour mills, tram tracks and blacksmith shops in Po Neke, now known as Wellington.

Not far from where we sit is the newly restored Tonks Grove.

Cottages originally built by William Tonks for his employees.

Even then we believed in good quality affordable housing.

My maternal grandfather and his second wife Maude Mohi have provided me with the gift of blood ties to Ngati Kahungunu of Taupunga Marae at Waimarama in the Heretaunga.

My brother-in-law and nieces and nephew proudly connect me to the New Zealand Chinese community – a community whose historical contribution to the building of our nation is under represented on the pages of our history books.

As a Wood Dragon baby of 1964 beginning my term of Parliament in a Water Dragon year agues well – I like to think that in this sink or swim environment this combination gives me a floating edge.

The birth places of my Mother and husband connect me to the main land of New Zealand and through another brother-in-law our family links stretch out into the Cook Islands.

Kia Orana tatou Katoatoa i teia ra.

Like many New Zealanders, our family has a proud history of giving service to this nation.

With specific mention of my late grandfathers, Lt. Kenneth Martin and his pivotal role at the Featherston Prisoner of War Camp during World War II – before, during and after the Featherston riot.

And Warrant Officer James Williams, who saw service in the Egyptian Desert and Italy as a New Zealand Engineer with the 2nd New Zealand Division.

But Mr Speaker,

While I acknowledge being a beneficiary of others efforts and struggles, for me it has been the actions of strong, determined women that cleared the path down which I walk – women from New Zealand’s past such as Kate Shepherd and Fran Collett of the Press Gallery.

Strong determined women from my families past – Martha Anson, Mariah Swaddell, Mary Martin, Beverley Williams and Maude Mohi.

The last few metres of this particular path have been carved by Anne Martin, continuing that line of women with character, strength and quiet wisdom – a woman to whom both myself and the New Zealand First Party owe a great debt – neither of us would be here without her and we continue to value her commitment, contribution and support.

However while recognising those that made this journey possible it would be remiss if I did not acknowledge two men who are, in very different ways, also instrumental.

Firstly my late Father.

My Father held very strong views on many topics and, not unlike his daughter, expressed them often.

But he also instilled a sense of personal truth and loyalty along with a resilience of character.

Secondly my husband.

It takes a very brave man to live with a very strong woman.

As I have explained often in recent days I am merely part of a team – at home as well as here in parliament and there is no one’s opinion I trust or value more than my husband’s.

I like to think it was good planning and exceptionally good taste that landed me such a man but whatever it was I am extremely grateful.

To my children – each committee I joined while supporting your growth and education built on my abilities and helped me gain the confidence required to live the motto of Mahurangi College – Mahu hu ki te Rangi – reach for the heavens.

From the Play centre and Kindergarten committees, Warkworth School PTA and Board of Trustees, Mahurangi College Board of Trustees, to kapa haka and Te Whanau O Mahurangi – all gave me the courage to put my hand up for a bigger stage.

So thank you for having the good grace to let your Mum be all those things without being so embarrassed you asked her to stop.

Mr Speaker,

For the first 15 of the last 17 years, I have been a stay at home Mother.

It was not until my election to the Rodney Local Board of Auckland Council that I re-entered the paid workforce proper since leaving Credit Control to raise our family.

But those who know me are aware that very little of this time was spent watching Oprah or attending coffee mornings – these are somewhat of an urban myth to the women I have had the great pleasure to work alongside.

To those women – the women who are the backbone of our communities – who do for their communities as they do for their families while many of them also hold down part-time or full time employment – please know that you continue to amaze and inspire me – so when a reporter asks me how I am going to manage my workload with family and housework I shake my head in disbelief and amusement because ladies it would appear that they still have no idea what we do on a daily basis.

It puts me in mind of the movie “Made in Dagenham”.

The central character, Rita O’Grady, is asked by a member of the press “How will you cope?” “Cope!” she responds “We’re women. Now don’t ask such stupid questions.”

So to the real question of the moment – what does a wife, mother, credit controller, community worker, volunteer, member of the National Council of Women, local government official and list Member of Parliament sitting on the opposition benches do?

Well here is a definition that I believe sums it up well.

The opposition, which consists of all parties not in government, has the role of holding the government to account. The opposition usually opposes the government’s policies, questions its actions, draws attention to issues, promotes alternative policies and debates proposed legislation. The opposition is responsible for challenging the policies of the government. “

So that is my job! To challenge, question, draw attention to issues, debate and propose alternatives.

Some times that might mean a challenge to individual members.

Such as the elected members for Helensville and Northland.

It might be a challenge to work with those community and elected local government representatives to address the high social deprivation scores of seven and eight in those electorates.

To implement solutions to the lack of alternative education, access to tertiary or trade education and high youth unemployment these communities suffer.

To help those business communities push forward and gain recognition as satellite and regeneration towns so they can encourage greater economic development and through that employment growth.

Or it might be to challenge the elected member for Rodney to remember his verbalised support for the projects of Penlink and the Puhoi to Wellsford Highway with full retention of access at Puhoi.

To remember Northern Rodney and that it was a National-led government that took them into the amalgamation of Auckland with relatively no consultation – to recognise, with the intended economies of scale being pursued with some vigour, that these communities and businesses find themselves being starved of tender opportunities and economic development incentives – these communities and businesses are under stress, they require that member’s attention and his commitment to truly understand and assist in the solutions to these issues.

Or it may be to challenge this parliament to recognise that we have done it all before, we have seen asset sales, we have seen a youth wage, we have seen a test driven education system – look back – many in this house were here the last time these were tried – they did not work then and they will not work now.

The challenge is to have greater vision and work to a 100 year view rather than knee jerk reactions.

I draw the attention of the house to the message of Corthians 13 verse 11: “When I was a child, I talked like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I put childish ways behind me”

These are not the times for political games, these are not the times to allow our egos to get in the way of positive solutions that will benefit our people, these are not the times to say I won’t work with that person or this person because we don’t like their personal style.

These are the times to act like grownups and put away childish things because we have all been placed here to represent our people, the citizens of New Zealand – not the citizens of Europe or Australia or China or America or any other country that comes a knockin – our job is to represent New Zealander’s First, to get the best deal for New Zealander’s First, to put the interests and wellbeing of New Zealander’s First.

But as I close, Mr Speaker, I also challenge myself.

There is another saying that goes “If you have not done enough to be criticised then you have not done enough”.

My personal challenge is that by the time I leave this house I hope to be highly criticised.

Apiti hono, tatai hono Te Hunga mate, ki te Hunga mate Te Hunga Ora, kit te Hunga Ora Tena koutou Tena koutou Tena tatou katoa

ENDS

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