[diggers350] Fw: NZ RASTA MP

Lilia Patterson lilia at tlio.demon.co.uk
Tue Mar 7 01:59:52 GMT 2000

> This is the first speech given to the New Zealand Parliament by the
> wonderful rastafarian MP - makes you want to burn some carbon and go and
> join them ..... now why can't we have something more like this in the
> of Commons? 
>  I give greetings to the earth that sustains all life and to the sea that
> surrounds us I greet this house, that has watched over so many important
> decisions I greet the spirits that guide and protect I&I and I greet the
> guardians of this area - Te Whanganui a Tara I give particular mention 
> the tangata whenua, nga hau e wha.  I give greetings to all of our
> ancestors - on whose shoulders we all stand
>  I greet you Mr Speaker, I greet the members of this house, I greet the
> members of the public here today, I greet the media and I greet those
> people around the country listening to these proceedings.
>  I greet my friends and supporters in particular Mike Finlayson and Chris
> Fowlie who have worked with me for many years on various issues. I greet 
> partner Linda Robinson and acknowedge the support she has given me in 
> journey, and I greet my parents who have travelled across the world  to
> here today. My mother Joan, who taught me to care for people and 
> my father Peter who taught me to stand up for what is right.
>   We live in an exciting time. As human beings we face the greatest
> challenge yet in the history of our species.
>  We leave behind a century dominated by ecological devastation, mass
> extinction of species on a scale we have never witnessed before, the
> poisoning of the air we breathe, the watertables we drink from and the 
> we eat for the profit of a few, until the life support systems of  planet
> earth itself are under threat.
>  This has been accompanied by social destruction. Our communities, 
> families, and now even that invention of modern capitalism the nuclear
> family have all been fragmented. The ideology that we are all just
> individuals forgets that what keeps us all living and prosperous is the
> relationships between people and between people and the wider 
> environment.
>  This philosophy of short term self interest has been accompanied by the
> inevitable rampant crime, abuse of alcohol and other drugs, rising 
> and hopelessness.
>  These problems often seem unsolvable.  There are no answers coming from
> traditional sources of authority. Governments and business leaders,
> overwhelmed by the enormity of  it all, have been in denial. For them it
> been business as usual -
>  taking their cues from their Roman predessessors.
>  Many have sunk into despair. What is often called apathy among young
> people might better be described as a genuine and well founded belief 
> it is all too late, that nothing can be done, and that even if they 
> to the political system is rigged against them by powerful vested 
>  There are people who have not given up hope. People, organisations and
> communities struggling to make a difference to our accelerating decline.
> Operating in a hostile environment, often in isolation and though headed 
> more or less the same direction have largely been without a clearly
> articulated common goal.
>  At the beginning of the new century it is time for that vision to be 
> clear.
>  EcoNation Aotearoa is an idea that has come out of Northland and has 
> taken up by people from all walks of life the length and breadth of the
> country. It is a simple, practical and viable concept. It can be shared 
> anyone who cares about this land and its people. EcoNation Aotearoa. Its
> meaning is self evident, if you think about it. 
>  EcoNation Aotearoa says, where do we want to be in fifty or a hundred
> time? What kind of country do we want our grand children and great  grand
> children to inherit? Do we want to leave them with the country we  have
> denuded of its forests and losing topsoil at a catastrophic  rate? Or
> covered with clones from a few individual exotic pine trees  while our
> unique diverse and beautiful native forest continues to be decimated  by
> more introduced foreign species? A land still using pesticides  banned in
> other countries while our cancer rates lead the world in a  number of
> A land that calls itself clean and green while  exhibiting some of the
> regressive ecological practises and attitudes in the western world?
>  We should be the spearhead of an global ecological evolution. Our 
> should be leading the way, showing the world how to live in balance with
> each other and with our environment. Instead we have to hang our heads 
> shame when people mention Kyoto and the summit on climate change, or the
> threatened extinction of our national icon the manu Kiwi.
>  EcoNation Aotearoa is about restoring balance in all our relationships.
> Between people and the earth that sustains us, and between people and
> people. I will be talking about some of the ways we can begin to restore
> those balances, in our justice system and also in our economy. But first 
> would like to talk about the relationship between Maori and Pakeha in 
> country, a relationship defined by our founding document te Tiriti o 
>  Many Pakeha people are scared of te Tiriti. There is much
> misunderstanding. For me as a Pakeha in this country I honour te Tiriti,
> because it is the only legitimate authority I have to be here. There are
> Pakeha people who have been here for many generations, who are connected 
> this land. Even more should they support it. It gives Pakeha a sure  base
> which to stand in this country.
>  I honour the treaty because it is just and I congratulate previous
> governments for attempting to address grievances arising as a result of
> breaches of the treaty through the Waitangi Tribunal, flawed though that
> tribunal may be.
>  Finally I honour te Tiriti because it is right. It is a solemn covenant
> between two sovereign people, the United Tribes of Aotearoa and the 
> Crown that establishes the relationship between them. And while  previous
> governments have been prepared to discuss historical grievances  the real
> issue at stake is a more fundamental one. The issue that  governments
> been unwilling to address is the question of  sovereignty.
>  Under international law 'contra preferendum' says that where 
> of a treaty do not agree then the indigenous language version has
> preference. Te Tiriti o Waitangi clearly states that the Maori tribes
> retain their 'Tino Rangatiratanga' - which has been defined as 
> What this means in practise is yet to be clearly defined.  I'm not saying
> that Maori should have one island and Pakeha the other. Today  it would
> probably be impossible in most cases to have some kind of 
> modern 'rohe potae' as the King Country was in the 1800's.  But until
> government begins to seriously discuss how tino rangatiratanga could be
> exercised we will never truly move forward. When the bath is overflowing
> there is not  point mopping the floor until the tap is turned off.
>  As an example some years ago Moana Jackson wrote a report on Maori and 
> criminal justice system. His recommendation that we should move towards 
> Maori justice system were scoffed at by Ministers at the time. "We 
> have one law for Maori and one for Pakeha" they said.
>  The reality is that we have always had one law for Maori and one for
> Pakeha. That split has often coincided with the one law for the rich and
> for the poor that was so amply demonstrated a few weeks ago.
>  But more importantly Pakeha miss the boat in my opinion if we do not
> support the idea of marae based justice systems. Because we should be
> saying yes to marae based justice, and whats more we want some community
> centred justice for ourselves. An EcoNation would welcome the use of 
> restorative justice processes, because the current criminal justice 
> system is a failure whether you are Maori or Pakeha.
>  You see justice is a very simple concept. Everyone recognises justice 
> it is done. Victims, or complainants, know when justice is done. The
> community knows when justice is done. And usually the offender will know
> when justice is done too. But no one sees justice in our present system.
>  Crime is about more than the Crown versus an offender. It is about the
> fact that someone has been hurt. We need a system that puts victims /
> complainants, at the centre of the process. A system whose first 
> is to heal the harm caused by a crime and to restore balance to that
> person. Restorative justice is victim centred.
>  And despite all the talk of the referendum calling for longer sentances,
> know that when I ticked the box on election day I wasn't calling for 
> lags for crims, but I was giving support for the rights of  victims  in
> criminal justice system. How many of those other 92% of people were doing
> the same?
> We need a system that includes the community as well, because when a 
> is committed we all suffer, though increased fear and insecurity.
>  But it goes further than that. Maori justice recognised full well that 
> greatest punishment is whakama - shame. To go to court before a judge 
> don't know in an empty court room is one thing. To have your shame 
> before family , friends and neighbours is another.
>  And maybe the community must take some responsibility for crime too. 
> does not excuse offenders, but we must understand the wider picture. Is 
> high rate of youth offending in our country connected to the fact  that
> young people have no place in our society? If our social activities  were
> less centred on alcohol consumption and licensed venues where our
>  young people are forbidden to go would we have less crime? If young 
> had a genuine voice in our society would they respond in a more positive
> way? If the yout'dem were not used as a scapegoat for all the social 
> brought about by the conduct of the previous generations would they 
> in a more respectful way? What about unemployment and poverty - the 
> and shameful waste of our young people and their potential. What  part
> that play in crime?
> Lastly we need a justice system that focusses on having offenders take
> responsibility for what they have done and doing something to put it 
> Because going to prison is an easy option for many people. In  fact it
> be just a way to get more cred.  Prisons have been described as a
> for criminals. Young people  go in for unpaid fines, often for victimless
> crimes such as cannabis, and  come out with a degee in burglary. What are
> trying to teach our  children? In Northland there is a proposal to build
> new prison. Where  is the money for a new polytech or youth centre?
>  I am not saying to tear down all the prisons we have now - although Mt
> Eden would be a good start. We will still want to lock up very dangerous
> people for the protection of society. But the vast majority of people in
> prison now should not be there - wasting their time and our money. 
> to have them doing something to restore the harm caused by their crime 
> the first place.
>  I am committed to working with the new government to ensure that proper
> and adequate funding and evaluation of restorative justice programs can 
>  And recognising that people who committed a minor offense when young
> not have to carry that for the rest of their lives I will seek to 
> legislation into this house to allow crimal convictions to be  wiped
> they were committed a number of years ago and there has been  no
> reoffending.
>  While I am on the subject of minor offenses there is one in particular I
> would like to draw your attention to. I am sure this is not a surprise. 
> remember seeing an interview with Bob Marley and he was asked why 
> was such a big issue for him. He replied that cannabis was not a big
> for him - it was 'jus a plant y'know. It's a big thing for  you." I know
> what he is talking about. This Waitangi Day I was part of a  celebration
> called OneLove. We had 15000 people come to celebrate 
> Waitangi Day and Bob Marley's birthday in a spirit of unity and love. We
> who knows how many ethnic groups, all ages and classes of people. We also
> had 4 gangs. There was no trouble, no arrests, no fights. And the only
> question TV3 wanted to ask was "do you plan to smoke a joint?"
>  New Zealand needs to get over its obsession with cannabis. We have the
> highest recorded arrest rate for cannabis in the world. Our police spend
> tens of millions of dollars arresting people for it - 85% of those are
> minor personal offenses. Yet we have one of the highest rates of 
> use in the world. At the same time we hear that police do not have the
> resources to properly investigate burglaries. Any rational person has to
> agree that this has to stop.
>  Lets allow people to grow and possess cannabis for personal use, whether
> they use it medicinally, recreationally or as part of their faith. This
> does not mean legalise it. Let us then used some of the money saved to 
> drug education that is realistic, honest and based on the evidence  and
> promotes the drug free lifestyle as the healthiest.
>  But the causes of the abuse of drugs, including alcohol, lies elsewhere
> still, in boredom, alienation and hopelessness.
>  An EcoNation is a prosperous nation and one where communities are 
> inclusive and resilient. We already market ourselves overseas as clean
> green but we are in danger of losing that branding through poor
> environmental practises.  The future prosperity of Aotearoa lies in 
> the world in organic farming, as Ian Ewan-Street talked about  yesterday,
> coupled with Pesticide Reduction legislation as outlined by  Sue Kedgley.
>  Industrial Hemp is a crop with huge potential, giving four times as much
> pulp for paper per hectare as pine tree without requiring the kind of 
> processing such as is pumping out from the Kawerau pulp mill and  killing
> the Tarawera river. It can be used for clothing, I am told, as  well as
> providing highly nutritious edible oils, animal feed, housing  materials,
> plastics and fuel. Farmers are crying out to be allowed to  grow, yet
> they are barred from taking up this opportunity because 
> of outdated and ill concieved legislation.
>  An EcoNation becomes prosperous by focussing on the backbone of the
> economy - small businesses and family farmers. These are the biggest
> employers in the country yet they struggle under hostile conditions with
> minimal support or encouragement while big business has ram raided the
> economy and previous governments have helped divide the spoils. We need 
> ethos of 'buy local' among our people and in our government departments 
> well and this is what the Greens have been campaigning on for time now.
> This is part of the solution to restoring our economic balance in an
>  To sum up I want to repeat the message that New Zealand could and should
> be the spearhead of a new global evolution, where people and land return 
> balance. We must begin by addressing the question of sovereignty -  for
> Maori people and also for Pakeha people because everyone's sovereignty 
> under threat in the world today and the right to make decisions for
>  themselves is being taken away from communities and put into the hands 
> transnational corporations and agreements.
>  Building an EcoNation would include restoring balance to our justice
> system, by making justice visible to victims, the community and to 
>  And we must begin restoring balance in our relationship with the earth 
> stopping the building of landfills, which throw away the jobs and 
> prosperity that results from the careful management of resources.
>  EcoNation Aotearoa is not wild or whacky, as I have been described by at
> least one member of this house. It is a simple, practical and viable
> vision, a common sense solution to our current situation. It is not 
> and it will not come from government alone. EcoNation Aotearoa is a
> partnership between people, communities, businesses and government for 
> the well-being and prosperity of us all.
>  We do indeed face our biggest challenge yet in the history of our 
> I have faith that we have the wisdom and strength to meet it, but it not
> yet decided. Take warning. It is said:  "Man disappears But the mana of
> land remains."
> > Newsroom can be found at http://www.newsroom.co.nz.
> **********************************************
> 'There is no wealth but life'         John Ruskin

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list