Statement of Intent 2013 - 2016

From Our Ministers

Hon Dr Pita Sharples

Ka mihi ahau ki a koutou ngā kaiwhiriwhiri ō tēnei Pānui Whāinga a Te Puni Kōkiri. Tirohia ngā wawata ki roto hei painga mo iwi, mo hapū, mo whānau, me ngai Māori.

In reviewing and updating my priorities for the Māori Affairs portfolio, I do so against a backdrop of significant change, both within Te Puni Kōkiri and in the Māori world in general.

This year we have welcomed a new Chief Executive, Michelle Hippolite, who now sits at the helm of the organisation. Her strategic leadership and commitment to Māori development are encouraging signs for the Ministry’s future focus and success.

We have made significant inroads across a range of areas which will have a positive impact on Māori development. We have broken ground with our efforts to support the growth of the Māori Economy, with the launch of the ‘Crown-Māori Economic Growth Partnership - He Kai Kei Aku Ringa’ last year; we are in the midst of a national constitutional conversation which could have significant impacts on tangata whenua and Te Tiriti o Waitangi; and of course we have been working on the Māori language strategy which is also due to be released by the end of 2013.

These initiatives are happening alongside a range of projects which cross the entire spectrum of Māori development. In essence, every issue, is a Māori issue.

At the same time I am expecting some changes within the portfolio as a result of the reviews of Te Puni Kōkiri and Whānau Ora. These changes are aimed at positioning the Ministry in the best possible way to meet the needs of Māori communities.

With all these changes, comes the momentum for further positive development. In line with that, I have re-framed my priorities firstly; to reflect that whole of government effectiveness for Māori underpins the full set of priorities and secondly; to make sure it is firmly anchored against the core Treaty of Waitangi principles of partnership, protection and participation. My priorities are:

Strong Treaty partnership relationships

As we move further into the post-Treaty settlement era, both Māori and the Crown are facing some unique challenges. There is an increasingly diverse Māori representative landscape; Crown-Māori relationships are evolving across a range of development areas; and while we continue with historical settlements, we are seeing more diverse contemporary Treaty claims and settlements coming through. Maintaining and evolving the Crown-Māori Treaty relationships requires coordination, a focus on relationships, and support. Te Puni Kōkiri will maintain a lead role in supporting these relationships, as it is the only agency of state that has the experience and expertise to fulfil this role across government.

Active protection of taonga Māori

Both whenua Māori and te reo Māori are specific priorities for the rest of this term of government. On one hand, I have been pleased with progress on Māori land issues including the review of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 being led by the Associate Minister of Māori Affairs and look forward to progressing this further in the 2013 legislative programme. On the other hand, in spite of successive governments accepting active responsibility for the protection of te reo Māori, our language continues to be at risk. Therefore, I am keen to explore further plans to develop Māori language initiatives, including Māori language in education, as a major part of a new Māori Language Strategy which is due to be released by the end of 2013.

Improved Māori population outcomes

I am still concerned that Māori are disproportionately and adversely represented in key areas of social and economic wellbeing.

Although we have made excellent progress in the economic development space, Māori wellbeing, education and employment outcomes remain a worry.

Whānau Ora will have a critical role to play in transforming wellbeing outcomes for our whānau. Te Puni Kōkiri will also be leading innovating approaches to more effective service delivery to Māori to address issues across the wellbeing spectrum. The ultimate success of these initiatives, however, will rely on the support of other central government agencies to incorporate any learning into their own policy and service design.

The work we are doing to grow the Taniwha Economy has proven ᆳties. I will be continuing to work with the Minister of Economic Development to push forward Māori economic aspirations.

Effectiveness for Māori

This underpins all of my priorities and reflects my desire to see a greater sense of responsibility and accountability across the state sector for their performance for Māori. If we are to achieve results for all New Zealanders, which we surely want to, we need a concerted effort to achieve better results for Māori. Success for one will lead to success for all.

As we look towards Matariki I am mindful that the month of May traditionally represents the completion of the yearly cycle. The old year has ended and the New Year is about to begin. I look forward to a productive and fruitful year; the fruits of which we can all enjoy.

Mauri ora ki a koutou katoa.