6 Aug 2013

New MP heralds economic renaissance for Maori

7:30 pm on 6 August 2013

Recently-elected Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri has spoken of a Maori economic renaissance in her maiden speech to Parliament.

Meka Whaitiri.

Meka Whaitiri. Photo: RNZ

The Labour Party candidate won the Maori seat in a by-election in June this year with a majority of 1659 votes after the death of senior MP Parekura Horomia.

Ms Whatiri told Parliament on Tuesday that long-term unemployment in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti electorate had increased over the past few years.

However, she said said recent Treaty of Waitangi settlements had meant there was a new era beginning for Maori economics.

"Mr Speaker, this era is the beginning of a Maori economic renaissance and recognises the Maori economic power base that has been fought for by whanau, hapu and iwi on the streets, in the courts and most recently at the negotiating tables with the Office of Treaty Settlements."

Meka Whatiri told the House the relationship between Labour and iwi hasn't always been smooth, but it was important to move on.