Mahuta sets goals for port­fo­lios

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Local News - KELLEY TANTAU

‘‘In­equal­ity and poverty, I think, peo­ple felt had gone too far in the wrong di­rec­tion and things needed to be cor­rected.

‘‘I’m sure the sen­ti­ment for change was around not only clos­ing the gap but be­ing able to make op­por­tu­ni­ties for a far greater range of peo­ple.’’

The Ma¯ori De­vel­op­ment min­is­te­rial po­si­tion will see Mahuta lever­ag­ing op­por­tu­nity for Ma¯ori in the re­gional de­vel­op­ment and hous­ing sec­tors.

She also wants to in­vest in soft skills, mean­ing bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion and op­por­tu­ni­ties in terms of ap­pren­tice­ships.

Mahuta has rec­ol­lected the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment port­fo­lio, and the first sig­nal she’s send­ing to coun­cils is the im­por­tance of the cen­tral-lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­la­tion­ship.

‘‘At a re­gional, com­mu­nity level, all the de­ci­sions made by lo­cal gov­ern­ment ab­so­lutely af­fect the day-to-day lives of New Zealan­ders. You can’t have your lead­ers in de­ci­sion-mak­ing out of step with each other.

‘‘Coun­cils are not just about roads, rates and rub­bish. They are about the well­be­ing of com­mu­ni­ties and they are about re­gional eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.’’

And when it comes to Hamil­ton City Coun­cil’s dis­cus­sions around a pro­posed 16.5 per cent rates hike, Mahuta won’t in­ter­vene just yet.

‘‘I see my role as pri­mar­ily work­ing along­side lo­cal gov­ern­ment. There are spe­cific leg­isla­tive pow­ers, but lo­cal de­ci­sion­mak­ing and lo­cal lead­er­ship is ab­so­lutely im­por­tant and I re­spect that.

‘‘Like good gov­ern­ment, any pro­posal would re­quire a level of pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion and feed­back to gage whether you’ve pitched an is­sue like rates rises at the right level.

‘‘That’s some­thing I be­lieve has to be judged on pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion, good in­for­ma­tion, and ro­bust de­bate, cer­tainly around the coun­cil ta­ble. I would ex­pect that is the ap­proach Hamil­ton City Coun­cil is tak­ing to­wards this is­sue,’’ she said.

Mahuta was 26-years-old when she was first elected to par­lia­ment in the 1996 elec­tion as a list MP. It was the first elec­tion to use MMP.

She has held the Hau­rak­iWaikato seat for 21 years.

‘‘I was en­cour­aged by a lot of Ma¯ori women, dis­cour­aged by some Ma¯ori men, but I’m still here and still stand­ing.

‘‘I’ve al­ways been a small­town, com­mu­nity-minded per­son at heart and I don’t think I’ve lost that per­spec­tive.

‘‘I feel as pas­sion­ate now about the con­tri­bu­tion I’d like to make as I did when I started. I just know more now.’’

PHOTO: DOMINICO ZAPATA/STUFF

Hau­raki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta is look­ing for­ward to work­ing on her Maori De­vel­op­ment and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment port­fo­lios with the Labour-led Gov­ern­ment.

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