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Maori Party speech By Porutu
Mountains to Sea recreation summit dinner
16 September, 2006
Oceania room, Te Papa Tongarewa


Ko Ranginui e tu nei
Ko Papatuanuku e takoto nei
Tena korua
Tena koutou
Tena tatau katoa



When we Googled this word I found the following definitions on brainydictionary.com

  1. “The act of recreating, or the state of being recreated”, and;
  2. “Refreshment of the strength and spirits after toil”

While the maori party understands that this summit is focused on the latter of those 2 definitions we are here to speak primarily about the former definition, re-creation the act of recreating or the state of being recreated and how that relates to Recreation in Aotearoa in the next 20 years.



The maori party is seeking to re-create the way in which the human species interacts with our earthmother and skyfather Papatuanuku me Ranginui. Not only is conventional economics failing us, but the unquestioned doctrine of GDP growth was never meant to be used as a measure of progress. The principle architect of the GDP measurement and renowned Nobel prize winner, Simon Kuznets, warned us of the mis-use of the GDP by saying; “The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income (GDP) Goals for “more” growth should specify of what and for what”.
Former UN speech writer and CEO for GPI Atlantic, Ron Colman, describes this phenomenon by saying, “No political party officially favours greater insecurity, a degraded environment, or more stress, crime and poverty. Why then do we see policies that promote those very outcomes? Why have we been unable to create the kind of society we genuinely want to inhabit? Why have we not ordered our policies and priorities in accord with our shared values and human needs? One reason is that we have all been getting the wrong message from our current measures of progress, which are based primarily on economic growth statistics as measured by changes in the gross domestic product (GDP). All of us politicians, economists, journalists, and the general public have been completely hooked on the illusion that equates economic growth with wellbeing and prosperity. This was not the intention of those that created the GDP GDP growth statistics were never meant to be used as a measure of progress, as they are today. In fact, activities that degrade our quality of life, like crime, pollution, and addictive gambling, all make the economy grow. The more fish we sell and the more trees we cut down, the more the economy grows. Working longer hours makes the economy grow even if inequality and poverty increase In short, our growth statistics make no distinction between economic activity that contributes to wellbeing and that which causes harm. Growth is simply a quantitative increase in the physical scale of the economy, and it tells us nothing about our actual wellbeing.”

Our co-leader Pita Sharples described the mis-use of the GDP as being, and I quote “a bit like telling a drowning person that the more they thrash around in panic, the greater the chance of survival, but we know the more they panic the greater chance they have of drowning; lots of activity no progress.”
The mis-use of the GDP can also be described as “re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” Does this mean the GDP worshipers are bad? No. It just means they continue to perpetuate this mother of all human errors without actually knowing that. Meanwhile the maori party, has taken the first step to get off the Titanic and become the first political party in the western world to fully adopt the solution to this problem, appropriately known as the Genuine Progress Index, or GPI.

We did this, because just like Tikanga maori, the GPI is based on the holistic concept that the universe is a single entity made up of many parts. The genuine progress index, “assigns explicit value to natural resources, including soils, forests, fisheries, and non-renewable energy sources and assesses the sustainability of harvesting practices, consumption habits, and transportation systems. It measures and values unpaid voluntary work and household work, and it counts crime, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, road accidents, and other liabilities as economic costs not gains.” In basic terms, the GPI subtracts the bad from the good and calls it “genuine”. In contrast, the GDP adds the bad with the good and calls it growth, in this context growth of quantity. The maori party and the GPI symbolizes growth in “quality”. We are providing the leadership that is greatly needed to make this re-creation happen, to be the change agents for a positive shift in the consciousness of society.


So why are we thinking like this?

Since before the election, the maori party has repeatedly called for a cross party commission into peak oil, on radio talkback, media releases and TV debates including the televised leaders debates. Apart from John Campbell, I can understand if the media do not want to dramatise this issue, as this revelation spells disaster for industrial capitalism and conventional economics. To understand what I am talking about you must first understand that Climate change, global over-population, geopolitical tensions, global inflation, trade deficits, the decline of the airline industry, infrastructure maintenance, job layoffs, union strikes, the “nuclear war on terror” where illegal depleted uranium munitions are used by coalition forces etc, they All must be seen through the lense of peak oil. Peak oil is not about running your car. It is virtually about everything. Industrial agriculture needs cheap oil, manufacturers need cheap oil, supermarkets, water treatment, sewage treatment, hydro stations, the national grid, they all need cheap oil, and that’s just for maintenance. But more importantly for industrial capitalism, the international banking system needs cheap oil; money is merely a coupon voucher for energy.

By working on the assumption that Peak Oil is upon us, we are facing up to the reality of our dynamic natural world. Oil is currently hovering in the $US60’s and we can expect continued spiking of prices, but ultimately, the price will not reduce to $US30. The Maori Party is extremely concerned that the national budgets are based on an assumption of oil being between $US15-35, approximately half the price of real prices, in real time. Our great co-leader, Tariana Turia has repeatedly said that “The maori party is prepared to demonstrate the leadership required to respond to the imminent oil crisis. We believe this issue is above politics. We must move beyond being reactive and put our energies into developing a pro-active, well thought-out contingency plan to prepare for life without cheap oil. It is critical that we “prepare now.” I hope tonight, you will be able to see how vitally important it is for parliament to set up a cross party commission into peak oil, and that you encourage your elected politicians of all parties to take up this call. You see the peak oil phenomenon is a natural phenomenon, and nature is indifferent to whether you are maori or pakeha, labour or national, indigenous or immigrant, rich or poor. We do not own this planet, the planet owns us.


So what do the maori party goals of re-creation mean for recreation in Aotearoa New Zealand for the next 20 years?

Apart from peak oil affecting the manufacturers of all the various recreation accessories that people use, we have read with interest the fact that the number of peopling seeking recreation in the public conservation estate is in decline. We suspect that less people have less time for recreation, less time to re-create themselves. We suspect that many of us have increasingly become “time poor” through economic constraints on our lives. We believe the maori party goals of re-creation can result in New Zealanders having more time for recreation, and that in itself must be the first “opportunity” for recreation in the next 20 years that we must not squander. Just as we all seem to have less time for recreation, so have we run out of time in this segment to speak of it. Kia ora.