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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

ANAHILA KANONGATA’A-SUISUIKI (Labour): Tēnā koe, Madam Speaker. It is an absolute privilege to stand here to contribute to this very important bill for Auckland. It may have been technically small for everybody else, but it is important for Auckland: the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Amendment Bill.

I just want to take this opportunity to thank the sponsor of this bill, Dr Parmjeet Parmar. I hope to receive the same support that I am offering to her sponsored bill when I have mine in the House, so I look forward to that, and congratulations there. I didn’t get it for the language, but I am always looking positively to the future.

Last week was the National Volunteer Week. I know that we’re talking about groups who are mainly made up of volunteers, and I just want to acknowledge all the volunteers out there in New Zealand but, in particular, New Zealand has more than 230,000 volunteers in 27,000 registered charities. The Surf Life Saving Northern Region as part of the amenities group that we are talking about. In that spiel, since I am acknowledging volunteers, I just want to have a shout-out to Rosemary and the team at Sustainable Papakura. I thank you for the acknowledging of local volunteers on Sunday. It was an excellent idea, and I was glad I was there to join volunteers making mosaics.

In that spiel, I just want to remind people what the principal Act is. So the purpose of the principal Act is, first, to establish the mechanism to provide grants in education, rescue, or community facilities for or services to the Auckland region, and the second purpose is to ensure that the Auckland Council is part of the mechanism and, therefore, contributes to the funding.

In my other life, I used to be a treasurer for P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A. Inc. That’s a Pacific Island women’s group established in 1976, and I used to be the treasurer. When that role comes up, nobody puts their hand up. Nobody puts there hand up because the amount of paperwork that charities have to do is just ridiculous.

So I heard from the member for Mt Roskill, and what I took from his speech—Michael Wood, the MP for Mt Roskill. What I got from his kōrero was that this is about setting up the path going forward and making it easier for organisations in—let me say it again; English is my second language, and I’ll try and say it again—the Auckland regional amenities funding group. It will give them an opportunity to make the paperwork fair.

I heard him talk about the—what is it? The velodrome—what’s that name again?

Priyanca Radhakrishnan: The Stardome.

ANAHILA KANONGATA’A-SUISUIKI: The Stardome in Mount Roskill, and I heard him talk—

Hon Member: It’s in Maungakiekie.

ANAHILA KANONGATA’A-SUISUIKI: Actually, it’s in Maungakiekie. I should know; I only live down the road. I’ve always admired that Stardome and I want to acknowledge the Stardome for their work.

But can I just remind everybody of the nine groups that we are talking about today. [Interruption] Those groups—I’m just getting to it. Thank you, Marja Lubeck—just let me get to it. I want to acknowledge in particular the Auckland Theatre Co., the Auckland rescue helicopter. I did speak about the funding that we provided in terms of the work the volunteers do, and I want to acknowledge the $2 million from the Hon Poto Williams that went towards water safety, because WaterSafe Auckland, or Drowning Prevention Auckland, is one of the groups.

The Auckland Arts Festival, the Auckland Philharmonia orchestra—and I would like to invite them to come to Papakura. I am the Labour list MP based in Papakura, and I would like to invite them to come over to South Auckland, anywhere—Papakura is part of South Auckland—to hold orchestra events in Maraetai, Whitford, Hunua, Karaka, Kingseat, Ramarama, Ararimu, Brookby, or Kawakawa Bay. Come over—come over to Papakura, because we are also part of Auckland.

As a Tongan New Zealander, I’m very proud to acknowledge Auckland. As the member for Tāmaki Makaurau, the Hon Peeni Henare, spoke fondly of Auckland and of Tāmaki Makaurau, I’ve been a resident of Tāmaki Makaurau since I arrived here in New Zealand in 1980. Of course, it is the city of love, and we want to acknowledge the groups that I have acknowledged, but I want to continue acknowledging the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, the surf life saving—as I’ve said before—and, of course, I keep forgetting the Stardome Observatory is in Maungakiekie. It’s in Maungakiekie, where our list MP Priyanca Radhakrishnan is based.

I remember at the second reading that I took an opportunity to contribute to the second reading, and many speakers did say that it’s a small, technical bill. Although it is a small, technical bill, I know, like the member for Mt Roskill said, that it makes it a little fairer. It makes it a little fairer and easier for these amenities. It makes changes that require specific groups to prepare financial statements, and I want to acknowledge the role of the board in terms of distributing those funds to the nine amenities that have been clearly, clearly acknowledged by our group here.

I want to go back to National Volunteer Week last week, and I want to acknowledge the work of the Papakura Marae. As I said, I am the list member of Parliament based in Papakura, and many times Papakura Marae does a lot of volunteer—the majority of the work done at the marae is about volunteering, and I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge whāea Anne Kendall and the work of Papakura Marae, especially on Thursdays, when those warm meals are cooked for the community. I want to say that—

Marja Lubeck: During COVID?

ANAHILA KANONGATA’A-SUISUIKI: Oh, during COVID, Papakura Marae was one of the centres that distributed the emergency food parcels, and also they were from the Takanini Sikh temple. I want to acknowledge them in terms of their leadership, but let me get back to this bill.

I want to, again, commend the member on her bill, and the—

Priyanca Radhakrishnan: The select committee.

ANAHILA KANONGATA’A-SUISUIKI: —select committee. Yeah, I’m getting to that, thank you, Priyanca Radhakrishnan. I want to commend the member for this bill and for her leadership on this bill, and, of course, I heard Dr Jian Yang speak on this bill. The members of the Governance and Administration Committee were Ginny Andersen, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Sarah Dowie, and Paul Eagle was also a member who worked on this bill, and the Hon Peeni Henare, like I said, and I’m still looking for Lawrence Yule—I can’t find him. But I just want to take this opportunity to thank—[Interruption] Oh, there he is. There he is. Oh, thank you—thank you. I’m acknowledging your contribution as members on the select committee that deliberated over this bill.

Marja Lubeck: He should take a call.

ANAHILA KANONGATA’A-SUISUIKI: Oh, he should take a call—Lawrence Yule. Oh, Marja Lubeck would like you to take a call, Lawrence.

It is a small technicality, but it will, like I said before, make life easier for these groups. It will make life easier for these groups.

Just before I end my speech, I want to take this opportunity, again, to commend the Prime Minister for her leadership throughout COVID-19. Everywhere I am in Papakura, when I’m walking around speaking with people in the community, they want to say a couple of things, actually. They want to say to me, “Anahila, when you’re in Parliament, could you please say to the Prime Minister that we thank her, as part of a team of 5 million, for her leadership. We thank Dr Ashley Bloomfield for his leadership, and we support the way that the Government has looked after New Zealand—all of the 5 million—keeping us safe.”

Of course, now, we have the strictest regime in—there’s no playbook for it. We have the strictest controls at the border, where we test on the third day and we have a second test, and after 14 days of isolation—

Dan Bidois: What does this have to do with the bill?

ANAHILA KANONGATA’A-SUISUIKI: —with a negative test, you are now able to go home.

I come back to the bill, and I want to again, for the third time, acknowledge the sponsor, Dr Parmjeet Parmar. I want to commend this bill, the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Amendment Bill, to the House. Kia ora.