The 2016 recipient of the Tū Rangatira mō te Ora award is Metiria Turei.
Metiria is from Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Ati hau nui a Paparangi, and Rangitāne me Raukawa.
Metiria was chosen for her long-standing commitment to social justice, her work to reduce inequality and her advocacy for Māori development.
In particular, the PHA wanted to recognise the passion and energy Metiria has put into advocating for tamariki Māori and all New Zealand children, in her work to reduce child poverty.
We also acknowledge her active commitment to making Te Tiriti o Waitangi live in political and community action.
Metiria has been Green Party Co-leader since 2009. But you may not know that she has firsthand experience of the challenges Māori whānau face. As a young single Mum, Metiria used the training incentive allowance to put herself through law school. After graduating in 1999 she worked as a commercial lawyer before entering Parliament in 2002.
Waatea News: Anti-poverty advocacy earns Turei public health tohu
Green Party: Metiria Turei awarded for her work on Māori hauora
Last week's Bulletin featured a story from the New Zealand Herald (Candidates could change voter apathy, 16 September). The story purports to be part of a campaign from Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) to increase the vote.
It described three demographics: young people, ethnic minorities, poor and uneducated as "typically apathetic voters" for staying away from the polls.
This infuriates me. LGNZ knows that, of the 58 percent of the population who did not vote last time, the largest proportion (31 percent) did not vote because they "want to vote but say it's too hard to find the information they need to make an informed decision." Just read this Radio NZ story from 12 September: Young voters feel locked out of local body politics
Me too. I have every sympathy with the young, recent immigrants, and people too poor to have an address for the postal vote to be delivered to, or the uneducated (that's four demographics, as you don't have to be poor to be uneducated or uneducated to be poor). Actually there's a significant category of educated, interested and possibly even influential voters confronted with lists of people we've never heard of, and whose views on important issues we don't know. I've been involved at the fringes of politics at local and central government level, public service and community activities for more than 50 years, and selecting from these lists of random strangers does not encourage me to vote.
In order to "lift voter numbers above 50 percent nationally for the first time since 1998" (LGNZ's campaign objective), instead of insulting us, it might be a good idea for the media and LGNZ to think about how we might become better informed.
There's no point in haranguing us about our duty to vote in the two months after the candidates are announced. We need to know about the big issues facing our electorates well ahead of that.
This would require our mainstream media to overcome its corporate apathy about local New Zealand, and work with LGNZ, the universities and activist groups such as Generation Zero, Grey Power and the PHA, to give us much more in-depth analysis of local issues. That would mean once the candidates are declared we can begin to interrogate where they stand.
Some help need not be too challenging. Just start with a single site where voters can go to find what ward/electorate etc they're in, who the candidates are and a little about them – instead of having to trawl through multiple websites. I'm sure the Minister's changes (see below) are useful, but they won't address my concerns.
Thankfully, Judith Aitken is onto a much more radical solution for the most unnecessarily complicated and ineffectual election of all – DHBs.
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