With Matariki near (and baby due any day), time is flying at the moment.
It seems like a year ago, I was proudly leading a protest in Tauranga, calling for the protection of Māui's Dolphin. This was due to then Energy and Resources Minister, Simon Bridges, allowing oil exploration in one of their marine sanctuaries.
That was 2014. Now, I’m in a Government where Ministers Stuart Nash and Eugenie Sage have announced over $17 million to protect these critically endangered dolphins from commercial fishing vessels.
Like you, I don’t want our kids having just 63 adult Māui dolphins estimated in their waters, as there are today.
This Government’s new options to protect Māui and Hector’s dolphins long-term, will finally secure a sustainable future for our marine species.
Speaking of making a difference, Aotearoa’s first Wellbeing Budget delivered record investment in mental health, family and sexual violence, and over half a billion dollars of new funding into targeted Māori initiatives.
From $33 million for Te Reo Māori’s future to $40 million for papakāinga, this level of investment in the potential of Māori is unprecedented.
The $32 million for Kōhanga Reo was long overdue. Lifting wages and acknowledging the crucial role Kōhanga plays in the revitalisation of Te Reo Māori.
By tackling the core issues, like housing and education, this Government is proudly getting on with doing the mahi you elected us to do.