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'We can’t do it alone' - Jacinda Ardern promises a partnership with Maori on problems they face


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has promised the new Government will work in partnership with Maori to solve the problems they face.

The Prime Minister today continued her tour of Northland, a region where her Government faces some big challenges. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Ardern was speaking today at Karetu Marae in Northland, the home marae of the new Crown-Maori Relations, Corrections and Tourism Minister, Kelvin Davis.

1 NEWS political reporter Katie Bradford reports the message from people at Karetu Marae today is that clear they want the Government to keep listening to them, visiting them and working with them to solve the problems in Northland, and facing Maori.

Ms Ardern told reporters she thinks those on the marae and the Government "absolutely agree".

"As I said yesterday with the iwi chairs, as we said when we met with members of regional and local government, we've got a lot of things that we want to achieve. And we can't do it alone, and I think we're only going to make the gains we'd like to make if we work in partnership," she said.

The Prime Minister says the new Government can only make the gains it wants if it works in partnership with Maori. Source: 1 NEWS

Asked how the Government will do that, with economic development much needed in Northland," Ms Ardern said: "Absolutely. Well firstly, by listening."

She said she and her team talked with local mayors yesterday about many issues they and local MPs see.

The sound of warriors welcoming the PM and MPs onto Kelvin Davis' marae echoes across the valley at Karetu. Source: 1 NEWS

"And it's about uss not dictating what happens, but working together to identify the problems. Regional roads, regional employment are great examples." 

The Prime Minister said the Government's provincial growth fund is a key opportunity "to say to local government what things in your area would unleash jobs? So rather than us dictating, sitting down and finding out what the opportunities are".

She said a "great and obvious example" in Northland is that the region is prime for forestry which not only creates employment opportunities, "it helps us tick off environmental goals as well".

Asked about a four-lane road to Whangarei, Ms Ardern said NZTA is looking at safety issues and she has heard the mayors when they say people's access to the region is key".

She said she's sure ministers will be sitting down with mayors to ensure access is key, but would not make a decision on such a road today.

Part of the coalition agreement with New Zealand First includes a commitment to upgrade the rail line from Auckland to Whangarei and Marsden.

Ms Ardern said today the Government will be looking at all the individual rail projects that have been proposed, "but there's no doubt, for this Government rail is a priority".