Tōrangapū: Marama Davidson reflects on legacy of Bill English in the National Party
Te Karere's Scotty Morrison talks politics with Greens list MP, Marama Davidson.
Scotty: The leader of the opposition Bill English calls it quits - what legacy does he leave behind when we think of Māori and crown relations given his time as a former Prime Minister and cabinet minister?
Marama: The leader of the opposition Bill English calls it quits- what legacy does he leave behind for NZ in his time as a former Prime Minister and cabinet minister? I have to acknowledge Bill English and his family for his long service in parliament and his work for all the regions. Yes, he's a strong politician and a great one despite this. To me, most of his policies weren’t the best regarding families, the environment, the rivers and the economy. So now, that's in front of the Greens to fix it. But I do agree with what he said regarding prisons- but most of what he did, wasn't good.
Scotty: Speaking of leadership, you’re going head to head against your colleague Julie Anne Genter for the Greens co-leadership role. Genter currently holds a ministerial position, unlike you. It could be seen that she is more qualified for the role. What's your response to that?
Marama: I was really proud as I got to sit outside the cabinet ministers as a strong voice for members, as a strong voice for the independence of the party so I have put myself forward for co-leader because I have that vision to create a strong party. And of course, the vision for our environment and all of our people and a green economy and I believe I am that person.
Scotty: You whakapapa back to the East Coast, what do you make of job losses at JNL Gisborne? Can the Labour-Greens and NZ First government do anything about it? Why or why not?
Marama: I really feel for the families and workers of that region. I'm sure the unions are doing everything they can to advocate as a voice for the families in this hard time. This is the time for the Greens economy, something new and new strategies for work on the East Coast in the last few years. When I ran for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti that's what I did and wanted to do for that region. Just like taking care of the environment for the next generation. This is that time.
Scotty: What do you make of Labour Māori Ministers Kelvin Davis, Willie Jackson and Peeni Henare backing their party's call to abolish charter schools - given that around half of charter schools are Māori charter schools?
Marama: It’s the same as our policy regarding charter schools. I really support the work of charter schools and their work to strengthen customs within schools. But despite that, this government can support and do this within mainstream schools. That's what's being talked about at the moment for each school to sit with the government and discuss this. We the government can support Māori students and uplift Māori customs within charter schools as they transition into the mainstream.