Parting shots for Israelis, Maori

Wairarapa's retiring MP has claimed credit for sorting out Horizons Regional Council's One Plan when it threatened to cripple the Tararua District's economy.

In his valedictory speech to Parliament, John Hayes said a meeting of key players in his office, and the accompanying "meal and libation" helped grease the wheels between the council and plan opponents.

The One Plan, Horizons' blueprint for the use of natural resources in Manawatu/Whanganui, was expected by some to cost Tararua $62 million a year in lost revenue because of restrictions on nitrogen leaching from farms.

His final speech also delivered a message to Maori who were anti-progress, Israelis who supported the invasion of Gaza and Labour's candidate for his seat.

He talked about his frustration that two irrigation schemes proposed in his electorate had not been approved in his time, blaming the Resource Management Act, a lack of leadership, not-in-my-backyard attitudes and Maori concerns.

He also said Maori had blocked his plans to create a community health centre in Masterton and suggested Maori "reflect on their actions".

He called for an end to the "grievance industry" and to Maori seats in Parliament and said New Zealand needed a new flag.

Hayes, who was New Zealand's ambassador to Iran and high commissioner to Papua New Guinea, before entering Parliament in 2005, also spoke of a trip he took to Israel as an MP. He learnt that a significant portion of Israeli politicians had no interest in resolving the country's issues with Palestinians.

In an allusion to the current invasion of Gaza, which has left more than 500 people dead, Hayes said: "To Israelis, I simply ask you, have you no humanity?"

Hayes said visits to European parliaments had shown him politics could be conducted without the personal attacks and sniping found in New Zealand's debating chamber.

However, he could not resist a swipe at the Labour candidate for his seat, Kieran McAnulty, who he said lacked the experience needed for the role.

Manawatu Standard