Protect coast, MP says

The nation needs to follow the lead of the Kaikoura-based marine sustainability group to protect its coastline, outgoing Kaikoura MP Colin King says.

King made his final address to Parliament before stepping down after nine years as National Party MP last night.

He highlighted three issues he felt strongly about and which he believed would remain prominent concerns for the incoming Government.

The need to look after the coastline and seafood had become clear to him when he visited former whalers taking part in the annual Cook Strait whale count this winter, he said.

"We must face up to the challenge, otherwise we'll end up exactly the same position as those whalers who lost their careers, their opport unities, their profit ability overnight because of a culture of greed and a race to chase the last whale," he said.

He was proud of the Kaikoura community for leading the way through the Te Korowai group.

Iwi, commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, Forest and Bird and the wider community had been able to agree on how best to manage their coastline, he said.

Their management plan, based on the principles of gifts and giving, was to be passed into law through the Te Tai o Marokura Bill, and was going to have to be replicated throughout New Zealand if the country was to preserve its coastline, King said.

King, who has been an advocate for trades education, also said the education system needed to engage students who had a hands-on learning approach.

It was important that the system engaged not only those training to be doctors, lawyer and accountants, but also those who would go on to gain careers in trades industries, he said.

"We want to create many Einsteins, but to create an Einstein we need to also have 1000 skilled technicians to make those things."

He also had a concern around the reluctance of New Zealanders to undertake physically demanding work. "It now concerns me that we do bring enthusiastic workers from the Pacific islands to do the harvesting and cultivation within the horticultural sector."

The fact that a newcomer could come to New Zealand and see opportunities where locals could not was symptomatic of a nation that was losing its way, he said.

He implored people to strive for success for the good of society. "Careful living and good honest hard work, personal responsibility and a desire to aspire should be the aim for us all."

King touched on some highlights of his time as MP for the Kaikoura electorate, thanking taxpayers for providing the funding for three new hospitals, and saying he was delighted to have witnessed the Te Tau Ihu treaty settlements.

"I also acknowledge those people who are supporting the party members and all the members in the house who have worked in the best interests of New Zealand. Kia kaha, stand tall, thank you very much," he said.

The Marlborough Express