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IKAROA-RĀWHITI...Look to Freedoms NZ for Leadership

Opinion Piece

3rd May 2023

When Cyclone Gabrielle hit the Ikaroa-Rāwhiti electorate (East Coast, Hawkes Bay, Gisborne etc), the Freedoms New Zealand leadership team provided practical, boots-on-the-ground solutions.

Brian Tamaki mobilised overnight thousands of volunteers across the freedom community, New Zealand churches and ManUp network. Along with donated machinery, these volunteers worked tirelessly on the ground in Hawkes Bay & Gisborne to clear silt from people’s homes, farms and orchards. Some of the first properties these volunteers helped were local marae and urupa. These volunteers brought smiles to many Kiwis' faces who were devastated and had lost everything.

Brian was on the tools and wadded into the mud to help clear family homes of silt, but also taking it a step further…providing resources, listening to the locals, showing genuine love and concern, encouraging them and lifting their spirits in their darkest time of need.

One elderly Eskdale lady whose farmhouse was overflowing with several metres of silt shared with Brian that her one desire was for her driveway to be cleared so she could get to her house. Instead of sending others to do the job, Brian himself picked up a shovel and went to dig out her driveway himself.

Hannah Tamaki also rolled up her sleeves and got stuck in, clearing silt from family homes, and giving out a lot of hugs along the way. Witnessing Hannah in action as she navigated with tearful Mums what they could salvage in their kitchens and homes was heart-warming. Hannah also mobilised a team of volunteers to put together female hygiene packs for women who had lost all of their household possessions.

Michael Jacomb responded quickly through his business to send in trucks of massive generators into the region to help supply power. He also personally donated money towards fuel and he got on the phone to rally up further business support so that over $20,000 in fuel was quickly made available to the volunteer diggers and trucks.

Our local Freedoms NZ representative, Michael Ngahuka, has relentlessly led the volunteer efforts in Hawkes Bay for the past several months, liaising and advocating on behalf of the people with those in positions of power and he was recently honoured by the local council for his work.

Another of our incredible Freedoms NZ representatives, Ernest Packer did a stellar job clearing marae and homes across the Gisborne region, delivering food parcels and undertaking welfare checks on the elderly.

There are plenty more examples of the Freedoms New Zealand team leading in this region, but you get the picture.

When the government’s leadership is invisible and impractical, Freedoms New Zealand leaders are visible and practical. The Freedoms New Zealand leadership team lead with heart.

And right now, our hearts go out to the Ikaroa-Rāwhiti voters, who yet again have been let down by yet another government leader.

The reported and pending announcement that Meka Whaitiri is defecting from Labour to the Māori Party is yet another disappointment. Meka is supposed to be the Hawke's Bay cyclone recovery ministerial lead, but she is abandoning this role in their greatest hour of need.

Stuart Nash in the Napier electorate has also been a massive disappointment.

Right through until the election, these residents are now left without effective representation in Parliament and around the Cabinet table.

Labour has promised millions for the Cyclone Gabrielle relief package. Even more has been promised to Māori that Willie Jackson seems to have gone underground with – where’s Willie and his wallet?

The Māori party leaders only made a whole lot of noise, crying out from the side-lines for big pots of money for Māori, but have also failed to deliver in offering practical on-the-ground help, and as an opposition party, they’ve done little to hold Labour to account ensuring Willie’s Māori funds reached Māori homes.

Meanwhile, Ikaroa-Rāwhiti voters are left feeling lonely and forgotten as they attempt to piece their lives back together amidst endless amounts of hardened silt! Many locals state that government leaders have been missing in action during this time.

But take heart…remember those who were there when it really counted…the Freedoms New Zealand leadership team. True leadership, with heart, is just around the corner come Election 2023 when you give your party vote to Freedoms New Zealand.

Ikaroa-Rāwhiti and Napier voters…you are not forgotten by Freedoms New Zealand. You are invited to a special public meeting that Freedoms New Zealand is hosting:

Freedoms NZ Public Meeting - Napier
Tuesday 16th May 2023 - 7pm

Additional information will be posted soon!

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