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It would be a brave Aucklander to go to the people of Ngati Maru; to Ngati Paoa, to Ngati Tamatera, Ngai Tai or to Waikato and to tell them that in fact, they are all Aucklanders.
In fact, I’m going to say right upfront now, that as MP for Tamaki Makaurau, it won’t be me heading to the heart of the King Country.
And yet, to all extents and purposes, that is what we have been saying to the communities of Franklin.
We have been saying to them all, that it is their obligation to pay levies to support the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Museum of Transport and Technology.
Fortunately, because of this Bill, that will all now change.
I want to say at the outset - that our decision to support this Bill – does not at any stage represent any slight to either museum. They are both icons.
The Auckland War Memorial Museum, nesting on the hill known as Pukekawa, is part of the pride and joy of Tamaki Makaurau.
Established back in 1852, not long after the Treaty was signed, it has distinguished itself through the pre-eminent Maori and Pasifika collections, as well as major social and military history archives, and natural history resources. It hosts literally millions of objects and welcomes about half a million visitors every year.
It also occupies a special presence in our story, owing part of its construction to subscriptions raised by Aucklanders in remembrance of their war dead.
And then there’s MOTAT – an interactive museum with over 300,000 items in its collection – providing a fascinating chronicle of transport, technology and our social history for the future generations.
So I have no questions about the quality of the resource that we have within these two museums.
This Bill is, however, a Bill to aid and assist justice and fairness.
And it is excellent timing to be talking about due access to justice on the day that we have announced we will complete a ministerial review of the controversial Foreshore and Seabed Act by July 2009.
This is a day in which fairness once again has meaning.
And so it is, that the legislation proposes to correct the legal anomaly, in which all residents of the Franklin District are required to pay a levy to support these two museums, even those residents who fall outside the boundaries of the Auckland Regional Council.
Today we will start the process which will rectify this wrong – the wrong that residents living outside of the Auckland region have been inappropriately rated for some years.
As a result of this Bill, in the calculation of levies, the new definition will now exclude any part of the district of the Franklin District Council that is not within the boundaries of the Auckland Regional Council.
We will support this Bill.