Parliament in Session

Parliament began again yesterday after the Christmas break. Two important matters made the news today from Parliament.

The first matter was to put more money into the economy and provide jobs. The government is putting $500,000 in to economy for major infrastructure projects. Infrastructure includes electricity, roads, water, and so on. This time, the money is for more roads, school buildings, and a bridge at the south end of the Coromandel peninsula. There is also money to build new state houses and improve old ones, especially to make them warmer by putting in insulation. New Zealand is just doing the same as many other countries such as the US and Australia, only the amount of money that our country can spend is much less.

The other important matter which took place in the Parliament buildings was a Treaty of Waitangi settlement for three groups of iwi (tribes) made up of eight smaller iwi. This matter has taken two and a half years to settle. These iwi come from the upper South Island and the lower North Island. Between them, they will receive around $300 million in cash and forest land. This is compensation for land which was taken from them between 1840 and 1860. This settlement will give the iwi the chance to use this money to help their people.