Thu, 2 Dec 2004
Speech to launch of Mongrel Mob whanau business development project
The Mongrel Mob have started a programme to help develop work skills
Launch of Mongrel Mob whanau business development project 2.30PM Thursday, 2 December 2004 Putaruru Soccer Club
Edge Te Whaiti, National Coordinator, gathered members and friends.
It may come as a surprise to you, but it's a bit controversial for a politician to come along and speak to a gang.
To many people, the idea of a gang being involved in business is not much different to a fox being involved in a
So why would I be interested in a business development programme run by a gang?
The fundamental reason is that if you want people to respect their community and pay a constructive role, you have to
give them a stake in it.
They have to have something to lose.
If you have nothing to lose, it's easy to be anti-social.
There is no better way to create a stake for people, a role for them to realise their own potential, than through
If you have a job, a future, and you're making some money, you are going to want to protect the community where you are
There are creative, exciting businesses all over New Zealand.
Our business people are creative and talented people, who are working hard to do something they believe in.
In every corner of New Zealand, there are creative people with good ideas.
They're running creative businesses and creating a future for themselves and for their communities.
Business create jobs, and jobs give people and their communities hope.
I had an American company come to see me called Jack Links.
They wanted to open a factory making beef jerky.
They saw we had good cattle, but they needed land close to the airport and skilled workers.
Some government officials went to work and found a place in Auckland.
We said to the company, if we train workers on the dole and give them skills, will you employ them?
We took two hundred people off the dole.
Some of them had been there for ten years.
They got good jobs in the Jack Links factory.
Imagine how different this Christmas will be in the homes of those workers, compared to the last ten Christmases.
Imagine what Christmas dinner will look like.
Imagine the hope the kids of those workers now have.
Imagine the pride of those kids, how it has changed because Mum or Dad has a job.
If you want to help give a future to kids like that here in the Waikato, then I am going to work with you.
I don't need to tell you I don't want any New Zealand kids growing up with no job to be part of a gang.
I want them growing up to get skills they can be proud of.
So I'm here because I believe you have a vision for giving some hope and a decent future to young people growing up here
I have been to a few of New Zealand's prisons.
I have seen a few Mongrel Mob members in them.
When you go to a prison the overwhelming impression you are left with is the waste.
You see young men bristling with energy.
You see them locked up.
All that talent, all that promise, all going to waste.
We can do better than that.
We have to.
I have always said I will work with anyone who has a stake in economic development to create jobs and a bright future
for each region.
There are a lot of things going on here in the South Waikato.
It's up to you to work out how best to make the economic rejuvenation of the region work for your members.
There are others who will work alongside you: Community groups, like the Lifelong Learning Trust, the Business
Development Centre and the Community Technology Trust.
The government is playing its role as a partner, too.
The Ministry of Economic development was set up to work with communities to realise their potential.
But it doesn't impose solutions from above.
It works with you to find the best outcomes.
There are opportunities.
There are ways to get skills and have a stake and they don't have to involve the illicit economy.
Some examples of programmes that might be useful for you to think about.
The Community Technology Trust has a proven way to give members computer skills and get them ready for the demands of a
They have only ever turned away one person, and that was someone who was 'losing it' at the centre.
The Organic Co-op helps people to learn about growing good food.
If you wanted to explore an area like that, there is potential to develop the course to provide formal qualifications.
Carving is something where there are opportunities now and there may be some skills among members.
Art products can be marketed all over the world from the South Waikato.
I have a piece of art hanging on my office wall that was carved by a young Maori artist in Gisborne.
I bought it after I saw it during a visit there.
Art is unique and there is demand for it.
I understand there are hundreds of driving jobs becoming available, tourism jobs through a cultural tourism project in
the area and more.
It's not for me to tell you any of these are the best option.
No single solution is likely to be right.
But if you want to work on exploring these opportunities, the government will play its part.
You will have to play yours too.
You have to be prepared to support members developing work skills.
You have to provide an environment where learning and working are supported.
You have to make a commitment that you want to be a positive and contributing part of the economy.
And if you do that, there are officials from government and individuals working in this community who will sit down with
you and work out how best to make headway.
There are fantastic things happening in the South Waikato.
Pump water is being bottled in Putaruru.
Warratah forestry machinery in Tokoroa, and Putaruru Welding which has a world beating idea for a helicopter grapple for
logs these are world class companies.
Tourism is developing around the river, fishing, biking, tramping.
There are ideas to make the South Waikato a warehousing and distribution centre, because it has the majority of New
Zealand's population within 200 kilometres.
There is a he amount of help available to you if you want to be part of these successes.
Help to develop skills to get jobs.
Help to connect young people who want to be part of it to connect up with the opportunities.
Help for people with good ideas to develop their ideas into businesses.
Help to grow those businesses.
I'm not going to go through the list of opportunities one by one.
You know more than I do about what opportunities will suit you best.
It's up to you to take those opportunities.
The community, from central government down, is ready to help if you do that.
It's up to you whether you want to choose the road ahead to a better future, or tow take the other one.
The wrong choice condemns this generation and probably the next one.
The right choice gives young people and their families a chance.
I believe you can grow up in South Waikato and dream of being anything you want to be.
We need to dare to dream and we need to be daring enough to make our dreams come true.
You dared me to come here and show you how there are opportunities to get new skills, to get skilled jobs and to get
I want to warmly welcome your commitment to getting skills and jobs.
I want to encourage your interest in opening businesses.
And I would like to hear your views of the things government can do to unlock the potential I know your members have.