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Glen Bennett maiden statement

The maiden statement of Glen Bennett in Parliament, 9 February 2021.

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In this maiden statement, the Member of Parliament for New Plymouth, Glen Bennett, addresses the Parliament, illustrating a life dedicated to community service and advocacy, rather than a pursuit of power or title. The journey into politics was a reluctant one, influenced by people within the community including the Prime Minister's relative, Maria. Bennett cites the philosophy of Aboriginal artist and activist Lila Watson, stressing the importance of collective liberation and partnership rather than unilateral assistance.

The statement reflects on influential moments in Bennett's life from as early as 1984, a year that shaped both personal and political perspectives. At nine years old, the impressionable Bennett found inspiration in the leadership of David Lange, and through the writings in a school journal aspired to emulate the helpful spirit of a parent who worked as a Salvation Army officer. Bennett's experiences ranged from encounters with diverse individuals welcomed into the family home, to eye-opening visits with a parent to a women's prison after school.

One pivotal memory dating back to 1984 involved visiting a recently released prisoner and their baby living in a shed at a rubbish dump. This harrowing experience solidified a lifelong commitment to serving others and informed Bennett's work, including serving as a foster parent for over two decades while acknowledging the numerous individuals impacted by Bennett's foster parenting journey.

Emphasizing a commitment to serve all constituents, regardless of whether they voted for Bennett or not, Bennett envisions New Plymouth as a leader in New Zealand's green energy transition and advocates for housing solutions, healthcare, and community connectedness. The MP highlights key social reforms and progress, including the teaching of national history in schools and the realization of Maori wards in local governance, while showing gratitude towards various figures who have supported this journey.

In closing, Bennett expresses pride in aligning with the Labour Party's values and acknowledges the Maori women who have been influential, thanking them for the taonga received, which reflects connection to the creator and commitment to serving the community.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:9th February 2021
Audio courtesy of:Parliament TV
Location:Parliament buildings, Wellington
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004717).