Jacinda Ardern says Waitangi is a time for the Government to be 'held to account'

Source: 1News

Hundreds of people have gathered for the Waitangi service in the Bay of Islands today to celebrate the 179th anniversary for the signing of the Treaty.

With the celebrations continuing throughout the day the Prime Minister took time to reflect on the days importance.

Jacinda Ardern told 1 NEWS, “it’s important to reflect on how we have done in the past year and talk about where we need to go".

“I see Te Tiriti as a living document, that means we have to continually keep ourselves in check as to whether or not we are living up to those principles and these commemorations are a chance for us to be held to account.”

Jacinda Ardern says it was important to look at how far the Government has come in the past 12 months.

“We came here last year and said we want to address unemployment, access to education, and we want to do something about that incarnation rate.

"For the first time in ten years we’re reducing the imprisonment rate and for the first time in ten years we are starting to see some of the lowest Māori in unemployment, but we would love a little more speed.”

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A dawn parade service was held this morning at Te Whare Rūnanga, the upper marae, where the Prime Minister delivered a prayer for the people.

People have gathered from places throughout the country and even come from countries like the US, UK and the Pacific to celebrate the relationship between Pākehā and Māori.

The Prime Minister dished up breakfast this morning for the people with over 2000 sausages purchased and 150 market stalls serving food, arts and crafts.

Jacinda Ardern says this day is such an important part of our history.

"It's just a wonderful place to be.”

1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch Mackay says the Prime Minister has received a warm welcome at the marae, but says Ngāpuhi leader Sonny Tau did give Ms Ardern a bit of a serve.

He said in his speech this morning that it is important for everyone to learn the different articles of the treaty.

This comment came after 1 NEWS political reporter Maiki Sherman asked her to recite Article 1 of the Treaty and the Prime Minister fumbled over her words.

There will be a hīkoi later on for people who want to get their message across to the Prime Minister.

Jacinda Ardern heads off around lunch time today.