Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mike Butler: Separatist drivel from Delahunty

Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty tried to stick up for Maori seats on local authorities in the New Zealand Herald today after withering criticism from commentator Gareth Morgan but the more she started digging away at her topic the bigger became the hole she was burying herself in.

Delahunty wrote: “Anyone can stand for a local election but the low numbers of Maori speak for themselves and Maori who speak for haputanga rather than as individuals are extremely rare on councils unless Maori wards are created”.

Yes, there’s always a danger of bunging in a Maori word that you don’t really know the meaning of.

Haputanga is a term for “pregnancy and prenatal care”. I didn’t realise there was a need on council for Maori to speak for pregnancy and prenatal care; there is certainly not much evidence of non-Maori representatives of pregnancy and prenatal care on local authorities, except district health boards.

Delahunty wrote: “The co-governance structures created in some Te Tiriti settlements are actually a closer reflection of Te Tiriti than Maori wards or seats. . .”

There also a danger airily referring to such treatyist terms without looking at the treaty..

A quick look at Te Tiriti reveals in Article 1, chiefs cede sovereignty; Article 2, chiefs tribes and people of New Zealand are guaranteed the ownership of the property they own which they may sell to an agent of the Crown if they so wish; and Article 3, Maori are given the rights of British subjects. No co-governance there.

The co-governance structures Delahunty praises involve the appointment to council committees of representatives of the multi-million dollar corporations created through the treaty settlement process. Would Delahunty approve of a local government structure that guarantees the appointment of the representatives (whites only) of local businesses to council committees? I think not. Why does she think that Maori business people on council would achieve a better result?

Delahunty wrote: “I would urge Gareth Morgan to discuss the impact of these wards and seats with people in the Waikato Regional Council, Bay of Plenty and New Plymouth, especially tangata whenua, before naming them as a threat”.

A set-up of 50/50 co-governance, that white mayor Andrew Judd is pushing for in New Plymouth, would destroy the one-person one-vote representation we have in a system based on citizenship, not ethnicity. A quick look at the numbers proves this point. New Plymouth has a voting age population of 52,970, with 48,615 on the general roll and 3697 on the Maori roll. New Plymouth has a mayor and 12 councillors. Does Judd seriously think that six councillors to represent 48,615 general roll voters and six to represent 3697 on the Maori roll is fair and equitable? Morgan can do numbers; Delahunty cannot.

Moreover, Maori are not as keen on separate representation as Delahunty is. Last year’s Maori electoral option resulted in 45 percent (184,630) of Maori voters opting for the general roll and 55 percent (228,718) choosing the Maori roll.

Delahunty wrote: “Rulings such as the recent Waitangi Tribunal ruling that the rangatira did not cede sovereignty to the British Crown in 1840, provide a basis for a new conversation. They correct the colonial record by affirming the korero of the indigenous voices which have been passed down from 1840 to 2014.

(Annoying people who write in English and drop in an undefined word in Maori, in this case “rangatira” (chief) and assume everyone knows what you mean.)

Credit to Delahunty for recognising that all the Waitangi Tribunal does is agree with the Chinese whispers of claimant oral testimony, but credit denied for her wacky belief that any conversation based on the “sovereignty wasn’t ceded” argument will take us to the promised land. It can only take us to more grievance, more redress.

Delahunty wrote: “A fresh conversation will only happen when a better educated generation of citizens is prepared for the dialogue based on a sense of history and justice rather than a less than creative definition of the issues that relies on fear and control”.

“Better educated” could be in the language futurist novelist George Orwell coined as “newspeak” as a term that means more like “those who parrot the new orthodoxy of grievance and redress”. Delahunty’s call for a “dialogue based on a sense of history and justice” appears to have a similar meaning.

Delahunty wrote: “This conversation will not be led by the current Prime Minister who has recently demonstrated a backwards-looking and naive grasp of New Zealand's history, but by people from all cultures whom I meet at Waitangi ever(y) year who come to listen to the dialogue from a place of respect”.

I didn’t see too much respect at Waitangi last year when I went there on February 5. That was the year the high priestess of hate, Titewhai Harawira, delayed the Prime Minister for 40 minutes while she squabbled over the right to lead him on to the marae.

Catherine Delahunty: Maori representation no threat to open democracy, New Zealand Herald, December 16, 2014.

1 comment:

paul scott said...

People like Delahunty are good news for us, she helps makes sure a Labour / Green Government is refused by voters. And the Australian communist helps also. Racism is abhorrent to middle New Zealanders who believe in equality. Yes, we could have a new conversation about how to end the racist representation in Parliament, and local bodies.