The system usually works well for them. The Middlers keep to themselves, too busy with the day-to-day.
The problem arises when the people are actually allowed a voice. Referendums must be so frustrating to those who think “they know what’s good for us”.
Thanks to the binding nature of a couple of recent ones, New Zealand rejected a tea-towel flag and the New Plymouth Council won’t have race-based wards. If only citizen-initiated referendums didn’t have to jump so many hurdles and had the same binding status. The country might then get a few other things right.
Let’s Hear from Middle MaoriAnother group we don’t hear much from are ‘Maori’. We certainly hear them referenced by those who want unquestioned control over government, natural resources and taxpayer funds, but it is hard to know who (other than themselves) these articulate and manipulative spokespeople actually represent.
Herald columnist, John Roughan, recently railed against Middle New Zealand for not getting with the programme and accepting that ‘Maori’ should be granted easy access to government power and control. So again I ask, who are these ‘Maori’ who are entitled to unearned privilege and want to be separated out from the rest of us?
In photos from the latest family wedding, she’s fair and beautiful, he’s dark and handsome. So do they want to be separated within our very blended country? Their marriage suggests not.
We are bombarded with what the politically devious, the self-serving and the disaffected think, but is it possible that Middle Maori could want and believe much the same as other Kiwis?
Mix of World ViewsIn New Zealand, ethnic-based differences are less obvious than economic ones. Our many skins tones mix and mingle. People classified as Maori (by themselves or others) range widely − from very dark brown to red haired and blued eyed! There are those who work hard, those who never lift a finger. There are those who help their families, their communities and New Zealand to prosper. Then there are others who prefer to obstruct, intimidate and bully. Some want to embrace opportunities to create regional jobs; others resist any change or cooperation.
Yet we’re constantly told that ‘Maori’ have a superior world view to the rest of us and are more entitled. Sure, we could just take this as gospel (which it’s fast becoming), but such a mantra can be difficult to fathom.
Is the superior world view that of the guy throwing litter from a car, or of the bloke claiming to have a guardianship role over the environment? Is it that of a parent who neglects or abuses a child, or that of the dad coaching his kid’s sports team?
And are the world views of New Zealanders volunteering to plant trees, deal to possums, save Kiwis or provide community services any less valuable because they have no Maori blood?
There are all sorts in our country and while our politicians, bureaucrats and journalists only listen to the noisy activists, they may just be missing out on what the people in the middle really think.
Term Limits & ReferendaPeople in the middle tend to be the steady voice of practical reason – those who keep a country functioning and growing good future citizens. They know how things work and what goes on in real life. They’re not so easily persuaded by the latest trends and propaganda, being more interested in what people do than what they say. If only, the politicians, bureaucrats and journalists would listen to them and work in their best interests – rather than ride roughshod over them.
Perhaps term limits would facilitate this. Imagine if all our politicians and bureaucrats had to give up their day jobs after so many years at the trough. What a great leveller that would be! They could hit the streets, get an ordinary job and live on an ordinary income – anything that helps them reconnect.
More binding referendums on really important matters might help too. How about the fundamental issue of who should control water? Or whether investors should be able to create city housing crises? And whether all references to race and culture should be removed from the statute books?
If this could be achieved, we might well start living in a true democracy, where every person is equal to his/her neighbour.