Christopher Luxon was interviewed on TVOne’s Q & A programme on Sunday and was asked about The Treaty of Waitangi and Maori governance. His statements were a mix of strongly supporting Maori and recognising their “special place as Tangata Whenua” in New Zealand but then dampening down talk of co-governance.
He was asked what tino rangatiratanga meant to him in the context of The Treaty. After saying that he wasn’t an expert on The Treaty and almost prostrating himself in front of Jack Tame, who he said was “far more culturally fluent and literate” than he was, he stated that “it means partnership”.
That will likely be a disappointment to a great deal of readers on this website who will doubtless have read many articles clearly demonstrating the absence of the term or notion of partnership in the Treaty and the legal impossibility of a partnership between a sovereign and his/her subjects.
Chris also stated that “Maori have authority over their taonga, their treasure and their land” Seems reasonable at first but Maori activists don’t know the meaning of reason and as we’ve already seen they can justify any argument to fit Chris’s statement above.
As only one example, plants and animals, both native and exotic, can be declared taonga, along with all the intellectual property from all the research on them, resulting in ownership rights to new inventions or products across a whole raft of economic sectors that Maori contributed absolutely nothing to develop.
As for land, it really doesn’t matter whether Maori have a Certificate of Title anymore. They just declare tikanga and, after a hearing in front of a culturally appropriate judge, the land belongs to them again.
He went on to say “Maori for Maori solutions, that’s great” and that he was “incredibly open-minded” to that style of governance. Jack eagerly suggested that the only way Maori problems could be fixed was if Maori fixed them themselves but be funded by everyone else to do it.
He then gave the vaccination rollout as a perfect example of that. Chris couldn’t agree more with him, despite the fact that Maori are still lagging behind in pretty much every area of the country on vax rates.
Jack then pressed Chris on the Maori Health Authority and asked him if he thought it was racist. Chris said he thought it was “separatist” but refused to answer the racism question. He believed in needs-based services rather than race-based and that we should “always come through the lens of need rather than ethnicity”
So, a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand he recognised a partnership between Maori and non-Maori but rejected co-governance and stated “I want to see us work as one country…. equal”
Chris has tried for the middle ground. He wants to appease the Maori radicals, the woke establishment and the left-wing media by making all the right noises about Maori rights as the indigenous people of New Zealand (as many know a good argument can be made to negate that claim) and yet he wants us all to be equal and live in harmony under one system that’s needs-based.
Chris has got a huge challenge on his hands with a position like that. Appeasing the woke brigade DOES NOT WORK!! We’ve seen that over the last decade or so. Give in to them and they simply want more.
Before Chris was made National leader I had concerns about his “wokeness”. Corporate high flyer and leader of Air New Zealand who made all the right cultural noises.
The Q & A interview has not allayed my fears and I suspect that National may carry on trying to pretend that we can all be equal whilst saying that one racial group is much more special than the rest.
Good luck with that!
Derek Mackie is a geologist with a keen interest in current affairs.