Friday, December 10, 2021

Michael Bassett: Another Maori Power Grab

Recently we saw how the government’s proposed health structural reforms have little to do with improving health care for all New Zealanders. They are essentially a power grab by Maori who will control their own health authority and effectively be given veto rights over the health structure for everyone else. 

Seventeen percent of the population will ultimately control the health of the other 83% of us. 

The recent interim report into the Future of Local Government: Arewa ake te Kaupapa comes out of the same mould. Fifty-nine pages of flatulent phrases, portentous utterances, and false assertions about the Treaty, lead the reader eventually to the real purpose of the report: more power for Maori. This time local government is to be restructured to “create conditions for shared prosperity and wellbeing” for Maori. Once more it is Nanaia Mahuta, Jacinda Ardern’s in-house Rasputin, who is driving the power grab.

Why a need for local government change right now? You might well ask. In 1989 the Fourth Labour Government reduced 817 small units of local and special purpose government to a more realistic set numbering 78 today. In 2002 the Fifth Labour Government fine-tuned some of the legislative details and requirements. One struggles through this interim report to discover why the Sixth Labour Government needs more changes. In thirty pages of platitudes, interspersed with the occasional untranslated Maori word, the authors argue that current local authorities aren’t contributing enough towards the “wellbeing of their communities” and that prosperity isn’t being “shared equitably among New Zealand communities”, that is, Maori. We are told that major – but as yet largely unspecified - changes are needed to our local authorities’ structures and powers.

It’s not until page 33 that more is revealed. Bulls’ wool about the Treaty of Waitangi being a “partnership” is wheeled out yet again. As usual these days, the report fails to acknowledge Article 1 of the Treaty where the chiefs gave “absolutely to the Queen for ever the complete government over their land”. These days the Treaty is said to contain obligations that were never in the document. Disconcertingly, the hapless writers of this “interim report” tell us that in recent years Maori have been doing well under existing legislation, settling historical claims and increasing their representation in local government. Which immediately raises the question: why fix it if it ain’t broke? Because, we are told, “current statutory and institutional arrangements do not provide for adequate Maori representation or input into decision-making, or for sufficient protection of Maori rights, interests, and wellbeing”. The same could be said of course about Pacific Islanders’ interests, and those of Asians who now number as many amongst the Kiwi population as Maori. But Mahuta and her carefully chosen review panel of Jim Palmer, Penny Hulse, Gael Surgenor, Antoine Coffin and Brendan Boyle seem not to care a fig about any of them.

The problem with the current local government scene, we are told on page 37, is that Iwi representatives and Maori are unable to form “effective partnerships” with councils because councillors and staff “lack the necessary cultural competence, or lack understanding of Te Tiriti and New Zealand history”. As one who sat for a decade on the Waitangi Tribunal and who knows a bit about New Zealand history, I certainly have a better handle on both the Treaty and our country’s history than the average Maori, many of whom, sadly, are prone to make up the Treaty and claims about it as they go along. This report is just another example, and it suggests a lamentable lack of knowledge by its authors.

The underlying problem with this report is that if one believes in democracy, a key element of which is one person, one vote, Maori with only 17% of the population can’t conjure up a majority to run every aspect of New Zealand life. And even if they could, they can never produce equal outcomes in life for everyone. People behave differently; some are careful with their bodies, others are careless. Some smoke and drink too much, or engage with drugs or other risky behaviour. Luck doesn’t favour everyone; besides, DNA in our make-up can vary enormously. No change to the health or local government systems can guarantee equal outcomes for Maori, or for anyone else. Changes to personal behaviour, on the other hand, could assist. The authors of this report would have more success improving outcomes for Maori if they could engineer that!

Why is the Ardern government rushing ill thought-through, racially-charged legislation? Rasputin understands this better than most. With both the Labour caucus and the cabinet currently over-represented with Maori, plus Labour’s unprecedented MMP parliamentary majority that the polls tell us isn’t going to last, Nanaia has convinced her colleagues to bring forward all their racist legislation while there is still time. She and they know enough about politics to realise that a National Party in government has nearly always been wet, and is unlikely to wind anything back. Nanaia is urging her colleagues to legislate as soon as possible. Try to give 17% of Kiwis the powers of 51% because of their ancestry, and they will run the country for ever. The pitifully weak Labour caucus will be driven like blind sheep into the lobbies to vote for this pernicious nonsense.

Why are the rest of us so slow to understand this deliberate racism? This is where the Ardern Government’s most cunning sleight of hand assists them. The so-called Public Interest Journalism Fund that channels taxpayer money to newspapers up until the 2023 election so long as the recipients play ball means that the racist health legislation, and now the proposed local government reform, don’t get a public airing. The New Zealand Herald has become the next best thing to a mouthpiece for this Labour ministry, ignoring difficult, racially-charged issues that might embarrass its paymasters.

By 2023 we could be living in a New Zealand with a permanent racial divide embedded in its governance. Meanwhile, the Maori Party seems to be lining up to cut a deal with Luxon’s National Party in the way that it did with John Key’s government, hoping this time to lock the racial divide into New Zealanders’ lives.

Historian Michael Bassett, a Minister in the Fourth Labour Government, blogs HERE.


Janine said...

" Why are the rest of us so slow to understand this deliberate racism?".

We understand it all right. The problem is does Chris Luxon, does David Seymour?

Unfortunately we cannot solve this problem unless we have a political party to vote for who pledges to repeal all this race based legislation. Maybe the opposition parties don't see it as we do? They haven't spoken out forcefully so far.

A new party who promised to repeal all race based legislation would garner many votes. They need to be sincere and actually believe in a different path forward though. It shouldn't just be a vote buying exercise as that gets New Zealand nowhere.

Labour is no longer a party of the workers. National is no longer a party for farmers, free enterprise and small business owners.

DeeM said...

No doubt about it. NZ politics is in a very bad way. Apart from ACT, which is the only major party to openly espouse governing for everyone and specifically not by race, the rest have swallowed the Maori radical narrative of partnership and all the nonsensical claims that go with it.
Mr Luxon is a great example of that. Even if we get a National/ACT government in 2023 - and that will be a damn sight better than the bunch of ideological, woke nutters that are currently trying to run the country - the Nats will be too lame to do much, if anything about all the racist policies that Mahuta & Co have enacted.
All the looney left have to do is bide their time then pick up again when a majority of the NZ voters forget what a balls-up they made last time and give them another go.

Anonymous said...


Kiwialan said...

Since 1987 when one judge's personal interpretation of the treaty principles was grasped by the radicals our Country has been racially divided. The tribal elite with their snouts in the forever replenished treaty trough will make sure it never changes. The apologetic woke academic white lefties will forever be brainwashing future generations to beg forgiveness and open their wallets. Kiwialan.

Sue & Karl said...

Imagine if another country, say China, came and took everybody on your streets’ house and sections, and left you all living in your car? Imagine how angry you would be, and how long it would take for you and your family to get over that, if you even get the chance to. And imagine fighting amongst yourselves for what was left over, and all the social problems that result from losing hope and dignity. And generation after generation slowly your community is affected by that, until finally someone says actually that shouldn’t have happened to you

Hone said...

I notice the increase in the Maori population lately, from around 13% to 15%, now here is Bassett using 17%. Because the % gives the impression of how important a group is in the bigger picture, we should get this right. There are two basic facts that should be established before debating the culture war. Firstly what is a Maori. If it is every one who is reputed to have a Maori ancestor, then it is a false reflection of people's culture choices. For example in my family there are 26 who have a Maori ancestor, yet none identify as Maori, do not want to be represented by iwi racist leaders, but probably form part of Bassett's 17%.we don't want to be lumped in with those people. The second fact to be established, once the definition of a Maori is worked out (it should be those who volunteer to be identified as Maori) what is the true number of those people. Currently, forms which require ethnicity to be entered are scewed to select for Maori, regardless of what you identify as. For example in filling out a death certificate recently I had to identify the deceased as Maori even though she was very strongly against being identified as such. Her death statistics and health details will be useful to promote the victim view of "Maori". Dr Bassett, please investigate this, get the true number of the victims of colonial oppression, so that you exclude the large number of people who are grouped in the Maori statistics, but don't identify as Maori. I suspect your 17% will reduce to less than 10%