The Polynesian people from our local region arrived first, followed by the British from half a world away. Then people came from other European countries and – in the last half-century – from all the Asian/Pacific countries. The 2013 census noted that we now have more ethnicities (213) than the UN has countries (196).
The glue that holds this polyglot of peoples together is not a common culture, but a shared national idea of what it means to be a “Kiwi”.
This vision of our nation isn’t built upon some theoretical melting-pot of brown, almond-eyed poms who can all play footy and do a haka. Instead, it relies upon a mosaic of multiple cultures continuously living and working together in an atmosphere of mutual respect and affection.
The very idea is challenging. It defies the parable of the Tower of Babel.
In 2010, Angela Merkel famously confessed that “multiculturism has failed utterly” in Europe. The US took in ‘huddled masses’ for three centuries, and prided itself on achieving the ‘American Dream’ – yet it is today racked by racial tensions.
So, are we being too ambitious? I don’t think so. But we can only succeed by putting the goal of ‘National Unity’ up in lights, and never allowing those lights to be dimmed.
We have certain advantages. We are remote from the centuries-old ethnic and religious conflicts of the Northern hemisphere. Consequently, Kiwis have long been the world’s most avid international travellers – delighting in the discovery of unfamiliar customs and cuisines around the world.
It is often said that New Zealanders have a streak of egalitarianism. This no doubt derives from the determination of its early settlers to avoid the class-consciousness which then pervaded Britain. And the opportunity that colonisation gave for ordinary Maori to shake off their centuries-long oppression by their Rangatira class. And the Hindus to escape their caste system, Chinese to avoid the stratification of Communism, etc, etc.
For many, New Zealand is a brave new world – freed from the divisive shackles of what has become known as ‘identity politics’. While the destructive Critical Race Theory has arrived on our shores, it has failed to take root. Intersectionalism is unknown outside of certain faculties in our ivory towers. We have nurtured our colour-blindness and are no longer impressed by ethnic or class bloodlines.
In the words of Martin Luther King, we don’t judge people “by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character”. We don’t care who your grandfather was, we care who you are!
But is all this now being put at risk? Are politicians being tempted by the old Machiavellian injunction to “divide and conquer”? Just recently, the new leader of the National Party, Christopher Luxon, has levelled some harsh accusations:
“The Prime Minister … leads the most divisive Government in recent memory. Renters versus landlords. Business owners versus workers. Farmers versus cities. Kiwis at home versus those stuck abroad. The vaccinated versus the unvaccinated.”Mr Luxon has struck a chord that will resonate with a great many voters. But for the life of me I cannot understand how he can possibly broach the subject of national divisiveness without even noticing that the Labour Government has launched a separatist ethnocentric revolution, using He Puapua as its blueprint.
The Race-Based State
It beggars belief that Mr Luxon could be unaware of the veto power in the new Iwi Heath Authority; or the legislated ban on voting against the creation of new Maori Seats on Councils.
Did he miss the proposed Tribal takeover of “Three Waters”; or our Conservation Estate; or the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park; or the foreshore and seabed, in so many regions?
Has nobody told him about the new history curriculum in schools; or the replacement of modern science by stone-age Maori Knowledge; or mandatory ethnic preferences in Government procurement policies; or the development of a new Tikanga common law by the Courts; or even the renaming of the country as “Aotearoa New Zealand”?
If the greenhorn Mr Luxon does eventually become aware of this Tribal-revivalist programme, will he realise that it spells the end of any hope for National Unity? That it kills the shared ideal of the tolerant colour-blind Kiwi? That our multiculturism project will be dead in the water?
Does Mr Luxon and the National Party not recognise that a separatist race policy is bound to spark decades of ongoing inter-racial (and inter-tribal) conflicts – and that the Tribes must eventually lose?
Does the National Party think there is widespread public support for Tribal chauvinism? Has it thought long and hard about the Labour Party’s reasons for keeping He Puapua secret for so long?
Does Mr Luxon really believe that New Zealand voters will passively accept a zero-consideration transfer of their long-held sovereignty to a faceless and unaccountable group of Tribal politicians and/or untaxed corporations?
The rationale for transferring national assets and power from all citizens (in a fully-accountable system) to a small subset of citizens (in an opaque system) is very hard to understand. It has never been explained.
The mainstream media are bound to support it, having accepted the Government’s shilling under the Public Interest Journalism Fund. Whether or not the PBJ is the reason, neither print nor broadcast media will ever investigate, debate or analyse the He Puapua programme.
Like Mr Luxon, they tiptoe around the outrageous confiscation of property envisaged in the Three Waters project. They implausibly plead that it is “racist” to even mention such taboo topics. Of course, they don’t really believe that and nor does anybody else.
So much for speaking truth to power.
Sometimes it is suggested that co-governance might actually be some form of affirmative action (positive discrimination) to compensate lower socio-economic Maori for being over-represented in dismal statistics such as imprisonment and unemployment. This is nonsense.
If that were the aim it would be the worst-targeted policy in history. The power and money goes to upper socio-economic Maori and there is precious little trickle-down to the under-privileged. Five minutes thought would produce policies that are much more efficient in delivering hand-ups to the aspirational or hand-outs to the needy.
Such a policy would also create very perverse incentives – more money for more crimes?
Another argument I once heard – from a teenager – was that the forefathers of “white people” (not Pasifica or Asians) had stolen the whole country from the forefathers of Maori people, so the current generations now have a moral obligation to give it all back. Words fail me!
A common trick to avoid a grown-up discussion is a weighty pronouncement that “the Treaty was (or is) a Partnership”. Well, in the first place, it clearly wasn’t. Even if you want to believe that, calling the relationship a partnership means exactly nothing.
The word games continue, with Government Departments now publicly claiming that there is something hidden in the penumbra of the word “partnership” which somehow requires by law that chunks of New Zealand sovereignty be handed over to some or all Tribes. As that is an official contention, I will have to give it closer attention in a separate article. [Link]
It now seems inescapable that this single-party Government is determined to convert New Zealand from one of the most successful multicultural societies on Earth into a bicultural experiment comprising “Maori” and “others”. And even the word “Maori” is actually code for a small and self-appointed Tribal elite who claim to speak for every Kiwi who has any Maori person amongst their ancestors.
Is this what Maori want? When were we asked? At a hui or two? A Maori referendum should be an obvious prerequisite to a devolution of power, just as it was in the case of Scotland and Wales.
And is this what “others” want? The government has gone out of its way to avoid seeking an electoral mandate for its He Puapua programme. It arrogantly assumes that a Wellington echo chamber within the chattering classes (mainly in academia and the media) know what is best for us all.
And the National party didn’t even notice.
Barry Brill OBE JP LL.M(Hons) M.ComLaw is a former MP and Minister of Energy, Petrocorp director, and chair of the Gas Council, Power NZ, ESANZ, and EMCO. He is presently the Chairman of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.
I think voters need to stop clinging to the concept of the National Party as the party of its stated values and see it for what it really has evolved into. They pretty much echo all of Labours policies even though they are supposed to be opposition. A democracy needs a strong opposition.
He Puapua and Three Waters have been in inception way before the last election. National must have been aware of it. Most of National MPs are pretty " woke". I think they agree with much of this separatist agenda.
Luxon seems to hero worship Ardern.
Let's hope the new political party of Matt King has ideals which gel with the majority of New Zealanders.
And that is why National and ACT will never get my vote. Because neither party will fix the train wreck that this and previous governments have created. I really hope their is an alternative political party waiting in the wings.
Janine ... you seem to have forgotten that Luxon led the fight against Three Waters and National is committed to repealing the legislation. As for King and I have to say I'm disappointed in him (and I say that as someone who contributed heavily to his campaign). Truth be known and he ran a ow energy campaign and paid the price against an invisible Willow-Jean Prime who trumped him. If he stands as an independent my prediction is that he will go the way of all other independents and split the vote facilitating the return of a Labour/Greens government.
Nearly everyone I know has had a guts full of te reo stuffed down our throats and ears on TV, radio, in newspapers, national and local plus signs in libraries and govt offices. David Seymour is the only politician with the balls to actually question all of the crap we are being fed so he will get my family's votes even though we were National supporters. Kiwialan.
Yes, in theory we'd all like to see a new (centre-right) political party which will better (than National) represent all our many serious concerns with the present dangerous governing outfit.
But 'new' political parties don't tend to fare very well at first. Some are still struggling at 1% or 2% even after several electoral cycles.
So what might our new party achieve in 2023? An outside chance of maybe 3-4% of the party-vote perhaps, no electorate seat, and therefore no representation in the next Parliament. Plus it would inflict a vote-hit on National. Thus benefiting Labour.
Far better in my opinion to strengthen the existing Opposition by getting Luxon to man-up and start talking plainly and openly about the real issues. We all know what they are.
A Luxon-Seymour combination is already looming as a faint possibility, if the polls are any guide. Seymour's already saying all the right things; all it needs is for Luxon to similarly step up. His timid and touchy-feely approach so far, hasn't particularly impressed me.
But I think circle the horses, not thin out the ranks. Consolidate, don't dilute.
Division in nz!Most commentators and politicians are in denial.They talk as if there is No division, it is only the minority, eg anti vaxers. They will not talk of 3 waters/he puapua/seperate maori health system/seperate court system/farmers groundswell protest/turning the english language into an uneducated pigeon language/the maori activists jackson-mahuta etc wanting their 15% of 1/8th -1/4qtr and 1/2 cast maori if they still exist,to have co-governance,in a so called partnership.What is going to happen in the future when maori are diluted to 10%?Are we still going to have this maori being ripped of by the crown,and on the take all the time.
To explain what I meant about Luxon, I think he has to do more than say "we are a divided country". That's a good start, but he needs to be dispensing with the trendy wokeness and instead be thumping the table a bit and saying precisely how and why that has come to be the case, how disastrous it is for NZ's future, and what we need to do about it.
Nowhere in his two recent speeches has there been any hint that he really understands the seething anger many of us feel or is prepared to challenge and boldly speak out on what is fast becoming (under Labour) an ethnic-flavoured and identity-driven status quo - which the majority of voters did certainly NOT vote for in 2017 or 2020.
I have ex-National relatives who swung to Labour last time and who still think Jacinda is "wonderful" and "doing a good job" etc. That has to change - those voters have to swing back to National (or ACT) in 2023 if the centre-right is to have any chance.
The polls already have National in the 30s. That's a lot better place to start from than placing bets on a fledgling new party. If Luxon becomes the man to confront and vocalise the real issues, then that National percentage will rise and the centre-right will be real contenders in 2023.
I believe there is still a solid core of support for National. The voters swung in 2020 because of (a)Covid, and (b) National's own mismanagements. There's no reason - given all Labour's ineptitude and deception and failure to deliver - why National can't surge back, but it would help its prospects if its leader would more forcibly articulate the real issues.
If you want to know where the National Party's vision is going read their website, its more of the rubbish we have had from them for the last 30 years, not too different from Labor!
The world is on the edge of war and we don't have an Air-force, Navy and Fiji's army is larger and better equipped than ours! And remember that Nationals Chris Finlayson, the unelected Key Governments Attorney General, started the 3 waters and associated crap he left us with.
This will be the first time I vote for ACT - not the sherry-sippers in National.
Ross. I believe Matt King lost by 163 votes. I would attribute that to the huge swing to Labour all over the country. My own electorate MP Todd Muller had his majority slashed by 10,000. BOP would normally be considered a safe " blue " seat. Muller won't be able to put a foot wrong next time especially as many will prefer to vote for ACT. Where does that leave us then? Labour could come through here as well. They weren't far behind last time.
I thus conclude we need to follow our hearts and vote for the candidate we think has the best qualities to restore our democracy. For me its not Luxon but for you it probably is.
Having been a National Party voter for most of my life, I now see the futility of maintaining that support. We now have "Natbour". There is no discernible difference between these elite politicians who forget that they are the servants of the people, paid by the taxpayers of NZ. There needs to be a big shakeup in NZ politiocs and unless National stands for something, they will continue to fall for anything.
I like what gregd has to say. We have had decades for the two main parties# to unjoin at the hip. Didn’t happen. Now is the time for new vision, new enthusiasm, new morality for a new political party to step up to the plate and announce that it will honestly represent New Zealanders. Announce that its election promises are indeed pledges. I have personally expressed my small person wishes to Judith Collin’s and to Chris Luxon without acknowledgement. That’s OK, I’m just me, a small person. But it worries me that even though small people like me might outnumber the special interest groups like the 1% who manage the votes of the 15% who claim some Maori heritage, we are not heeded. I am obliged to conclude that we are not heeded because we do not make our wishes felt. We continue to vote National or Labour (different names for the same team). Time for a big change: for the (first?) time in our lives we need to NOT VOTE FOR EITHER. But vote we must.
I think that any power or ownership shifted to 'Maori' has the fundamental problem that still exists, of a tribal view of the world. Tribes have had a less than ideal history of co-operating with each other I believe, and any concept of co-governance between multiple tribal interests should be treated with caution for all parties involved. Old wounds have not yet been healed for many.
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