Friday, April 21, 2023

Frank Newman: The curious case of Joseph Mooney

Joseph Mooney is the National Party MP for Southland and National’s spokesperson on Treaty Negotiations. He became an MP in 2020 but has remained largely unknown until being “exposed” by Stuff this week. (Here >>>)

This left-wing media group appears to have a number of investigative reporters mining (trolling) the social media posts of those they consider of interest, which clearly includes National Party MPs and candidates. 

The scandal on this occasion was with reference to a comment the Local Government Minister had made about the “special” rights Maori have over water. 

Joseph Mooney tweeted: 

“I would suggest @Kieran_McAnulty has a read of Ko te tuarua (Article 2) of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the guarantee of tino rangatiratanga to “ki nga tangata katoa o Nu Tirani” - every single person in New Zealand,”

One assumes Stuff's reporter did not have to venture too far into their address book to find “several academics” to offer a contrary opinion.  It said... 

“The comments have been roundly dismissed by several academics including Pūkenga matua (lead academic) in Māori Laws and Philosophy at Te Wānanga o Raukawa, Carwyn Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu). He said Mooney’s statements were fundamentally incorrect and demonstrated a limited understanding of the treaty.”

...then added for good measure, 

“Jones said he was also worried about the spread of misinformation, particularly when it came from someone in a position of power.”

The cheap shots aside, the issue is really whether Article 2 of the Treaty included the 2000 or so non-Maori that lived in New Zealand at the time. (Article 2 essentially gave title – an ownership right - to those possessing property.)

The Te Ara website (here >>>) says this (emphasis added),

“Most Māori chiefs signed the Māori-language version of the treaty….A recent translation of the articles of the Māori version follows:  
The Second. The Queen of England agrees to protect the chiefs, the subtribes and all the people of New Zealand in the unqualified exercise of their chieftainship over their lands, villages and all their treasures. But on the other hand the chiefs of the Confederation and all the chiefs will sell land to the Queen at a price agreed to by the person owning it and by the person buying it (the latter being) appointed by the Queen as her purchase agent.”

This is consistent with the 1922 interpretation by Sir Apirana Ngata who translated the Maori version of the Second Article as follows (emphasis added):

"The Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes and to all the people of New Zealand the full possession of their lands, their homes and all their possessions, but the chiefs assembled and all other chiefs yield to the Queen the right to alienate such lands which the owners desire to dispose of at a price agreed upon between the owners and person or persons appointed by the Queen to purchase on her behalf".

Ngata did go on to point out inconsistencies between the English and Maori versions, with the former not referring to all other people.

At the end of the day, there is a great deal of contention about many issues regarding the meaning and intention of the Treaty. The point about whether Article Two includes the non-Maori residents at the time is of no great importance, and would be of no great significance if it were not for the apparent enthusiasm of a reporter from a left-wing publication to scrutinise the social media posts of a right-wing politician.

One would have expected the story to be yesterday’s news in less than 24 hours, but it gained legs when National Party leader Christopher Luxon responded on Radio NZ by saying, he had great confidence in Mooney but, 

“I don't think he got it right on this occasion…Our view's really clear. We delivered a tremendous amount of Treaty settlements under article two in the context of Treaty settlements we want to keep pushing forward really strongly, we want to actually close them out by 2030 where we can."

Mr Mooney must be wondering how he “did not get it right”. 

It leaves open the question of what Christopher Luxon actually does think the Treaty represents and what he believes are the obligations of present-day taxpayers to put it right.

There are many ways Christopher Luxon could have responded to the media when asked to comment. He could have said his man Mooney is an expert in Treaty matters (hence he is their spokesperson) and he has highlighted one of the many areas of debate around the treaty interpretations. 

He could have filled the remaining airtime by talking about Mr Mooney’s rags-to-riches story… his rise from a challenging childhood as one of eight children… how he was a street kid in Wellington at age 11… how he had the resilience and strength of character overcome adversity to obtain a law degree, start his own practice… and how lucky they are to have him as a member of their caucus, and so on. 

That would have turned a negative into a positive and sent a message to the left-wing media that every negative hit piece it does on the National Party will become a good news story. By appeasing the negative story, Christopher Luxon is simply setting his Party up for more of the same.   

Had Winston Peters been answering the question he would have likely not addressed the issue at all and instead condemned Stuff for yet another attempt at character assassination and poor use of NZ of Air (taxpayer) funds!

This is the third instance in recent months where Christopher Luxon has not supported (dumped on) one of his MPs. 

Maureen Pugh was sent to the naughty corner with some recommended reading about the perils of man-made global warming. Her heresy was daring to challenge James Shaw to provide evidence that cyclone Gabrielle was an extraordinary event caused by climate change.

Then National candidate Stephen Jack resigned after coming under fire for reposting a poem in 2021 comparing Ardern to Hitler, and for sharing a sexist joke. 

Christopher Luxon said he was pleased Jack was no longer a National Party candidate. High-flying National MP Erica Stanford chimed in on Morning Report, saying

"It's disrespectful. No matter what you think of Jacinda Ardern, she was our prime minister, and she deserved some respect."

I wonder what their response would have been had Stephen Jack reposted the “We’re gonna F… YOU UP” poem by Tusiata Avia.

Surely every member of the National Party caucus must now be trembling with fear that on the strength of some left-wing media hit piece, they too will be publicly castigated by their leader and the umbilical cord connecting them to the Party will be severed.  

Equally as puzzling was the response by Christopher Luxon to Labour’s recent cabinet reshuffle. 

There was much left-wing media celebration about the elevation of Willow-Jean Prime to the Cabinet for no other reason than for the first time in history women made up half the numbers. Christopher Luxon said it was great to have such diversity in the Cabinet. 

That was an unusual response for an opposition leader, though increasingly not unexpected from him. Most opposition leaders would say something along the lines that appointments to Cabinet should be based on merit…and added the general view around the Northland Electorate is that she does not meet that threshold (which is not an untrue statement).

There are still a number of question marks hanging over Christopher Luxon. 

For someone who says he is a team player, he does seem to have the propensity to sacrifice members of his team when confronted by the media. He does seem to be a follower of the global warming faith, treating those who aren’t as deniers and heretics, and in this respect, he appears comfortable embracing James Shaw. And he seems to think the Treaty is definitive when modern-day reinterpretations have made it far from so.

There are two logical reasons for these seemingly inexplicable views. 

The first is that National wants to become more appealing to the centre-left and thinks it will gain more votes than it will lose to the likes of ACT. 

The second possible reason is that Christopher Luxon is a woke leftie by nature.

Whatever the reason it does not seem to be working for National. Given Labour is, without doubt, the worst government in New Zealand’s history, National should be polling around 50%, not in the low 30s. Surely, that must be a worry to its campaign strategists - if not now, then it will be soon.


Anonymous said...

Dump Luxton now... and his deputy.

EP said...

I have thought for some time that Luxon is woke, God help us! I have noticed a few Nats with functioning brains, but they don't seem able to speak up at head office.

mudbayripper said...

With the alternate ways in which Chris Luxon, as pointed out, could easily have delt with these attacks on various National MPs.
Its becoming more likely he is actually woke.
As it seems are his deputy and the popular MP Erica Stanford.
Politics as everyone is aware, is a numbers game. Unfortunately if current polling is anywhere accurate New Zealand is in big trouble.
The way I see it, the population is made up of categories. Everyone living here who entered the education system from about the 70s on have had there world view shaped by propaganda and indoctrination. Those of us older are more likely to have a more balanced perception of reality.
A generalization I know.
Then many New Zealand citizens were educated elsewhere, but could also have woke views.
It maybe left up to the older conservatives and the rural community to vote out the socialist crazies.
Have we got the numbers. The polls suggest not.

CXH said...

One of the responsibilities of a manager is to stand up for your staff. Any bollocking should be done in private.

Luxon is coming across more and more as a useless figurehead. I wonder who was pulling his strings at Air NZ? Maybe National should find out and employ him or her to help out.

Anonymous said...

The National candidate for Wellington Central is looking interesting.
I think he may have better leadership qualities than anyone currently in line. His name is Dr.Scott Sheeran. He was profiled I think on Stuff a few days ago. Watch this space. Luxon is not cutting the mustard.

Anonymous said...

Luxon is a John key God bothering pussy…National are Pink Labour

Anonymous said...

Ironic, the invertebrate has now changed his spots on the climate issue, having been formerly the CEO of an acknowledged significant emitter. What a hypocrite, and just like what former Labour supporter, Owen Glenn once quipped about Helen Clark, you "wouldn't want to be in the trenches" with them. Politicians - very few can be trusted!

Terry Morrissey said...

Christopher Luxon and the leadership of the National Party are doing a damn fine job of losing support. The election is just waiting to be won by National, but with their present attitude and habit of dumping on their own, not only will the voters bin them but their own MPs have cause for real concern. Maybe if their leaders take a deep breath and think before opening their mouths they will not make such fools of themselves. Treat the media as an extension of the enemy until they cease to take payments and cease acting as the government's propaganda wing.

Anonymous said...

Luxon is a craven weasel and I suspect he's desperate to get his hands on the levers and that his handlers have told him that he needs to keep the media onside to achieve that, little realizing he diminishes his chances every time he toes the politically correct line. It matters not which of the main party's in power later this year for NZ is stuffed. Check out and then tell me I'm wrong.

Ken S said...

So when Luxon tells an MP "I've got your back" does that simply mean that he/she can expect a knife anytime soon? The man really is utterly useless.

*** said...

On a related issue: Is it possible to have free and fair elections with the current PIJ Fund?

Would an independent international election observer conclude that NZ elections are free and fair in the presence of PIJ Fund payments which result in such biased newspaper reporting?

Hans Biemond said...

No time for MR luxton. a sheep in sheeps clothes. waste of time

Anonymous said...

It seems the political leaders all wear native bird feather cloaks and flax skirts. Unfortunately for them the feathers look way better on the birds and the flax is dead. Get real.

Unknown said...

I think Luxon is woke (critical theory)trying to be empathetic to 'victims of colonialism' and 'climate change' and 'hate speech' so much so that he is willing to throw some very good ministers under the bus (Pugh, Mooney)if MSM attack them.
Not someone we should vote for in my opinion. He appears to have no conscience about every Nzer rather like Labour, Greens and Maori who have demonstratively been all about self service.
Peters and Seymour care about democracy and equality. If Luxon doesn't get on board then we are doomed to a 3rd world of tribalism.

Kerry Hart said...

I have been trying for months to get Luxon to state that the Treaty was never a "partnership" but he won't respond. I don't understand why his caucus isn't holding him to account for the poor performance in the polls. They don't want to lose this election.

James Y said...

I cannot believe people are so self seeking and ignorant. The anti national sentiments reflect the inability to recognise that the legacy of this administration is a deeply divided society which is racially based. I can tell you that if we do not get rid of the Labour, Greens, Maori Party conglomerate, we will soon become the South Pacific equivalent of Zimbabwe.