Monday, November 27, 2023

David Farrar: Luxon is absolutely right

1 News reports:

Christopher Luxon says he was told by some Kiwis on the campaign trail they “didn't know” the difference between Waka Kotahi, Te Pūkenga and Te Whatu Ora.

Speaking to Breakfast, the incoming prime minister said having English first on government agencies will “make sure” people “understand” what agencies are and what they do.

“For some of us, it's quite straight forward, but for many New Zealanders, they didn't understand that.”

Luxon said if people “can't understand” their government agency, let alone hold them accountable, that is a “big problem”.

The media tone is sceptical of the claim, but this probably more reflects how out of touch much of the media is. Over three months I polled 1,000 NZers on whether they knew the English name of various government agencies, using their Te Reo name. I published the results on my Patreon in August, and reproduce it here now:

“At the suggestion of a subscriber curia in June, July and August has asked 1,000 New Zealanders if they know the English name of various government agencies in Te Reo. We now have results for six agencies:
  1. Manatū Hauora, ministry of Health: 8.1%
  2. Te Manatū Waka, Ministry of Transport: 7.7%
  3. Te Putea Matua, reserve bank of New Zealand: 5.7%
  4. Te Pou Hauora Tūmatanui, Public Health Agency: 4.6%
  5. Waka Kotahi, NZ Transport Agency: 50.1%
  6. Te Aka Whai Ora, Maori Health Authority: 11.1%
This reinforces to me how insulting it it to the public for media or the agencies to only use the Te Reo names. Taxpayers should not have to google an agency to know what it is.

These results are not at all an argument against government agencies having a Te Reo name. I personally think it is a good thing for agencies to have names in both English and Te Reo.

But again what it shows is that if the agency, or media, only refer to themselves using their Te Reo name, then most New Zealanders do not know what agency is being referred to, and hence they are deliberately making it harder for citizens and residents to access their services or make sense of the story.

A good example is this recent press release from the Reserve Bank:

Today Te Tai Ōhanga, Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga and Te Pūtea Matua are publishing a joint paper that provides an assessment of the key drivers of rents in New Zealand.

By deliberately excluding the names in English, they are producing a media release that almost no recipient will know what they are referring to.

It's an obsession that is elitist and patronising. It shouldn't actually need a coalition agreement to instruct government agencies to not deliberately be unhelpful to the public.

David Farrar runs Curia Market Research, a specialist opinion polling and research agency, and the popular Kiwiblog where this article was sourced. He previously worked in the Parliament for eight years, serving two National Party Prime Ministers and three Opposition Leaders.


Anonymous said...

If Labour really believed in the Maori language, they would have used it for electionering. Despite Labours incompetence, labour did realise if Maori was used most of their supporter's would not understand their message. Say no more. Peter

Robert Arthur said...

I am astonished that so many knew the names. Must have been an uncommonly well informed section of the public. I could not guess some even given the name.I suspect a subusban street corner survey would elicit lower figures.
I recently ran a list of woke and current words past associates and many were a mystery. Today many neither read fully a newspaper or follow websites.
It is all suposed to help maori but those most in need are effectively more disconnected than ever.

DeeM said...

Look, if you want both the English and Te reo names of departments, then being strictly proportional, the ENGLISH name should be 83%/17%, or 5 times bigger than the Maori name.
Simple and fair!

Anonymous said...

Bet if you had asked what the Moari names were for the Govt Depts you would have got much lower %!

Robert Arthur said...

Fortunately the bilingual road signs now certain to go. But what an incredible waset of money. The iwi/maori expert consultation fees, including internal, would be of great interest assuming someone honestly kept track of. Presumably it had begun to dawn on Labour that the majority public are fed up with te reo twaddle and maori demands and hence little emphasis in the campaign.

Anonymous said...

For the new Internal Affairs Minister posted on Brooke van Velden’s FB page:

I note that one of the Coalition’s agreed policy commitments is to legislating the English language as an official language, with all Government Departments required to maintain their primary name in English, except for those specifically related to Māori.

Since New Zealanders were never asked—nor did they ever consent to—the Maorification of their public service, all Government Departments (and indeed any media or other organisation funded in whole or part by central or local government) other than those specifically relating to Māori, must be instructed to:

(1) communicate internally and outside the organisation solely in English (no more ‘Tena koe’ and ‘Naku noa’);

(2) cease conducting ‘Treaty [indoctrination] Workshops’ and marae visits using taxpayers’ money and forcing staff to attend;

(3) cease using taxpayers’ money for staff to attend Te Reo courses and to pay staff bonuses on the basis of having attended such a course; and

(4) in line with the Coalition Government’s commitment in the absence of a referendum not to change the official name of our country, to cease referring to our country as the ‘never existed’ Aotearoa.

And if communicating with the New Zealand public in our common language, English, is so important, how much more so in communicating with foreigners?

Since New Zealanders were never asked—and nor did they ever consent to—the Maorification of their passports, all fresh passports issued should be solely in the English language.

English is the Lingua Franca of the international community.

There is absolutely no reason—other than woke bureaucratic public virtue signalling and moral preening— for the brown supremacist part-Māori pidgin hobby language in which <4% of New Zealanders can carry out an everyday conversation and in which 90% of the words in current usage are transliterations from English—to appear on a NZ passport.

Since the NZ public was never consulted on whether they wanted the pidgin hobby language as an official language, there should be a belated binding public referendum on its continued official status.

I would appreciate your point-by-point engagement with these matters, either on this forum below, or by PM.

Anonymous said...

David, great work. We thank you. At last, a bit of common sense appears to be creeping back into this country from the bs and lunacy of the last 6 years. Long may it continue. Please keep up your fantastic work, knowing that nothing annoys the left lunitics more than common sense coupled with facts and the truth.

Anonymous said...

It is always the responsibility of the communicator to ensure the communicatee understands the message. Otherwise the communicatee will simply ignore the message.