Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Barrie Davis: A Fairytale of New Zealand

We have been denied a referendum on the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi next year because the Prime Minister is afraid some radical Maoris will have a hikoi. It seems likely that the majority of people would vote in favour of ACT leader David Seymour’s proposed legislation, which would remove race based privileges for Maoris and move us closer to equal voting power for our elections. We are, however, allowed to have a debate next year about Seymour’s proposed principles.  

The Treaty of Waitangi Act set up the Waitangi Tribunal in 1975 to consider Maori claims of prejudice arising from acts of the Crown that were inconsistent with the ‘principles’ of the Treaty of Waitangi. The principles are supposedly derived from the articles of the actual Treaty of 1840. However, the principles have not been specified, so the Tribunal assumed the role of identifying them. The Tribunal is a commission of enquiry, so the interpretations of the Treaty by the Tribunal are not law unless the Government writes them into legislation, which the previous Labour government was doing prior to the election. 

A comprehensive explanation and analysis of the facts, laws and misconceptions resulting from this process is given in The Treaty Facts by Clive Boonham, a retired Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, here. I expect it will be an essential source for the impending debate. 

Of course laws, that is to say rules, are an essential part of our democratic constitution. But they are not necessarily accurate or just, and Boonham includes his own views on the relationship of the Treaty with the laws of New Zealand. It is often not what law considers, but what law leaves out that is a problem. Take the Maori parliamentary seats, for example, and compare that arrangement with, say, London with a population of 8 million which is now less than half indigenous British. It would be howled down as racist if it were proposed to have exclusive indigenous seats on the Greater London Council, yet that is the arrangement we have here. The salient difference is the colour of the indigenous skin. Irrespective of the legality of the Maori seats, they are not consistent with what is internationally unacceptable. We should want to consider how to reconcile these apparently opposing perspectives in our debate. 

History is another aspect to consider. For example, Boonham points out that the Treaty was between the British Crown and Maori chiefs and so the new colony of New Zealand subsequently became a Dominion of the British Empire. In 1931, the British Parliament passed the Statute of Westminster, which meant that the Crowns in each of the Dominions became legally distinct entities. So New Zealand’s new ruler was the New Zealand Crown as a separate legal entity to the British Crown, even though they were embodied in the same Monarch. So why has the New Zealand Parliament agreed to compensate Maori iwis for supposed breaches by the British Crown, going back to 1840, of principles of the Treaty of Waitangi that were not conjectured until the 1975 and remain unspecified? 

Hence there are other dimensions to the Treaty issue in addition to law. Of course the media mentions issues within those dimensions, but it seems to me that the mainstream media is biased to the Left which, with respect of the Treaty, means biased towards the Maoris. The tactic they mostly use is to exclude points that do not suit their purpose and to keep repeating those that do. As a consequence, we have become conditioned to some degree. We need to identify the missing information and include it in our debate. Here I offer some points that have occurred to me along with my opinion on those points. Feel free to disagree with my points or add your own. 

An often used claim is that the Maoris have been disadvantaged by Europeans in some way. Maoris must therefore be compensated for these ‘wrongs’. But is this true? Did the Europeans really somehow wrong the Maoris? 

A couple of statistics suggest not. It is often mentioned that Maoris presently have a lower life expectancy than Europeans. But that can also be considered historically. Maori life expectancy has more than doubled since the time of the Treaty and that is almost certainly due to the good that Europeans brought to New Zealand, such as medical science. Everything the Maoris have today, from the food they eat, the clothes they wear and the houses they live in, to the devices they thumb, the SUVs they drive and the internationally used language they speak and can now write, they have because Europeans came to New Zealand. As a consequence, there were about 100,000 Maoris at the time of the Treaty and about 800,000 part-Maoris now. The fact is, the Maoris flourished under colonialism, as did the colonists and now the Islanders and Asians. 

That does not entail that we should ignore the fact that Maoris have a lower life expectancy than Europeans. However, discussions on this issue disregard the possibility that it is at least in part because of poorer health choices by Maoris, including drinking, smoking, and poor diet leading to obesity. Instead, the state is held responsible for equity of outcome, in this case life expectancy, and excluded is the role of individual responsibility. Yet people are less likely to make good choices if they are led to believe they are not responsible for their own behaviour. So I propose a broad principle: let the state have collective responsibility for equal opportunity and the individual have responsibility for equity of outcome. It is then up to the individual to realize the equally available opportunity. 

Nevertheless, to the degree that we all have an individual responsibility, the Maoris as a group do less well at fulfilling that responsibility than Europeans, as given by statistics for health for example. The cause of that difference may be due to nature or nurture; that is, to genetics or environment which is largely cultural. In her 2021 book, The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality, academic Kathryn Paige Harden says there is now sufficient evidence, following two decades of genome sequencing studies, to show that genetics is important. She says that both genetics and culture determine income, educational attainment, cognitive performance, well being and other outcomes, and that these things are heritable. Studies of IQ tests also identify race differences in intelligence. Some relevant average IQs are, North East Asians 102, Europeans 99, Maoris 90 and Islanders 85. (Richard Lynn, Race Differences in Intelligence, 2015) Harden (p. 16-7) says, “I also believe that intelligence tests measure an aspect of a person’s psychology that is relevant for their success in contemporary educational systems and labor markets”. 

Harden suggests, “One approach is to sweep genetic research under the rug, ignoring a large and remarkably consistent body of scientific knowledge, lest the eugenics genie be let out of the bottle.” But she further says that is a mistake and claiming to “not see race” doesn’t make racism go away. She argues that it is necessary to understand both cultural and genetic differences to improve opportunity with appropriate programs. Yet here in New Zealand we ignore that the Maoris were overwhelmed by a more developed culture for fear of being called racist (just as we ignore the Maori genocide of the Morioris). That will result in a one-sided and hence errant debate. 

I’m committed to the idea of democracy despite its problems because, as Churchill pointed out, it is better than the other things we have tried. For democracy to work effectively, it is necessary that the voters are properly informed. By not publishing issues such as those above, the mainstream media is lying by omission. We have also been deceived as the MSM has been paid tax payer money via NZ on Air to promote unspecified ‘principles’ of the Treaty that we have not had the opportunity to consider and vote on. Consequently, our democracy is significantly compromised and so also is the effectiveness of our government and the efficiency of our country. 

I am concerned that New Zealand will end up somewhere between indigenous governed Samoa, half the population of which has migrated to New Zealand to participate the pakeha taonga, and South Africa, which suffers water and electricity shortages brought about by the ineffective indigenous ANC Government. We are now forecast to have the same shortages as our infrastructure comes to the end of its economic life and because of increasing population due to net migration increase. While we are not even able to maintain our existing infrastructure, including roads, water and power, we nevertheless vilify the colonists who originally built it. Instead of praising the colonists for building one of the best countries in the world for us to live in, we blame the colonists for purported unsubstantiated wrongs to the Maoris. 

Another example is the often mentioned complaint that Maoris had their language taken from them by European colonists. However, Wiremu Parker says in a chapter essay “The Substance that Remains” (in Wards, Thirteen Facets, 1978, p. 187): 

Maori Language 

Those who say that the suppression of Maori culture in schools was a deliberate pakeha device to do away with Maori culture would be well advised to do a little research. The truth is that well-intentioned, but as we now know misguided, Maoris and pakehas were convinced that they were acting in the best interests of the Maori people. Mr Takamoana, one of the first newly elected Maori members of Parliament said in Parliament in 1871 ‘that the whole of the Maoris in this Island request that the Government should give instruction that the Maoris should be taught in English only.’9 Another petition by Renata Kawepo and 790 others, and also one from Piri Ropata and 200 others asked for every endeavour to have schools established throughout the country so that Maori children could learn the English language. 

As early as 1876 a petition to Parliament from We Te Hakiro and 316 others, asked that all children of two years of age, when just able to speak, should be taught the English language, so that their first language should be English. The petition also asked that not a word of Maori be allowed to be spoken in the school, and that the schoolmaster, his wife, and children be altogether ignorant of the Maori language. 

For years the leaders of the Young Maori Party preached up and down the country what both A. T. Ngata and Dr Maui Pomare believed that ‘the first subject in order of priority in the school curriculum was English, the second most important subject was English, the third most important subject was English and then arithmetic and other subjects.’ 

Furthermore, Peter Fraser, the Minister of Education, wrote to Sir Apirana Ngata in 1936 asking him to “let me know what your people would expect of our school system.” Ngata replied: “the question you pose is one that I have raised with my people of the Tairawhiti [Eastern electorate] and the reply has always been the same – we send our children to school to learn the ways of the Pakeha.” 

Whereas the Maoris are still struggling with that despite being immersed in it in their own country, the Chinese quickly assimilated European science and technology. That implies an intrinsic difference between Maoris and Chinese. Note the higher average IQ of NE Asians given above. 

The Government via the mainstream media has been continuously feeding us this sort of stuff for decades now until we have largely come to believe it. It is then used as the basis of Maori grievance and state compensations. Packaged as the He Puapua report, which was hidden from us until after the 2020 election, it was subsequently being frantically written into legislation until the next recent election when we unsurprisingly voted to be rid of it.  

I’m not asking that you necessarily agree with me. Please make your own conclusions. However, I do ask that, as best you can, when making your argument, to base it on facts associated by logical links. That’s not as easy as it sounds, even Einstein could get it wrong and did.  

Bearing in mind that the keyboard is mightier than the haka, I hope that New Zealanders will use the Referendum debate to identify all of the significant issues, to get all the relevant facts on the table and to satisfy ourselves with a rational argument leading to a workable arrangement for our country, for now and the future. We need input from the pundits, the academics and the politicians; and we should write letters to the editor as well as to our politicians to make points and solicit comments. I believe that the outcome of this debate will determine the viability of our country going forward. It is not enough to simply leave it to ACT and NZ First; they need our input, encouragement and support. Your country needs you.  

Happy Christmas! 

Dr Barrie Davis is a retired telecommunications engineer, holds a PhD in the psychology of Christian beliefs, and can often be found gnashing his teeth reading The Post outside Floyd’s cafe at Island Bay


Anonymous said...

You are so right about Māori recognising the need to become fluent English speakers. This generation can’t seem to grasp that thinking. Unfortunately “blame everyone else for your inadequacies” is the mantra, and if you’re lucky a handsome payout will materialise.

Anonymous said...

Our Prime Minister needs to have crystal clear clarity in his head 24/7 if he is to breathe democratic life back into this country.

He seems to think that if he speaks te reo and speaks nicely to the media they will cut him some slack.....NO Prime Minister, they won't!!!!

The game is on, either democracy wins OR (part) Maori racism wins?

Which is it?

Do you want equality/democracy, in this country – OR APARTHEID?

robert Arthur said...

Has anyone ever produced/published a thesis on the probable course/s of development of the Land of the Long White Cloud without colonisation? Without the ability to acquire land and the slight associated security, even the devoted missionaries would likely have given the place a miss. Is there any country which can be taken as a model?

Allan said...

The three coalition partners were elected into govt. because the electorate were happy with what they promised to do. If they fail to deliver I think they will suffer badly in 2026.