Wednesday, May 19, 2004

More on ignorance

The Whig wonders why I think that this survey lends weight to the idea that Brash's support on Treaty issues is built on ignorance. Simple. If a third of the population doesn't even know when the Treaty was signed, they are unlikely to be familiar with its nuances - or even its obvious features, like protection of property.

This allows Don Brash to get away with (for example) deliberately conflating the Treaty's surrender of sovereignty with a surrender of property rights:

SIMON But didn’t Maori have those property rights isn't that why they feel aggrieved they didn’t have a right then to ...

DON No on the contrary Maori surrendered sovereignty to New Zealand in 1840, I think that’s one of the fundamental points at issue here, there's a feeling that somehow Maori did not surrender sovereignty and that they should therefore still own the seabed and the foreshore. Maori surrendered sovereignty in the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 clear from the preamble of Treaty, clear from Clause 1, so basically that’s the point to establish.

(Emphasis added).

While Maori indeed surrendered sovereignty in Article 1, Article 2 guaranteed them continued possession and enjoyment of their property. Saying that they surrendered any rights they held in the foreshore and seabed with the Treaty is simply nonsense. If Brash had even a passing familiarity with the Treaty, he'd know that. So the conclusion is that he's either fundamentally ignorant of our founding document, or that he's deliberately spreading lies to advance his own political agenda. Either answer isn't good for a man who hopes to be Prime Minister.