Saturday, May 28, 2005

State racism

Winston Peters launched NZFirst's immigration policy at a Grey Power meeting on Friday - and it has already attracted strong condemnation. An idea of the content can be gained by looking at the audience - as Scoop noted, there wasn't a brown (or yellow) face among them, and obviously no-one under 60. These people represented New Zealand's past, not its future.

The central theme of the policy is "protecting NZ's borders" - but what do they want to be protected against? Not criminals or people who are actually dangerous - despite their well-publicised failures, the NZ Immigration Service does a good enough job of that now. They want to protect against difference. They want to protect against a New Zealand that looks and sounds different from the little whites-only homeland they grew up in in the 40's and 50's.

This is an explicitly racist project, and Winston isn't too afraid about saying so, highlighting the projected increase in the asian population over the next 15 years and saying "we actually have a choice" - that is, a choice over the average skin colour of New Zealand, which is, apparantly, "a matter of national security". Frankly, this is the sort of shit you'd expect from the losers in the National Front, not from the leader of a supposedly "mainstream" political party.

Winston's response to this "threat" is outright state racism - closing the doors on people of one skin colour while opening them for others, setting up "flying squads" staffed by "patriots" to target those who are different and double-check whether they "belong" (on the basis that not being white is a sign of fraud), and fingerprinting, retina-scanning and DNA-testing newcomers to make sure they know they are unwelcome. Others have already noted the parallels with Nazi Germany, and they are apt. It's not genocide, but there's more than a whiff of "racial purity" about it, built on an idea of "New Zealander" which excludes anyone whose ancestors didn't arrive from Britain. And "New Zealand is for New Zealanders" sounds an awful lot like "Germany for the Germans". Unfortunately, judging from the enthusiastic response, it seems that an awful lot of our pensioners would be quite happy with that. Somehow, I think that its not our immigrants, but our elderly who do not share our core values...


The old are a powerful and growing (at a rapid rate) voting block. If you call them all disgusing and throw them to peters he wont care since they are enough to guarantee Peters a seat in the next government and maybe the next and the next.

Posted by Genius : 5/28/2005 02:34:00 PM

My MIL gets a distant, raptious look on her face when she thinks of Winston. I think she said something to me the other day along the lines of "don't worry, Winston will fix it". And she's Fijian.

Posted by Lucia Maria : 5/28/2005 09:45:00 PM

Genius: it's more a generational rather than an age thing; our current pensioners are those who grew up in the 30's, 40's and 50's, and they want New Zealand to be just as it was when they were children. But they'll inevitably die, and the next batch - those who grew up and were shaped by the 60's and 70's - will be more tolerant.

Society, like science, advances funeral by funeral...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/29/2005 02:03:00 AM

"Society, like science, advances funeral by funeral..."

Couldn't disagree more. Society is not "advancing" it is merely changing as time moves on. The myth of progress is an outdated idea, good only to soothe the hearts of those who fail to read enough human history and current affairs. Idiot, you should know better...

Posted by Muerk : 5/29/2005 11:06:00 PM

I've said before that I regard the change to a more open and tolerant society - which some regard as having plunged us into a "moral wasteland" - as being very real progress, and this is no different. Racism is backward and barbaric, and moving away from it is "progressive" in any sense of the word.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/29/2005 11:23:00 PM

When a late boomer friend suggested I buy property in Devonport because the Asians aren't there yet, when I know he has never met an Asian nor has ever been affected by an Asian then I know that racism lives quite happily in "enlightened" times.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/31/2005 08:33:00 PM

Does one have to be 65 to remember Joe McCarthy and his witch hunts in the early 1950's? ("I've got a list here of known communists in the State Department!")Winston is Joe's poisonous and unscrupulous heir but why don't the other parties brand him more effectively? - Paekakariki oldie

Posted by Anonymous : 6/01/2005 09:25:00 AM

Because most younger New Zealanders wouldn't get the reference - even though it is spot on.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/01/2005 11:04:00 AM