Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Making the right noises

John Key certainly isn't beating around the bush, is he? At his first press conference as leader, he stated loudly and clearly

"I believe in a tolerant and inclusive New Zealand, I believe in a society which is there for the benefit of all New Zealanders, and I think that the future of New Zealand must be a New Zealand that everyone feels they have a stake in."

It's a welcome signal that National will reject the divisive policies of race-baiting and Maori-bashing engaged in under Brash. And at the same time, I think we should wait and see whether its a real rejection, or whether they'll simply move to slightly more subtle dog-whistling. I guess it depends on whether Wayne Mapp's "portfolio" of "Political Correctness Eradication" is disestablished in the post-changeover reshuffle.

Meanwhile, Bill English - who back in 2002 was engaging in a bit of race-baiting and Maori bashing of his own with his "one standard of citizenship for all" campaign - is echoing the new party line [video]:

"Modern New Zealand is multicultural. There's a whole range of people with a whole range of beliefs and cultures. And we're quite comfortable with that."

I wonder if anyone has told Bob Clarkson yet?


Obviously, one standard of citizenship for all, as identified and protected in the Treaty of Waitangi, is race-baiting and Maori-bashing.

It is clearly racist to suggest that a well-off Maori should receive no extra benefit from the state than a well-off Pakeha. It is also racist to suggest that an impoverished Maori should receive the same level of state assistance than an impoverished Pakeha. In fact, it's downright racist and bigoted to suggest even a public debate on access to government services by different ethnic communities.

Posted by Insolent Prick : 11/28/2006 01:12:00 PM

"We're quite _comfortable_ with that"?

To be frank, I'm not always comfortable with the tory need to be 'comfortable' with how other people choose to live their lives.

Posted by james cairney : 11/28/2006 01:27:00 PM

One thing I do know, is that inclusive rhetoric (or any rhetoric) from a National party leader is indicative of exactly none of their intentions if they were to gain power.

All they are interested in is power, at whatever cost. And Key's "I didn't inhale" just doesn't cut it as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by james cairney : 11/28/2006 01:31:00 PM

James: well, I am waiting to see if the reality matches the rhetoric. But Brash's descent into the politics of division has affected National's credibility on these issues, and they have a lot of ground to make up.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 11/28/2006 01:37:00 PM

NZ Herald, today:

One caucus job to be ditched is that of "political correctness eradicator" created by Dr Brash.

"I think it detracts from the serious business of government," Mr Key told the Herald. "I see it [the role] as a sideshow."

Posted by Anonymous : 11/28/2006 01:38:00 PM

HA HA HA Wayne Mapp!!!
Interesting that Bob the Builder has been quiet about this. Maybe there was no testicular advice needed.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/28/2006 02:30:00 PM

You left a bit out of your post I/S

"Maori are the tangata whenua of this country, and we have nothing to fear by acknowledging that. It is part of what makes New Zealand unique. I welcome the Maori renaissance, and some of the great initiatives like the kohanga reo movement which have come from Maori, for Maori"

Any comments?

Posted by Anonymous : 11/28/2006 02:42:00 PM

You left a bit out of your post I/S such as the following which was in the Key speech.

"Maori are the tangata whenua of this country, and we have nothing to fear by acknowledging that. It is part of what makes New Zealand unique. I welcome the Maori renaissance, and some of the great initiatives like the kohanga reo movement which have come from Maori, for Maori"

Any comments?

Posted by Anonymous : 11/28/2006 02:44:00 PM

Maybe after they dip in the polls there'll be backlash and they'll make Bob the Bollock-Scratcher leader.

Or he'll defect - NZ First needs a new intellectual powerhouse.

Posted by Rich : 11/28/2006 02:58:00 PM

Wayne Mapp's PC-buster costume (has that clown ANY self-respect?) was plainly a McCully brainwave. Imagine the howls if Helen had made Judith Tizard Special Agent for the Eradication of Hate Speech, or some such (no trolls, she didn't - go back to sniffing panties).
There was a self-appointed cheer squad out there for a while, trolling examples of PC outrages to provide Mapp with work experience. Like most McCully initiatives, what promised to be a splendid we'll-show-those-bitches schoolboy jape floated away like an empty thought balloon.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/28/2006 03:27:00 PM

Well, shit. What next? Actual policy?

Posted by Anonymous : 11/28/2006 03:48:00 PM

Comment of the day, from Kiwiblog: "If John Key had been clear about these intentions before last week, Don Brash would still be leader and PM in 2008."


Posted by Anonymous : 11/28/2006 08:30:00 PM

Spare a quiet moment of reflection for the kiddies on the extreme right of the blogsphere, who are now faced with supporting Key or the prospect of seeing their sites becoming the internet equivalent of teenage boys cutting "fuck" into a park bench.

Oh, the humanity!

Posted by Sanctuary : 11/28/2006 09:25:00 PM

HmmI expect John will use this to get rid of that don brash meme and quickly move onto somthing else before we go to sleep. If he tries to run an election on how he is the new kohanga reo loving national leader.. well I jsut dont see that one flying..
but who knows maybe that is what he wants to use as a strategy.

Posted by Genius : 11/28/2006 10:26:00 PM

sanctuary, you're talking like the RWDB don't already act that way.

i actually liked the speech, but as a voter i'm with I/S. ma te wa.

finally, IP, none of those things you suggest are racist or bigoted. you however, have the feel of something quite different. if don't understand what i'm suggesting, there's no point in trying to explain.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/29/2006 07:29:00 AM

Key will be a PR improvement on the now deeply discreditied Brash, at least initially.

However the signs are not good. Key repeated his "Cullen is sitting on a $11.5b pile of cash that should be given back to the taxpayers" lie just yesterday morning to Kathryn Ryan.

This is of course a flat-out lie. Anyone who cares to read the www.treasry.govt.nz site for more than 10 minutes can prove it a lie as well.

YEEHHAA!!! another lying Tory toe-rag. They are so easy to knock over really. Key would make a superb Marketing Manager for someone, and as long as the Nats have no more substance than an oversized PR machine, he will be their ideal leader.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/29/2006 08:09:00 AM

Whilst Labour passed the foreshore legislation I certainly remember Bill English being the driving fordce behind opposition to the Maori Land Court ruling. It would be interesting to pull out some pithy Hansard quotes for the Maori Party to leaf through whilst they are in cozy up mode with National.

By the way, did anyone notice the comment on DPF's blog comapring Key's to Churchill?

What a laugh, I would have thought most Kiwis equate Churchill with Gallipoli...

Posted by Anonymous : 11/29/2006 10:31:00 AM

There's no way most Kiwis equate Churchill with Gallipoli - Battle of Britain, and WWII generally.

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 11/29/2006 11:38:00 AM

Graeme, I'll go 50/50 with you on that one.

But if you were to put the word "inexperienced" before Churchill I think many more would go for Gallipoli.

The point is though, why the hell do right wingers see the need to equate their leaders to Churchill? Are they all wannabe war heroes? And what was Churchillian about Keys anyway? His drinking habits?

Posted by Anonymous : 11/29/2006 11:53:00 AM

p'raps he identified with the great Churchillian quote "I don't understand this squeamishness about using poison gas on the arabs.." ?

but more likely it's more of the usual far-right good/evil fetishes.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/29/2006 12:22:00 PM


All you can manage is claim I have the "feel" of somebody who is racist, and then squeamishly back out of any debate in those oh-so-haughty taxpayer-funded tones of yours.

I believe in abolition of the Maori seats. I believe in a single standard of citizenship for all New Zealanders. I don't believe that the Treaty of Waitangi, which was at its essence a document ceding sovereignty from one people to the Crown, should be the basis of the constitution for a modern independent state. I believe in equal access to Government services by Maori and non-Maori.

I don't believe in pandering to one group simply because of their ethnic heritage. I don't believe that one group in society is significantly disadvantaged because of their ethnic heritage. I don't believe that sustaining a grievance culture ad infinitum, as opposed to settling historic grievances, creates positive outcomes for anybody.

On the other hand, I do believe that many Maori are disadvantaged, by virtue of poverty. As are many Pakeha and Pacific Islanders. After forty years of sustaining the welfare state in its modern form, the plight of low-income New Zealanders has got demonstrably worse.

Run away from the debate if you will, and call me a racist for offering to debate the issues if that makes you feel better. But you won't actually improve the situation of low income Maori or Pakeha by doing so.

Posted by Insolent Prick : 11/29/2006 07:33:00 PM

Rightyo then old chum, lets cover these points off one by one, because "belief" is was Al Qaeda does, and we're rational. Right?

1. Abolition of Maori seats. There is an ongoing debate about the worth of these blah blah. let's skip it.

2. "A single standard of citizenship". Can you indicate to me where a single standard doesn't apply? Because our legislation and regulation is equally applied to all NZLers right now, despite any claims to the contrary.

3. Denying the Treaty to be the basis of constitutional government in NZL. Well, blimmin good on you. It isn't at present, and while it's been mooted it's never really had legs. Certainly the Treaty has been instrumental in ensuring that Maori gained EQUAL rights to British NZLers. But it's never been a constitutional arrangement.

4. Equal access to services. Um... Could you indicate to be some concrete examples of where people are denied services? Because if you're upset about services provided for Maori then you're just being silly. That's like getting upset because you're not eligible for English-as-a-Second language education.

5. 'Pandering'. Again, not entirely sure what you mean here. Has the feel of a 'belief' to me, so i'll move on.

6. Disadvantaged because of ethnic heritage. Ah, you'd be completely wrong there. The fact of disadvantage of Maori on racist bases is well-established. There's current and former studies demonstrating that Maori have trouble securing decent housing because of racist landlords for example. Poor housing contributes to poor health, which contributes to low income, blah blah blah.

7. Where's this ad infinium grievance industry? If you're talking about the Treaty Settlement process, the one set up by a National Government, then it is winding to a close. All the major settlements are done and dusted, and there only remains a few of the smaller claims. Once these are complete the process is over, done, finished.

Granted, a lot of lawyers are making money off the settlement process, but that's what lawyers do, drag out proceedings to ensure higher fees.

And, the benefits are evident. No more land protests, no more angry radicals. Do you even remember the 80s?

8. 'Virtue of poverty'. Now there's an interesting term. Only wealthy people think poverty is virtuous. Can you provide figures to demonstrate that poverty is currently worse that 40 years ago? Because the last I heard average wages were increasing after the dip of the 90s, and less people were on the dole than ever.

Yes, many people of all ethnic types are in poverty. But can you provide figures that clearly demonstrate that this is because of social welfare? Or is this another belief?

oh, and 9, from your first post. Can you also clearly indicate an example of Maori receiving greater state assistance that a Pakeha? That would be interesting.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/30/2006 07:37:00 AM

Nice debunking che.

At the same time, if current left wing thinking has a major achilles heel it is the pronounced tendency for the very programs designed to assist people in the short term, have the perverse outcome of trapping them into dependencies in the longer run.

Dr Cullen has my deepest respect for his sane and cautious management of the total public sector finances; but I do wish he showed some signs of being a little more open to some fresh thinking in this direction.

Once again it is the Greens who have had all the right ideas well ahead of their time:


Most especially the UBI policy IS to my mind the ideal we shpuld be working towards.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/30/2006 08:08:00 AM

Che - I'll start with a warning that I don't necessarily agree with all the following arguments (but do think they are at least valid arguments):

1. Maori seats - I'll basically leave this one too.

2. One Standard of Citizenship:
Maori seats;
New Zealand's signature on the Un Convention on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
Section 19(2) of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act (positive discrimination allowed to make up for past negative discrimination)
Maori spirituality advanced in public by the Government, Christian less so;
"Taniwha" stopping roads etc.

3. Treaty as Constitutional foundation of NZ - some, at least, do think it ought to be;

4. Equal access to services:
Maori student with a B average in first-year law gets into second year law at VUW; non-Maori student does not (needs a B+ average);
WINZ caseworkers getting bigger bonus if help an unemployed Maori into work, than an unemployed non-Maori;
Government scholarship prize for top student attempting bursary (assume something similar for NCEA) - six prizes, all the same value, leading boy and girl Maori, leading boy and girl Pasifika, leading boy and girl other.

5. Pandering might be things like taking account of taniwha, having powhiri etc.

6. Two wrongs don't make a right?


8. by virtue of poverty means, in this instance, because of poverty. The argument is that the poor are disadvantaged - if more Maori are poor then more Maori are disadvantaged; not because they are Maori, but because they are poor. Helping the poor in such a situation is of great assistance to Maori, because Maori are poor in greater numbers. Someone who is non-Maori and poor is in need of assistance, someone who is Maori and not-poor is not;

9. Greater state assistance for a Maori - some examples I've given above should work, but (using bursary, because I understand it better) - a Maori student with a total of 440 over five subjects getting a $10,000 scholarship they would not have qualified for if they were non-Maori;
Or, a Maori VUW law student receiving extra tutorials in compulsory subjects than a non-Maori student; etc.

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 11/30/2006 10:23:00 AM

Let's keep with the tackling these one by one.

1. ditto.

2. none of the things you've indicated are markers of differential citizenship. if anything, they act to reinforce the equal citizenship of maori. i'm ignoring the first one, because that's covered under point 1., above.

otherwise, one standard of citizenship, which is a concept, does not mean that you can't recognise different ways of being a citizen. and recognising indigenous rights isn't applying differentiated citizenship. maori are still new zealanders, but not all new zealanders are maori. recognising and including maori ways and culture just brings a group of citizens closer to NZL.

christian spirituality not advanced in public? you mean, other than, Christmas, Easter, willingness of public officials to stop for prayers if requested... i could go on?

3. i think you repeated my statement.

4. what you're talking about there is affirmative action. that is a liberal democratic idea that been in vogue in numerous western democracies for many years. nothing especially 'pro-maori' about it.

that said, it's also slipping out of vogue. some studies in the US for example (which i've never looked at closely) suggest that it's more advantaged individuals in minorities who are able to exploit the opportunity. this means that the benefit in 'advancement' is more difficult to sell to disaffected white people.

5. and the pandering one is mostly ridiculous. i've been in the public service for nearing two years, and i haven't seen, heard of, or read about a single powhiri. i'm thinking we might actually be talking about media beat-up.

taniwha? read 'bullshit, backlash and bleeding hearts'. i think David has a section on that particular myth.

6. not entirely sure what you're driving at there. are you suggesting that not recognising that racism exists will prevent disadvantage on the basis of race occuring?

7. ditto. but i note you avoid recognising it.

8. you don't actually answer my query. granted, higher number of maori are poor and therefore disadvantaged, but as point 6. indicates, it's easy to demonstrate that ethnicity contributes to people being being kept poor. if you're suggesting that maori should not be given preferential treatment over non-maori, then you need to look to point 9.

9. again, those are examples of affirmative action. they're also all examples of AA in the education sector. more examples would be helpful.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/30/2006 09:15:00 PM

1 & 2 - I can see your point, but I do think the existence of the Maori electoral option and the Maori seats are an example of a greater right of citizenship given to Maori. Good or bad; out sooner or later or not at all; whatever, but it's there now.

The suggestion that they are an historical anachronism that will cease to exist at some point doesn't really fly, however, when the Government has allowed the creation of local Maori electoral wards in city/district council elections only recently.

3. There is a difference between treaty as reason why we're all here, and treaty as constitution, but I recognise that's not what the argument was really about.

4. Yes that is affirmative action. If as a result of AA someone who would otherwise have received a service does not receive that service because of their lack of indigineity, I think it fair to say they have not had equal access to that service. Yes AA is applied to other groups in other countries, in NZ it is applied to Maori. It means that some non-Maori miss out on some services. And, for example, the VUW Maori law quota is recognised as being an obligation on the VUW Law School under the Treaty of Waitangi.

6. Yeah, sorry I can't remember the name of the thing they replaced powhiri with...

7. Yeah. I realised I'd been typing heaps and wanted to use shorthand for, I agree.

8. No I didn't answer your query. As with most of my points I wasn't backing up what IP said, I was responding to what you said. It is not my view that welfare causes poverty (and I'm not sure how the argument goes - something about the cycle of worklessness etc.). I was just taking issue with your comment about virtue of poverty because it had no relation to any argument being presented.

9. Yeah, I know a lot more about education. I do believe that (at least previously) doctors with a high proportion of (perhaps wealthy) Maori in their catchment received more money than those with a high proportion of poor non-Maori.

You do also have the WINZ example, there being more state assistance for unemployed Maori than non-Maori to find work.

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 11/30/2006 10:18:00 PM

when i said no powhiri, i meant nothing maori at all. except this one time we had a mihi by the teacher of a maori langauge class, and you've gotta think that appropriate right?

oh, we have hangi every couple of weeks as well.

yeah otherwise, i think we're pretty much in agreement, or agreement to disagree, except on the AA thing, and there i think the issue might just be a perspective one.

i've often suspected that the only people who have an issue with AA are the few white males who are borderline, and get bumped because of 'favouring minorities'.

thing is though, it's not favouring minorities, it's making an exception to ensure bigger social outcomes. the logic seems to go that you make places easier to access because you're "teaching someone to fish" if you get the analogy. the trade off is that a few white males miss out. but hey, there's heaps of them right? and the system is already structured to favour white males.

trick is, it usually doesn't measure up to the cost-benefit analysis.

but again, this isn't a uniquely NZL thing or 'pandering to maori', it's a thought common to any number of liberal democracies. the references to the treaty and the like are just the local justifications where other countries would use, "you enslaved us", or "we have figures demonstrating the XX migrants are underachieving because the education system favours the majority. let a few in and it'll mitigate risks of social isolation, marginalisation and criminalisation"

or something...

as for the poverty thing. i'd still like figures to show that poverty is any worse now than 40 years ago, because that smacked of 'belief' over 'facts'.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/30/2006 10:54:00 PM

PS. WINZ example, if it actually exists.

placing limited resources where they're more likely to get results is just good planning.

we know maori are more likely to be unemployed, so use resources to directly address the issue instead of pandering to useless white dole bludgers. it's just better use of public money.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/30/2006 10:57:00 PM

> "recognizing and including Maori ways and culture just brings a group of citizens closer to NZL."

That requires some person to stand up and tell me what a "Maori way" is, or what an "Asian way" is or what a "white way" is.

I acknowledge that pragmatically one might have to deal with a little bit of this – but also recognize in doing so you are in your own little way being part of the problem.

5. "And the pandering one is mostly ridiculous."

I do find it rather odd to see Maori language on doors where it would seem to be considerably more useful to have Chinese or some other language. But I don’t see a huge amount of AA around so I guess to an extent it is a beat up (i.e. only a minor effect).

6. "are you suggesting that not recognizing that racism exists will prevent disadvantage on the basis of race occurring?"

Surprisingly enough I think that could be the case. Disadvantaging groups according to race is related to people using race as as classification system. Once they do that it is just nonsense to run around saying ‘group A is identical to group B’. each group can start saying "group x is on average more dangerous to me" and people arguing against that will quickly find themselves on the wrong side of logic. Which relates to 7

7. the core part of a grievance industry is the believe that people are separate and that they SHOULD behave separately. As long as that is the case they will tend to compete view themselves as being 'right' in some sense etc.

8. "ethnicity contributes to people being kept poor."

As mentioned earlier I think part your earlier arguments create the mechanism by which that happens

Posted by Genius : 11/30/2006 11:31:00 PM