Monday, February 26, 2007

A nasty, racist little blurt

Since its inception, the Maori Party has been accused of being explicitly racist by the bigots on the right, who find the idea of Maori standing up for their own interests (rather than accepting whatever crumbs Pakeha deign to leave them) highly threatening. And it hasn't been helped by co-leader Tariana Turia's frequent blurts on the desiribility of teenage pregnancy (good as it boosts Maori population growth), or blaming immigration for the failure to gain an 8th Maori seat, which explicitly reflect old-fashioned racist ideas about demographics, growth rates, and the fear of being "outbred" by the Other (demographics apparently being a race to be biggest, rather than an epiphenomena of individual's different preferences). She's banging on the second drum again today with a call for New Zealand to limit immigration from western countries in order to preserve the demographic status of Maori and claim that the government has promoted immigration to undermine Maori. The latter is the sort of unhinged conspiracy theory normally heard from the National Front about asians, or the National Party about refugees (supposedly brought in to stack the electoral rolls against National). As for the former, restricting migration on the basis of skin colour or culture can only be described as racism. There is simply no other word for it. And contrary to Turia's claim that it's not "because we are not talking about Asian immigration", the word applies whether the people being victimised are brown or yellow, black or white.

Turia's comments are in short a nasty, racist little blurt, of exactly the sort indulged in by Winston Peters, though with a different target. And it will do her party no favours. Unfortunately, they seem to be less then concerned; Turia has apparently convinced them to adopt NZ First-style state racism as party policy.


But do you blame her?

When negotiation as a minority is seen by her to have failed, and justice is only given to Maori to the extent that they constitute a voting bloc, then can you not understand her not wanting that minority reduced?

In terms of getting justice for Maori, she's correctly identifying that immigration reduces both the relative Maori population, and the relative population of Pakeha who feel responsibility for honouring the treaty, hence reducing the political feasibility of Maori receiving justice.

So as well as labelling her words racist, we could equally discuss why circumstances have reached the stage where Maori representatives feel that they cannot acheive justice with dialogue alone, that weight in numbers is their only hope.

I agree that her preference for Asian over white migrants is odd, and without more to go on as to why she has this preference, you've characterised it as 'racism'. But I also agree with the broad brush - slowing migration is a means to increase the probability of Maori receiving a fair deal. Its a second best solution, after dialogue, discussion, and education of the rest of the population,but apparently one that is necessary.

Posted by Anonymous : 2/26/2007 04:06:00 PM

It'd be far better for the Maori party to concentrate on being inclusive and seeking common ground with progressive forces rather than trying to revert to some kind of imaginary utopia.

A lot of immigrants do appreciate NZ's unique anglo-polynesian culture. Some form relationships with Maori - and the kids from those relationships are still going to be Maori.

And making NZ poorer, which is what slowing migration would do, isn't going to do Maori any good nor will it make the majority Pakeha population more favourable to Maori aspirantions.

Posted by Rich : 2/26/2007 04:23:00 PM

What's next, Tariana? Prohibiting Maori from leaving the country?

Probably a more important reason why there are not more Maori seats is that not all Maori want to be on the Maori roll.

Posted by Anonymous : 2/26/2007 10:52:00 PM

Tariana's simple world is this. I am Maori - Maori people are my number one priority, other people are either of lesser importance or hostile - purely because of their race.

It is as vile as the "White Australia" policy of the mid 20th century, but then she has been engaging in this racial superiority nonsense for years now. She could start treating people as individuals based on what they do - rather than who their ancestors were.

Posted by Libertyscott : 2/26/2007 11:10:00 PM

'Since its inception, the Maori Party has been accused of being explicitly racist by the bigots on the right, who find the idea of Maori standing up for their own interests'

fuck off, show me a single instance that act (or national) have accused the maori party of being racist just for standing up for maori interests. more like the labour party for their stance on forshore and seabed

Posted by Anonymous : 2/27/2007 01:49:00 AM

"why should the blogosphere foam over this when similar comments condemning Muslim immigration, cultural diversity and multi-culturalism are trotted out by the usual suspects and pass without comment every day."

bollox - we foam just the same when Winston (prior to his muzzling with baubles) extruded his racist droppings.

Posted by Anonymous : 2/27/2007 08:32:00 AM

Anonymous #3:
A racist comment to be sure -- but why should the blogosphere foam over this when similar comments condemning Muslim immigration, cultural diversity and multi-culturalism are trotted out by the usual suspects and pass without comment every day.

Turia has a high profile and is Maori I guess

Well, I KNOW Turia is not only a Member of Parliament (and will presumably be voting on any immigration-related legislation), but is co-leader of a party that seems increasingly likely to continue holding the balance of power after the next election, no matter who gets the key card to the 9th floor of the Beehive.

Perhaps you think replacing Winston Peters with Tariana Turia is going to lead to a rational (and desperately needed) debate that leads to meaningful reform of a severely dysfunctional Immigration Service, and an incoherent patchwork of ad hoc legislation, regulation and policies. I respectfully dissent.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 2/27/2007 11:54:00 AM

I'm in agreement with LibertyScott, which does make me wonder if something is wrong...

I can see where the Maori Party is coming from, and why they are there.

But once Turia buys into the idea that her job is to represent just "her" people (not all NZers) the rest follows.

It's different to have a party in parliament who just doesn't see me as their constituent, and who isn't willing to be my representative, no matter what. At least Act or UF or the Greens would be willing to represent me if I wanted them to.

Democracy permits this sort of party, there are lots of elected political parties in the world like this. And maybe NZ is better for it. But it comes at a cost, and Turia's giving us an example of that cost now.

Posted by Mr Wiggles : 2/27/2007 12:04:00 PM


Well, you do have a point - ignorant brown-necks are allowed to vote too. Democracy's a bitch - but I rather have it hanging around and occasionally biting me in the ankle than any of the other options out there.

And the most depressing thing about what I/S so acutely called Turia's 'nasty, racist little blurt' is that it's all too familiar. God know, I've been hearing this b.s. from my own whanau for years - and some pretty high places in Maoridom as well, to little (if any) attention from the MSM. If only melanin inoculated you against ignorance and bigotry...

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 2/27/2007 12:47:00 PM

I have some sympathy with Tariana's comments.

The more important question though, is when will tangata whenua begin to be truly consulted on immigration policy. As tangata whenua, they have a fundamental interest, and role to play, in immigration matters, and have been ignored for too long

Posted by Anonymous : 2/28/2007 10:43:00 AM

With global warming likely to make parts of the world very unpleasant to live in in the next few short years we are likely to see a rush of rich whites looking to move here - their money giving them automatic entry. Already the two-way movement across the Tasman has, for the first time ever, seen more Aussies moving here than Kiwis there, as their eastern seaboard cooks with drought.
As a South Pacific country, our first obligation should be to the Pacific Island people who are forced to move.
Rich whites mean land grabs and social exclusion.

Posted by Anonymous : 2/28/2007 11:21:00 AM

Anon #1 (10:43 am):

I think you will find Maori have the same rights as any other citizens to comment on, and contribute to the formulation of, immigration policy.

They can vote in elections, write letters to MPs, hold and attend public meetings, offer submissions at select committee inquiries, and so on.

What is the additional "consultation" you had in mind, and why is it necessary above and beyond what is described above?

Posted by dc_red : 2/28/2007 11:47:00 AM

Put simply, because tangata whenua are not "any other citizens". They are the first people of this land, and guaranteed tino rangatiratanga under the Treaty.

Therefore, they have a unique interest in immigration policy, and a unique role to play in determining what our immigration policy should be. So, at the very least, true, in-depth and meaningful consultation with iwi and hapu groups is an essential component of any just immigration policy in Aotearoa.

Posted by Anonymous : 2/28/2007 03:32:00 PM