Friday, June 27, 2008

Digging a deeper hole

National responds to John Key's appalling ignorance of New Zealand history by claiming that he has been quoted out of context and releasing his full statement:

We may be many voices but ultimately we are one people. One of the unique things about New Zealand is that we are not a country that's come about through civil war or a lot of fighting internally. We're a country that peacefully came together - Maori and the Crown decided from both partners' side that it was in their interests to have a peaceful negotiation. That's what the Treaty was, a founding document - a development document - for New Zealand, and I think that we could work things out in a peaceful, sensible and mature way has actually been a defining part of New Zealand's history. It's very important, and it's important we honour that now.
(Emphasis added) Maybe Key should try telling that to the people the settler government murdered at Parihaka, or to those whose land was stolen at gunpoint in the Waikato and Taranaki, or to those clubbed by Massey's Cossacks for standing up for their right to earn a decent wage. Rather than demonstrating his understanding of our history, Key is simply digging himself a deeper hole.

But then, can we really blame him? He's simply repeating the myths he was told at school back in the 60's and 70's, an era when our education system wasn't exactly known for its accurate portrayal of New Zealand history. And OTOH, this is a man who wants to be Prime Minister, who will have to negotiate with those who suffered those terrible injustices if he is to advance his ambitious Treaty settlement programme. And he can't possibly do that in good faith while pretending for his almost exclusively Pakeha supporters that those injustices never really happened.