Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Since the beginning of this year, ever since realising that the Maori party would represent the interests of their supporters rather than being a mute footstool for Labour, Chris Trotter has been conducting a race-baiting hate campaign against them. Today, with a post on Democracy, Citizenship & the Maori Party, that campaign has reached its toxic nadir. After accusing Maori as a group of being "hostile to the democratic principle" and painting the Maori party as "radical nationalists", he then goes on to say:

Also deserving of closer scrutiny, in my opinion, is the fact that the Marae Digipoll reveals that upwards of 70 percent of those questioned do not identify themselves primarily as New Zealanders. First and foremost, the overwhelming majority of those on the Maori Roll identify themselves as Maori.

This statistic has profound constitutional implications. If 70 percent of those availing themselves of the anomalous constitutional phemonenon of the Maori Seats do not unreservedly identify with the state responsible for preserving - and, indeed, augmenting - the institution of guaranteed Maori representation, then on what basis does that state sanction the Seats’ continued existence?

In other words, Maori are treasonous for retaining their own ethnic and cultural identity. This is nasty, toxic stuff, of the sort thrown about by the (dominant) loony wing of the US Republican Party. It has no place in American political discourse, and it should have no place in ours. New Zealand is a modern, liberal, democratic society predicated on the idea of the consent of the governed. The idea that the citizens of such a society automatically owe it any loyalty at all is highly questionable to say the least; the idea that they should identify themselves first and foremost by their national affiliation rather than any of the other (accidental or consciously chosen) overlapping identities they have is simply ludicrous. We're a bigger and better society than that. You can be gay or straight, pakeha or Maori, religious or godless, geek or rugbyhead, windows or Linux, left or right, all or any of the above - and which is most important to you is a matter for you alone. It is none of the state's business how we think of ourselves, what we identify with, or what we think of it. And to demand otherwise is a gross violation of freedom of conscience and the worst sort of puerile nationalism.