Wednesday, March 16, 2011

An ignorant redneck

That's the only way to describe ACT MP Hilary Calvert. Quite apart from her simply strange claim that Maori couldn't have any rights in the foreshore and seabed because no-one could hold their breath for 170 years (yes, really), there's her view of tikanga:

"Tikanga is an 'Alice in Wonderland' word. It means whatever the Queen - I think it was the Red or White Queen - said it would mean, no more and no less."

Under the bill tikanga covered inherited rights and interests, she said.

"So we are to believe that this Alice in Wonderland word, a word that can be defined by the person claiming some property in our coastal land, creates legal rights based entirely on the say-so of the claimant. We might just as well ask iwi for a list of what they want and put through a legal transfer."

In fact, tikanga over land ownership and customary rights is well understood, and has been recognised in New Zealand law in one way or another for almost 150 years (first through the Native Land Court in translating titles, then more recently through the Treaty settlement process). But Calvert and the rest of her party subscribe to the Prendergastian view that Maori were "savages" and "barbarians" with no body of customary law and therefore no system of property rights. Its as ignorant as it is racist - but its absolutely par for the course for ACT.