Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Shearer panders to rednecks

Yesterday was Waitangi Day, which saw the usual scenes of protest at Te Tii Marae. Like most kiwis, I took the day off, and enjoyed my holiday. But one thing I think that is worth commenting about in the aftermath is David Shearer's calls for the day to be "a time for celebration" and free of politics. On the latter point, given the nature of our country's founding, and our government's subsequent failure to adhere to the deal, its hard to see how the day can be about anything else. And against that background, calls for rah-rah patriotism and an end to protest are simply an attempt to deny our history and a demand for Maori to STFU.

But Maori aren't going to shut up, and nor should they. The government signed a deal. They broke it. They're still breaking it. Expecting people to take this meekly and in silence so you don't have to think about what sort of a nation we are and where all that lovely farmland came from is expecting far too much.

If Shearer really wants Waitangi Day to be a day of celebration, he should be working to give us something to actually celebrate, by ensuring that there is full redress for past grievances and strong mechanisms (such as an enforceable Treaty clause in the BORA) to prevent new ones from occurring. Absent that, he's simply pandering to rednecks. I was hoping he'd be better than that, that he wouldn't go through the same Pagani/Trotter "let's try racism (because it worked for Brash)!" strategy. Sadly, it seems I was wrong.