Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The same old racist National Party

Over the weekend the media tried to talk up coalition divisions over the proposed Kermadec ocean sanctuary. The Greens supposedly wanted it, but NZ First had killed it over the lack of iwi consultation, but it was still on if iwi agreed. Looking at these stories, its pretty clear that there's not much "disagreement" at all: the Greens and NZ First both agree that they need to reach agreement with iwi before the sanctuary can happen. Despite this, National thinks it is the perfect issue to try and divide them on with a member's bill:

While some media have reported the plan is already a casualty of Labour's coalition agreement with New Zealand First, outgoing environment minister Nick Smith said National would consider introducing a member's bill to get the sanctuary over the line.

The Green Party is adamant the sanctuary should be established, and, because National holds 56 seats in Parliament, only the Greens' support is needed to pass the legislation.

Dr Smith said the Greens would have to support the bill if it was drawn from the ballot, or risk alienating their support base.

Hardly. Because in addition to supporting the environment, the Green Party and its members overwhelmingly support the Treaty of Waitangi and the settlement process. Legislating unilaterally to effectively overturn a Treaty settlement isn't compatible with that, and I think Green supporters would be quite comfortable with their MPs voting down such a bill if it didn't contain appropriate and approved clauses protecting iwi rights.

What this does show us is that this is the same old National Party which advocated for unilateral theft of the foreshore and seabed in 2003, which voted for Don Brash as leader, and ran on a platform of outright racial hatred in 2005. A party which thinks that Maori don't matter, that their views can be ignored, that they have no rights. And that the government can break its word to them whenever it is convenient or advantageous.

I'm glad that that racist party was constrained by the Maori Party when it was in government. And I'm glad they're out of government now.