Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Brash to the core

All this year National Party leader Chrisopher Luxon has been teasing the prospect of running a Brash-style racist campaign against Māori this election. And today he finally came out and said it:

National leader Christopher Luxon has officially ruled out forming a coalition with the Māori Party.

He did so in a news conference and written statement issued Wednesday morning, where he hit out at Te Pāti Māori for wanting New Zealand to ditch the monarchy. He also made unprompted comments about “one standard citizenship”, “one person, one vote”, and “separatism”.

Ruling out working with Te Pāti Māori due to incompatible policy positions and values is one thing. But the "unprompted comments" here make it clear what is really going on. This isn't a dogwhistle so much as a dog-horn. "One standard of citizenship" is white for the elimination of Māori culture (indeed, all non-white culture) from public life. "One person, one vote" is weird, given that we all have two votes in MMP elections, but its clearly a claim that Māori have disproportionate electoral power, which is simply false. But these are white supremacist talking points, and that's who Luxon is trying to appeal to: he's going to fight ACT for the radical racist vote.

(Its also ironic for a man with seven houses, who therefore enjoys multiple votes in local body elections, to be talking about "one person, one vote". Yes, that would be nice to have, so lets get rid of the landlord vote and have some real democracy...)

If this sounds a lot like Don Brash's racist 2005 campaign, its because it is. National can't seem to help itself. But then, "making the rich richer" and "destroying the planet" aren't things that sell well. So they need racism to cover for it. And so they always go back to it.

The problem for National is twofold. In the short-term, all the polling is currently consistently showing Te Pāti Māori holding the balance of power, so ruling them out and alienating them like this is a promise to be in opposition (and a promise to deny your front-bench cabinet salaries and perks). In the long-term, the trend is clearly for a greater acceptance of Māori culture and greater recognition of the Treaty relationship. National thus risks being left on the wrong side of history with a dying demographic of aging racists.