Thursday, February 08, 2024

Luxon can't be trusted on Te Tiriti

When the new government's coalition agreements were released last year, the most shocking aspect was National's agreement to an explicitly racist campaign to repudiate Te Tiriti o Waitangi, replacing it with some weirdo Libertarian charter. Luxon has spent the last four months trying to say that he was forced to agree to this as the price of power (that is, he has no moral character and was happy to throw Māori under the bus so he could call himself "Right Honourable" for a few years), and that he had only agreed to support it to select committee. As the unpopularity of destroying the foundation of the New Zealand state has become apparent, he has focused more and more on the latter, saying that it was unlikely that National would support the bill any further. And yesterday, after his disastrous performance at Waitangi, he went further, ruling it out completely. The problem? Rimmer doesn't believe him:

ACT leader David Seymour is refusing to back down on his controversial Treaty Principles Bill, saying he believes the Prime Minister's opinion can be changed.

Seymour believes Prime Minister Christopher Luxon was "nervous" after Waitangi and could still back his Treaty Principles Bill despite ruling out doing so.


But Seymour is undeterred by Luxon's comments and came out with fighting words when he joined AM on Thursday morning.

"I mean, last week, he wouldn't rule out supporting it further, yesterday he would. I think perhaps he got a bit nervous after Waitangi," he told AM co-host Lloyd Burr.

But there was one part of Luxon's comments that Seymour said he didn't believe.

"But ultimately the bit I don't believe is he won't change his mind if the public really wants it," he said.

Rimmer is quite clear that he is trying to twist Luxon's arm on this. And it seems likely that he will get away with it. Because no matter what Luxon says, at the end of the day, Rimmer gets to decide whether he remains Prime Minister or not. And he has already shown a willingness to use that to impose a racist, white supremacist agenda on Aotearoa, and Luxon has already grovelled in the face of it. Given that, it is likely that he will do so again.

So here is what will happen: National will make a lot of noise opposing the bill at first reading, while voting it to select committee "as part of the coalition agreement". It may even order its MPs to issue a negative report on it at select committee. And then Rimmer will threaten to roll the government unless he gets his way and the bill is passed. And the question then is whether Luxon, a man who has already backed down to this once, will show some moral character and stand up against Rimmer's divisive racism, or whether he will meekly roll over and in effect allow Rimmer to dictate to his whole government. And unfortunately, I think we all know the answer to that one.