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Smith: Brash's colonialism betrays his ignorance

Media Statement
For immediate release Monday, 9 February, 2004

Smith: Brash's colonialism betrays his ignorance

Don Brash's comments on the Treaty of Waitangi and on Maori portray the blindness of a colonialist mentality and simply demonstrate his ignorance of the fundamentals of the Treaty of Waitangi, United Future's Maori issues spokesman, Murray Smith, said today.

Mr Smith said that by making the statement that "Maori should have no greater rights than any other individual" Brash confuses the second and third articles of the treaty and, in particular, the property rights belonging to hapu and iwi that the Second Article protects.

It is hapu and iwi, not individual Maori, that obtained the Article Two protections. These allowed them to maintain full and undisturbed possession of their property. No other race of people, including those of us from European descent, have this "group right" and, accordingly, Maori (through their hapu and iwi groupings) very clearly do have rights that other New Zealanders do not enjoy. National, the party that used to be known as the party for Landowners and capitalists, now wants to remove those property rights without any compensation.

Where Brash, National and, in fact, Labour as well have confused the issue is to suggest that the Treaty granted individual rights to Maori. It did not. Article Three granted to all Maori, individually, the Queen's protection and the rights and privileges of British Subjects. In other words, what Article Three does is to give individual Maori exactly the same rights as all other New Zealand citizens; no less and no more. To the extent that Maori have been given greater individual rights than other New Zealanders, and there appears to be limited evidence of that, the Treaty cannot be blamed.


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