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Fingerprints On The Treaty, Footprints In The Sand

17 March 2004

“Fingerprints On The Treaty And Footprints In The Sand"

An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand Medical Association Auckland Division
Building 43 Marion Davis Library, Auckland Hospital
Wednesday, 17 March 2004 at 7.00pm


Today, March 17th is a great day for the Irish – St Patrick’s Day!

People of Irish extraction, and a lot of others as well, today celebrate their Irishness.

I hate to dispel cultural myths but St Patrick was not actually Irish, he was Welsh!

He was born in Wales and he was christened Maewyn, so if we want to be pedantic, today is actually “Maewyn’s” Day.

Patrick got to Ireland by being sold into slavery by Irish marauders who raided his village.

He escaped, went to Gaul to train as a priest then went back to Ireland, spending 30 years converting the pagans to Christianity.

Patrick died on March 17 in AD 461 and that day has been commemorated as St. Patrick's Day ever since.

One of the most important legacies of St Patrick has been the universal recognition of the cultural identity of this unique people.

And they will celebrate their day whether they live in Eire, New York, New Zealand or anywhere in the world where people are free to acknowledge their origins.

Tonight I want to give some thoughts about the politics of the identity debate sweeping the country.

It appears that it is no longer simply enough to treat sick people – now you have to make choices about the ethnicity of the patient.

This debate is not new. Fourteen years ago the noted historian Keith Sinclair wrote:

“The most controversial issue of the past few years has been that of race relations. There has been more public debate and dispute about the Treaty of Waitangi ……..than at any other time in our history, certainly since the Anglo-Maori wars of the 1860s.”

And who could fail to recall Jim Bolger’s Orewa memorable speech in the same year, 1990, in which he promised one rule of law for all citizens, and to wipe the Treaty from the statute books.

He then went on to create a Treaty gravy train and instigate a regime of political correctness that became the envy of the Labour Party which brought fresh life to the process in 1999!

Both National and Labour made the Treaty into a “living document” that changed shape and meaning as time went on.

It became a quasi-legal document yet did not and does not have any legal standing.

This has all been created by political mythmakers and activist courts and this is what worries middle New Zealand.

It is nonsense to suggest that Queen Victoria’s Colonial Office would have entered into a special relationship with Maori that did not exist anywhere else in the British Empire.

It is equally absurd to suggest that this document guaranteed Maori the seabed and foreshore as well as the airwaves, the forests and all fauna and flora.

The Crown simply made a Treaty with all the people of New Zealand to protect them as British subjects and safeguard their rights. In short – a colonising document.

The current debate about the Treaty must be seen in a more recent historical context.

National and Labour can only be judged by what they have done – not what they say now.

NATIONAL’S POSITION

A look at National’s record shows that what Don Brash says is in fact the reverse of what National carried out while in government in the 1990s.

The title of his Orewa speech was ‘Nationhood’ and we are still trying to figure out what nation he was referring to because it certainly was not New Zealand.

While much of what he said was simply a cynical attempt at political plagiarism, the undertones of the speech were dangerous.

Brash makes the claim that he wants equality for all but what he is really saying is that everybody should be like him.

It’s understandable that Maori – among others – find this offensive.

Like some past colonial master, Brash would attempt to deny Maori the right to be themselves and instead would try to force them to assimilate into his view of non-Maori culture.

Brash seems confused when he calls for no race-based policy and yet concedes he would fund Te Kohanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa, Wananga and Maori primary health providers because they offer choice.

He is also confused about the National Party because it makes particular provision for Maori positions in the leadership of the party.

As for his call to abolish the Maori seats – well here again he is borrowing New Zealand First policy, but again without understanding why.

New Zealand First did not contest the Maori seats in 2002 because we don’t believe in a separate franchise based on race.

Yet we have always ensured that Maori have fair representation on our list of MPs.

Despite making soothing noises, National has no policy that ensures Maori have a place in the New Zealand democratic system.

National was once a party that prided itself on being a broad church but now it is fast becoming whiter than a fridge door!

By not having any Maori representation, Brash is implying that Maori aren’t good enough – that they are somehow inferior because they don’t measure up to his standards.

He has the gall to state that there is no such thing as a ‘homogenous Maori people’ and yet he constantly refers to them as ‘Maori’.

Maori are the indigenous culture of New Zealand and most people proudly embrace the culture as long as it is not shoved down their throats.

What offends middle New Zealand is the sight of brown radicals with a “gimmee” attitude setting the agenda for the public debate on Treaty issues.

People also recoil from the sight of swaggering Maori gangs thriving on a life of crime.

At Waitangi there was the extraordinary situation of Titewhai Harawira leading an official party on to the grounds while her offspring were hurling abuse at the same party.

However, we all know that while radical Maori and redneck non-Maori do their people a disservice through their antics, most Maori and non-Maori get along just fine and Brash knows this as well as anyone.

What he is really doing is creating a smokescreen for the real agenda of the big business puppet masters who pull his strings.

Make no mistake – National is no friend of ordinary Kiwis – whatever their ethnic background.

National has a covert economic agenda.

Brash has never made any secret of his admiration for Rogernomics and Ruthanasia.

In April 1987 he turned down the chance to stand for National in the Kaimai by-election – because he agreed with Rogernomics.

“I thought it would have been very difficult for me to get up with a straight face and denounce what the Government was doing,” he said

He will use this race issue as an excuse to cut health and education spending simply because big business has told him to.

Yet he will try shortly to contrast Australia’s economy with New Zealand’s and how better off in every aspect Australians are compared to their New Zealand cousins.

What he won't admit is that the policies he supported from 1984 saw New Zealand grow, in real terms, at over a third less than Australia.

Every doctor here knows how much better the health system is in Australia!

So, here is someone whose policies are a failure, who seeks to convince New Zealanders that if those policies were revived again, we would somehow be better off.


LABOUR’S POSITION

On the other side of the fence from National but equally dangerous to the unity and cohesion of our society is the social extremism of Labour.

Labour has a compulsion to reconstruct New Zealand as a picture postcard of multi-ethnic diversity living in a politically correct nirvana in a South Pacific paradise.

Over the past four years Labour has flooded New Zealand with immigrants at a rate not seen anywhere else in the Western world.

Most have settled in Auckland, creating an enormous strain on social services and physical infrastructure.

The recently announced proposals for an Eastern Transport Corridor are just the latest part of the bill to be paid for this ineptitude.

The numbers are so great that health boards in the Auckland area now employ over 280 interpreters.

It is a stated fact acknowledged by the Government that 300,000 people in this country speak little or no English.

There has been a marked increase in the number of Third World diseases.

And six thousand foreigners accessed our health system last year and refused to pay.

Some of our major hospitals have wards full of immigrant patients with diseases like TB.

And some of these immigrants have also brought some of their less desirable criminal practices with them.

For example, kidnapping, murder, extortion and a host of other offences.

Frankly, we have enough criminals of our own without importing more.

We believe it is a privilege to be born a New Zealander.

We believe it is a privilege to be allowed to become a New Zealander.

New Zealand First says - if we confer the right of citizenship we should insist on obligations.

If you come to our country we expect you to subscribe to the fundamental values of New Zealand.

We have a right to protect, preserve and retain what we have come to see as part of the Kiwi way of life.

The coterie of politically correct politicians - aided and abetted by a compliant policy industry - have no understanding of our national identity and need to be stopped in their tracks.

Political correctness says its OK to wear a tiki to school but not a St Christopher medallion.

PC says we must take the Santa out of Xmas in case we offend someone’s religion.

The PC brigade say we must change our flag – our national anthem – our Parliamentary oath of allegiance –in fact anything from the past.

Under Labour, absurdity is the rule. George Orwell’s Animal Farm had nothing on Helen Clark’s menagerie!

Take education for example, it is supposed to be free and secular but if you are a Muslim going to Hagley High School in Christchurch, the state will pay over one hundred thousand dollars for your prayer rooms!

We have no objection to anybody praying but whether this is a responsibility of taxpayers is entirely a different matter – especially in a country where state education has been free, secular and compulsory.

Labour has adopted a disastrous immigration policy and brought in a tidal wave of immigrants.

Why? Because the present crop of ministers are incurable do-gooders who know best and embarked on a course that shuffled Maori down the pecking order and this required more pandering on the Treaty front.

The Treaty is now seen by some Maori as a boundless source of recompense for the colonial past, and as they say in some circles, it is “a nice little earner”.

Except – under the present glacial rate of progress it will take more than five hundred years to settle all the Treaty claims!

Labour feeds this unrealistic economic expectation to gain votes from Maori.
And this goes to the heart of what is wrong.

Because Maori cannot advance while they live under the shroud of the Treaty - trying to make progress while looking in the rear vision mirror.

The sad statistics show that all the political correctness in the world, and all the slavish adherence to Treaty “principles” simply do not deliver real progress to Maori.

The answer to their social problems lies in employment, health, education and housing – not in some politically correct policy adviser’s office.

It is also important to place on the public record that most Maori are not gravy train riders, social misfits, gang members and radicals.

The majority get on with their lives as useful members of the community, and you don’t hear about them because they are not news!

What they don’t deserve is to be used as electoral fodder by political parties seeking power.

NEW ZEALAND FIRST’S POSITION

The current debate is about our nationhood and our future.

We know that Labour has this year gone from supine arrogance to fear.

In this present climate they are losing an attitude and acquiring an anxiety.

It is no longer, in Michael Cullen’s words…. “we won, you lost, eat that!”
Thus it is that the Prime Minister called my office last Friday asking to meet with her on Monday to discuss issues surrounding the Treaty of Waitangi and the possible establishment of a commission to study these.

We have misgivings about this and we have laid out certain conditions to ensure our support.

First, the establishment of a Royal Commission to clarify Treaty issues has to be separate from the foreshore and seabed.

The foreshore and seabed issue should be dealt with expeditiously so that it does not become confused with the work of the commission.

We have already suggested a mechanism to the Government over the foreshore and seabed.

Ownership should be vested in the Crown on behalf of all New Zealanders and customary use, whether for Maori or non-Maori, be dealt with under the umbrella of Crown ownership.

New Zealand First is also concerned that a Royal Commission, if established, should address the controversial subject of exactly which version of the Treaty of Waitangi is official.

The last English version has the most credibility as it was set out to include all New Zealanders.

It follows that any commission should have as one of its terms of reference, a provision that ensures that all laws drafted be for all New Zealanders and not for any specific ethnic group – i.e. one law for all.

We have consistently raised these issues ourselves over the years, as well as questioning the ubiquitous and ill-defined Treaty ‘principles’ that litter our legislation.

Our support for the concept of the commission is dependent on the acceptance of the above.

We will also seek further input into the terms of reference and the selection of the commissioners.

It is important that those chosen have some intellectual connection with ordinary New Zealanders.

We believe the real value of the commission lies in debunking the myths surrounding the Treaty so that it has some clear relevance for contemporary New Zealand.

It would be a mistake to allow it to become yet another vehicle to carry the costly historical baggage of the grievance industry.

New Zealand First is committed to the concept of using citizens or government initiated referenda to make major constitutional changes.

We have therefore asked the Prime Minister to ensure that the people have the opportunity to make the decisions that arise from the Royal Commission.

ELECTION 2005

Although the so-called race debate is grabbing headlines at present, the next election will really be about social extremism versus economic radicalism.
It will be time to heal the racial fractures caused by the collision of cynical philosophies.

Make no mistake; the next government will not be formed without New Zealand First .

Our founding principles offer all New Zealanders a part in an economically strong and proud nation that offers its citizens real opportunities.

We believe in the concept of a prosperous society in which everyone participates – irrespective or race, colour, creed or social status.

In ten years we have never departed from our principles.

We represent political insurance for all New Zealanders against the economic excesses of National and the social insanity of Labour.

It would be well to remember this in the months ahead.

ENDS

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