Hide: The Maori Party
The Maori Party
Tuesday 14 Sep 2004
Rodney Hide - Speeches - Other
Speech to Wellington Central Rotary; Whitby Lounge, James Cook Hotel; Tuesday September 14, 2004.
Prime Minister Helen Clark has achieved one thing. She has united Maoridom.
The only problem is that she has united Maori against her.
Helen Clark set out to "Close the Gaps". Instead she's opened a vast gulf. She's produced a race-based Maori party.
The result? Our Parliament and our politics are further balkanised.
We have race-based seats.
We have race-based policies.
And now we have a race-based political party.
The Maori Party could well win all the Maori seats. The way the Maori seats work, the Maori Party only needs a small fraction of the total vote to win all seven seats.
The Maori Party only needs 50 percent of the vote to win a seat. They could win a seat with much less as the vote is split amongst candidates. 110,000 New Zealanders voted on the Maori roll last election. 50 percent of 110,000 is 55,000 votes. That's just 2.75 percent of the total vote of 2 million last election.
The Maori Party could win seven seats with less than three percent of the total vote.
Forget the five-percent threshold. The Maori Party is already successfully polling at two or three percent.
The Maori Party also has something else going for it: $72 million of taxpayer funding for Maori broadcasting. MTS and iwi radio stations are completely partisan. Labour's Maori MPs were counting on this. They are now Tariana's.
Foreshore and Seabed
It's easy to understand why Tariana Turia has support. Helen Clark is legislating away iwi rights to have heard in court their claim of customary title to the foreshore and seabed. Iwi have been battling for years to have their claims heard. Just when they were having success, Helen Clark wipes that success away with a stroke of the pen.
It's truly breathtaking. Here's Helen Clark apologising to Northern hapu Te Uri O Hau for 19^th century confiscations. But she herself is committing a 21^st Century confiscation. She has fired up an entire new grievance that will last for generations. Her apology for past confiscations rings hollow.
The surprising thing is not the Maori Party. The surprising thing is the six Maori MPs who have stayed behind with Labour. Their performance dramatically illustrates how Maori have been poorly served by the Maori seats and by the Labour party. The Labour Maori MPs can hardly complain of past injustices when they are committing a present-day one.
The problem is simple: Helen Clark doesn't believe in property rights. She believes in the power of government. If the politics is right, she will over-ride whatever rights and people are in the way.
Helen Clark should have allowed the court case to proceed. The Court of Appeal indicated that any claim of customary title would be quite limited. The odd reef and burial ground. Not the entire foreshore and seabed. To establish customary title you have to show continuous customary use. It's a tough test.
Besides, the time to deal with the issue was once the extent of any customary title was established. If the extent of the title allowed was too extensive, then the government could enter negotiations with the relevant iwi.
But in cutting off the iwis' day in court, Helen Clark has implied that the entire foreshore and seabed was up for grabs. In trying to back-pedal, she has established an entirely new concept - that of "Ancestral Connection".
We are now in the worst of all worlds. Maori have been denied their day in court. But are to be given a say over the foreshore and seabed wherever they can establish ancestral connection - whatever that means.
The outlook is for a time-consuming, costly, bitter and divisive dispute over any proposed development. It's the worst of all worlds.
Prime Minister Helen Clark's response to the Foreshore and Seabed claim was botched. She has botched the Bill.
But worse, she has stirred the embers of racial injustice and united Maoridom behind a Maori Party.
I have to say I quite like Tariana Turia. She's a tough woman. She stands up for what she believes in. She's smart.
I don't like her policies. I think her "For Maori, By Maori" policies are divisive, dangerous and wrong. But you have to have a soft spot for a politician who declares:
The other day, I felt good. My multiple selves were in agreement on some very important matters.
This Western paradigm often doesn't make sense to, or work for me, as a descendant of the awa [river] of Whanganui.
We know what the Maori Party is against. But what does it stand for?
There's no doubt that the Maori Party is race-based. It's clear from its name. It's clear too from its stated aim, "To ensure that the Party is of the Maori people".
The Maori Party's health policy is simple: "to promote the achievement of wellness and well-being for Maori". Full Stop. To hell with anyone else. The Maori Party is explicitly standing up for one race in New Zealand at the expense of everyone else.
The Maori Party is collectivist, tribal and separatist. Here's the opening sentence stating the Party's aims:
The Maori Party is born of the dreams and aspirations of tangata whenua to achieve self-determination for whanau, hapu and iwi within their own land; to speak with a strong, independent and united voice; and to live according to kaupapa handed down by their ancestors.
There is no mention of the individual on the Maori Party's web page. It is all about the group. And that group is Maori organised on tribal lines.
It's one thing to organise along tribal lines socially and culturally. It's quite another to do so economically. The experience is that tribalism doesn't assist economic development. It's an actual hindrance. That's because resources get locked up politically rather than used commercially.
Tribal economics doesn't work in Africa. It won't work here.
We learn from the Maori Party's web page that "Mana Whenua is the principle which defines Maori by the land occupied by right of ancestral claim". We learn further that the party's aim is "to assist Maori to establish and maintain their connections to their own land". The intention is, "to promote mana whenua as the basis for land management policies".
So land use is to be determined by ancestral claim, spiritual connection and taniwhas. How successful will that be in providing a prosperous future?
The one thing we do know about Tariana Turia is that she doesn't view wealth as having been created by New Zealanders. Her view is that it has simply been taken:
"I heard people saying that unwitting taxpayers will have to pay for a Maori channel - but tangata whenua pay tax too. Not only that, the unwitting taxpayers should remember where most of their wealth originally came from - land and resources acquired from our people."
Wealth isn't created in Tariana's view. It's simply taken. She intends to take it back.
Here's a question for you. What political party has this as their policy?
A Maori Parliament will be established and Maori self-determination pursued as far as practicable, within the limits of a shared territory. The structure for Maori self-determination already largely exists; it needs only to be recognised.
Self-determination means an end to European patronage.
That's the policy of the National Front, standing up for the rights of Euro-New Zealanders. The policies of the National Front parallel those of the Maori Party.
It should be no surprise that the National Front has hailed Tariana Turia.
National Front national secretary Kerry Bolton declared that, "we are a party that stands up for European culture and identity and to be perfectly consistent we should be able to understand a party that stands up for Maori identity and culture"
I find the National Front's racial claims totally repugnant. To be consistent, I find the Maori Party claims equally repugnant.
The only difference between the National Front and the Maori Party is the size of the reservation of land that they have planned for Maori. The National Front is pushing the cause for white New Zealanders. The Maori Party is pushing the cause for brown new Zealanders.
The Maori Party and National Front are the logical products of separatist laws, passed by successive governments, and opposed by ACT.
The Maori Party crystallises where New Zealand has been heading for years. We need once again to stand up for what we believe in.
That we abhor racism - in whatever shape we find it.
That we live in a democratic country where all citizens have equality under the law.
We should judge people for the good or bad of their actions, not the colour of the skin. The only just government is one that judges us as individuals, not as members of an ethnic group. The only fair government is a colour-blind government.
We can't achieve tolerance and harmony by enshrining racial separatism.
The Maori Party is entirely Helen Clark's work. She created it. She's stuck with it.
I consider Helen Clark to have delivered poor government for six years. She has run-down our military capacity, run-down our allies, made it tougher to be in business, elevated racial-preferment to new heights, wasted the opportunity for welfare reform, and she has put business back on welfare with handouts.
But the choice for voters next election is not another three years of Helen. It's for something much, much worse.
The line up for next election is Helen Clark, the Maori Party and the Greens versus National and ACT.
Winston Peters and Peter Dunne won't tell us which side they will be on till after the election.
If you think Helen Clark's government is bad. Just try and imagine a Helen Clark government propped up by the Greens and the Maori Party. It's our worst nightmare. It's Helen Clark's worst nightmare too.