The Underbelly of Radical Maori Intimidation
Weekly commentary by Dr Muriel Newman MP
The Underbelly of Radical Maori Intimidation
This Week Newman Online looks at the intimidation tactics of radical Maori, how it makes New Zealanders fearful and silent and allows Maori to get their own way.
This week, I confronted an ugly side of New Zealand - the underbelly of radical Maori intimidation. I came away extremely disturbed and worried for our future.
The event was something relatively innocuous: a public meeting over the naming of a mountain, which sits in the middle of our town.
Local Maori had proposed to the local council that the name of the mountain be changed to reflect their version of its history. Astonishingly the council accepted their proposal without feeling the need to put in place a process involving the rigorous scrutiny of early maps or Maori Land Court title documents. Nor did they think it necessary for any form of public consultation, even though the mountain is now a public reserve, which belongs to the whole community.
Some 250 people turned up to the meeting quite prepared "to have their say". By far the majority of the audience was opposed to any change, but when the opportunity came for contributions from the floor they were silent.
One person expressed it this way: "I fully intended to have a say and to tell the meeting that many Maori have phoned me to say that what this powerful group of local Maori are doing is wrong, but they are too scared to speak out. They are afraid of reprisal. When I saw the contempt they expressed for us ordinary citizens, who don't see any justification for a name change, I just shut up. As my husband whispered, "don't say anything - we don't want our house burned down!"
This is the ugly side of political correctness: where the view of a radical minority is imposed on the majority through intimidation. Those who dare to speak out against the proposal are viciously attacked in order to silence the voice in opposition.
This week, I have been attacked for Maori bashing and bullying because I dared to stand up for the silent majority. Yet, the question that is at the forefront of my mind is how on earth, in a seemingly tolerant, democratic society can we possibly have reached a stage where locals - Maori and non-Maori alike - are afraid to speak their mind over issues that involve Maori?
In reality, to answer that question we need to look no further than Wellington and our lawmakers. Labour is and always has been unashamedly pro-Maori. That means that they have been prepared over the years to pass laws that confer special privilege and status on Maori - in return for their electoral support.
National governments, while opposing such changes when in opposition, have rarely had the fortitude to repeal them once they become government. Privileged status has thus become enshrined over the years - not to all Maori, but only to the elite groups in positions of authority.
Since 1999, Labour has significantly compounded the problem through a massive transfer of wealth and power to Maori, largely under the auspices of the "Closing the Gaps" strategy, which was also used to justify preferential treatment in health and education. But it is changes in the local government area, which look destined to cause the most trouble in the future.
The Local Government Act liberated councils from a focus on their core services, by giving them the power of general competency. As a result, the four core services of rubbish, roads, water and sewerage have given way to four "well-beings," social, cultural, environmental and economic. Further, the Act confers on Maori special privileges with regard to participation in decision-making.
Those privileges have emerged in two ways. The first is that in many councils, Maori have now been given consent authority status with respect to resource consent applications. The second is with respect to representation itself: some councils have created Maori seats, while others are providing staff time and ratepayer money for "relationship building".
The end result is that many groups of Maori have become key benefactors of a lucrative gravy train of resources, power and status. The problem is that this entrenching of privilege is creating a deep division within society as New Zealanders see an emerging elite of powerful Maori, funded by the public purse, pursuing their own agenda and ignoring the concerns of mainstream New Zealand.
It was this widespread anxiety that Don Brash tapped into in his infamous "Orewa One" speech. And while Labour acted quickly to dampen down those fears with some quick and smart political maneuvering, they have totally failed to address the underlying causes of the growing racial divide.
Tuesday's meeting was a clear demonstration of how far anointed Maori have progressed and what took place in our town will be happening at various levels all around the country. They are articulate, organised and arrogantly dismissive of the views of anyone who stands in their way. It is all destined to get worse, unless there is a change in government to an administration with the backbone to tackle this problem head on.
All legislation that gives special status to Maori must be repealed. We are one nation with one rule of law and if we are to succeed as a nation, that law must be colour blind. If this issue is not addressed - and fixed - as a priority, then I fear for the very future of this country that we all love so much.