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Peters Speech: Te Awamutu Grey Power

An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to Te Awamutu Grey Power, Waipa Workingman's Club, 139 Albert Park Drive, Te Awamutu, Tuesday 21 June, 2005, 2pm.

“United We Stand, Divided We Fall”

New Zealand First’s Treaty of Waitangi Policy

It was Edmund Burke who said “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.

There is a silent majority of good people in New Zealand who want to do something about the state of race relations.

And there is a logic to that.

This is the first election where we will see a political party based solely on race having a viable prospect of gaining representation.

If it is a separatist path we want to go down as a nation then this is a giant step.

But this is not a prospect most New Zealanders want to entertain – and include Maori in that statement.

One reality about the human face of New Zealand highlights why this is so.

You see we know that nearly half of all adult Maori in New Zealand who are in a relationship are partnered with a non-Maori. And the vast majority of Maori who are partnered with other Maori have mixed ethnicity themselves.

Statistically, one in three children in New Zealand are born into Maori/non-Maori partnerships.

That does not tell you Maori want a separatist future – in fact this tells you when you shed all the Treaty mumbo jumbo and political correctness, we get along just fine.

But there is a very real threat to this potential paradise – and it is the benign apartheid which has infested our society from the liberal do-gooders who occupy the ivory towers of our universities through to the public service.

How did this occur and why must we act quickly to lance this festering sore?

When Martin Luther King made his seminal civil rights speech – “I have a Dream” on August 28 1963 he included the following words:

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: - We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

His, as was the struggle of most civil rights campaigners, was the struggle for equality.

They wanted a future were their children were afforded the same opportunities as all other children. They sought a future where prejudice and discrimination would not prevent anybody from reaching their full potential.

Somewhere in that campaign, and certainly by the time it reached New Zealand, the cause of equality became the campaign for affirmative action.

This occurred because it was how the bleeding heart liberals of the world overcome with fretful guilt could reconcile coloured claims for equality – they had to do something to ease their conscience and affirmative action it was.

But this was never the vision of Martin Luther King and others who sought equality.

We know this because he also decried segregation and special treatment.

He stated this forcefully with the words that “segregation is the adultery of an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality”.

Special treatment became a perversion in the quest for equality.

It is no coincidence that this sentiment of separatism and special treatment was rejected by great Maori leaders of the past such as Apirana Ngata. They understood only too well the dangers and stifling effect of this approach.

When this movement made its way into New Zealand’s consciousness in force in 1970s, agitators here quickly held aloft the Treaty of Waitangi as the panacea for Maori aspirations.

What had been a simple colonising document began to take on a pseudo spiritual status, well beyond its intended meaning.

Again this cause was seemingly legitimised with its embrace by the liberal intelligentsia within the common rooms of university campuses across the country.

A cross pollination of causes from radical feminism, gay rights and Maori sovereignty created a protest movement intent of creating a utopia at cross purposes with mainstream New Zealand.

While most New Zealanders passively observed these developments with some discomfort, they nonetheless did not take dramatic steps to confront them.

But over time the agitators from this era infiltrated the bastions of power within the New Zealand political system.

In a calculated manner, they slowly but surely gained access to the levers of power within the public service, the judiciary, universities, the union movement and primarily the Labour party.

With their ascension came the insertion of their ideas into the mainstream.

But their ideas of segregation and special treatment are not mainstream, and the time has now arrived for New Zealanders to stand up to this insidious plan which has effectively gone unchallenged for three decades.

It is also true that the assimilationist views of some on the right of politics are also no solution. This was the false premise of the Orewa doctrine. The assumption that the key to Maori success is to make them just like everybody else is as fundamentally flawed as the process of special treatment

It is simply foolishness to deny the inherent uniqueness of Maori culture and its value to New Zealand, but it is equally foolish to assert that ethnicity is a sound basis on which to develop government policy and service delivery. It is not.

The days of special treatment based on race are fast nearing an end. It has failed.

The days of equality and of a unified nation will be soon upon us, but this will require more than noble statements; it will require radical and fundamental change.

Today I want to outline New Zealand First’s policy to eradicate the evil of segregation and special treatment which currently clouds our future.

We want to lift this fog and unveil a bright new future for our children.

The simple reality is that we can no longer afford either financially or socially to leave the failed social experiment of division and separatism to go unchecked.

It must be confronted if our true potential as a nation is to realised.

This change will require a substantial cultural shift within the public sector. Bureaucrats being what they are will resist these changes but they are necessary for progress.

Within the public sector we will be making five fundamental changes.

The first is to eradicate the widespread practice of Treaty and Treaty-related courses and training programmes at the cost of tens of millions of dollars a year across the entire public service.

We have been asking the so-called Minister for Race Relation just how much the cost of these courses is and yet he has failed to provide a figure. Either he really does not know or he is too embarrassed to tell New Zealanders because it is so large.

Either way this is wasted money which has no tangible benefit in improving output within the public service.

The second is to remove all of the politically correct jobs within the public service which are dubiously allocated under meeting Treaty obligations. From a Kaihautu in TVNZ through to Iwi liaison units within DHBs, token PC jobs will end.

The third is to actually do the job that Trevor Mallard as Race Relations Minister was supposed to do, yet has shown so little progress, and eradicate from the delivery of all government service any race based policy.

No more will government department Statement’s of Intent contain the message – give effect to, or have regard to, the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Policy development and delivery will be colour blind.

The fourth step is to review ministries based solely on race such as Te Puni Kokiri.

TPK clearly needs its role reviewed. There was a time when its place was to promote housing, jobs and training for Maori in need of those services.

It was in essence a needs based organisation whose primary focus was Maori development to the benefit of all New Zealanders.

Today it has one of the largest concentrations of policy analysts in Wellington whose job is to monitor other policy analysts. There are three hundred and fifty of them sitting in their Wellington offices and elsewhere exploring the most creative way to say “Kia ora” and “no”, instead of “hello” and “yes”.

All this and TPK still wastes millions on consultancy fees. Such largesse does not aid Maori development one iota.

It seems they have totally submitted to Labour’s PC agenda and lost their pride along with it.

It has become the opiate of the “Bro ocracy” – the never ending trough of government money which keeps them in a permanent trance and mystic reality.

This policy is a radical shift – but if we are serious about becoming one people then we must remove those things which divide us. A separate ministry based on race and promoting a mistaken agenda is divisive by its very nature. That ministry’s job should be to promote First World health, housing, education and training and First World wages for Maori. That is what all New Zealanders want.

The final step we must take in the public sector is to review enforcement of protocols and custom for every public occasion. From the opening of public buildings through to welcoming new staff, the programme inevitably includes a pöwhiri.

Now in some cases this is entirely appropriate, but in many it is simply a costly token gesture, with a rent a Kaumatua to cheapen both the integrity of the Maori involved and often cause discomfort for those who have to sit through it.

When Maori women interrupt a long speech with a waiata you know that even they are sick of it.

Maori custom is a question of personal choice and it is not for government to force onto anybody. In many ways it causes resentment among non-Maori who would otherwise be well disposed toward things Maori.

We must also deal with the impact of this segregationist mentality on our legislation.

Recently Labour, the Greens and Tariana Turia voted down my Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi Deletion Bill. Well this issue will not go away.

We simply must remove these nebulous principles if we are to move forward.

We must address the issue of political representation.

In the first instance we will remove separate representation based on race from local government bodies, district health boards and all other government and quasi government boards.

The first step must be to remove this insidious provision from the Local Government Act. As for the Maori seats in parliament, MMP is already demonstrating that Maori can have confidence in a single franchise

We will speed up and realign the Treaty settlements process. We must recognise that the current rate of settlement is unacceptable, and at this pace is likely to take several hundred years.

We will replace the Waitangi Tribunal with a Waitangi Commission, refocusing its role as a 'Commission of Inquiry'.

In the first instance, the Commission will continue to research and report on historical claims and will be staffed accordingly. Tribunal members will become Commissioners and will serve three-year terms (renewable on review) until the completion of all historical claims.

While the number of Commissioners will fluctuate according to need, the appointments process will change - with the Ministers of Finance and Treaty Settlements directly responsible for their appointment along with the Ministers of Maori Affairs and Justice.

These ministers will have greater oversight in the functioning of the Commission and be more transparently accountable for progressing settlements.

However, following the conclusion of all historical claims being settled, the Commission will be restructured again, and will consist of three Commissioners, to be appointed by the Crown for a five year tenure, and given sufficient support staff to carry out its new function.

Its powers will be limited to the consideration of only contemporary breaches of the Treaty as they relate to the maintenance of the status of all New Zealanders as equal citizens before the law.

And we will set a mandatory deadline of five years for all outstanding historical claims to be lodged with the Commission, with the Commission's reporting on all claims to be completed by 2012, and with the intention of all claims being resolved by 2015.

This will also require the new Commission to operate with a renewed specificity and focus limiting it to researching only those facts pertinent to resolving historical claims.

The inherent conflict of interest that exists within the Tribunal (Commission) of the Chief Judge of the Maori Land Court also assuming the role of its Chair will be removed.

We must also further align the functions of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, the new Commission and the Office of Treaty Settlements and ensure the necessary resources are in place to reach our ambitious deadlines.

It is worth noting here that those already enjoying the ride of the Treaty gravy train are unlikely to volunteer to get off. They will need to be forcibly removed. Again a tough ask, but one New Zealand First is prepared to make.

If we are to move forward we must acknowledge the Treaty’s place as a significant historical document and the integral part Maori culture plays in our society.

We will require the social studies curriculum at both primary and secondary school levels to more accurately reflect historical events. This must include accurate portrayals of pre-colonial Maori history through to a detailed understanding of contemporary political institutions and how they function.

And we are committed to promoting the expression of Maori and other cultures through Kapa Haka and similar activities in schools and our communities and to protect the Maori language. Maori language and culture are a vital part of our identity as a nation and must remain an option within our education system.

But let’s not get this wrong. Many of you will remember the American documentary “Eyes on the Prize” about the civil rights movement in the 60s. One of the distinguishing features of that movement was their desire to break down the doors for black people to gain entry to America’s best white schools and white universities. It was Princeton, Harvard and Yale they wanted access to – they wanted the best.

Paradoxically, we here in New Zealand are setting up wänanga to send our Maori students to. One might ask the question of Maori leaders; why travel down the separatist path of setting up your own institutions? Why are we not pushing our brightest and best into our top universities? South Africa has spent the last 15 years dismantling apartheid whilst we are busy replicating it here.

One can only wonder where this can lead – but it certainly won’t be to academic standards needed to compete in today’s world.

It simply another honey trap that too many Maori have been lured into.

But we cannot ignore the fact that Maori culture is unique to New Zealand. It does not exist anywhere else, and if we don’t protect it no one else will.

New Zealand First says it is worth protecting.

But we must break the futile circular mindset that the key to ending racism is reverse racism, or, that the key to ending discrimination is reverse discrimination.

This is a false reality and it has failed Maori and non-Maori alike.

The key to Maori aspirations is no different to non-Maori aspirations. Their pathways may be different, and their cultural practices are likely to vary, but they are not different.

We too have a dream.

Our aspirations are a little more modest than Martin Luther King’s, but we in New Zealand First believe that the way forward lies in unity, not division.

We dream of a future where a New Zealand child can visit a doctor any time that he needs to.

That his skin colour and cost will have no bearing on this visit.

That his housing and education will be of a first world standard.

That he and his sister will have the prospect of a job which will pay first world wages.

We have a dream that our senior citizens, whatever their culture or station in life, will be treated with dignity in their golden years.

We have a dream of our streets being safe for all New Zealanders.

We have a dream of the rich tapestry of our society being emboldened by the culture and traditions of those who reside here, free from obligation and coercion but embraced by choice.

Now I want to conclude today with this thought. Three of New Zealand’s highest achievers, who just happen to be part Maori highlight the very point we are making.

Michael Campbell’s victory in the US Open had absolutely nothing to do with the Treaty or any special treatment. It was based on hard work, dedication and long hours of practice. This is a man who is proud to be a New Zealander and a Maori, but whose hard work, not a Treaty gravy train, helped him succeed on the international stage.

I think anybody watching him walking down the 18th fairway in his distinctive New Zealand attire, Maori motif for all to see, shared a sense of pride in his achievement. New Zealand has also finally done to Australia what they have been doing to us for more than two decades – we have control of one of their banks now – well at least Ralph Norris does.

It is a little known fact that Ralph is in fact a proud Ngati Hine man, but one whose success again is based on his efforts and talents, not on token gestures due to his race. Can you imagine the Australians paying anybody $7.5 million because he is a Maori?

When we watched Norm Hewitt on Sunday trip the light fantastic, the fact he was a Maori complemented his performance but had no bearing on his popular win.

We have a bright future as a nation, but only if we are unified and stand as one people.

Only one party in New Zealand offers you that future – and that party is New Zealand First.

Your party vote can secure that future.


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