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Newman Online Weekly commentary by Muriel Newman

Newman Online Weekly commentary by Dr Muriel Newman MP

Settle Treaty claims by lunchtime

This week Newman Online looks at how better off Maori and New Zealand will be when Treaty of Waitangi claims are settled and all Kiwis can live as one people

The Treaty of Waitangi settlement process has caused significant damage to the Maori people. While many leaders have become rich and powerful as a result of an endless raft of legal privileges now enshrined in our laws, tangible benefits have largely bypassed Maori families in need.

Part of the reason for this is the formidable class structure that exists within Maoridom, which marginalised those on the wrong side of the tracks. The result of being constantly reminded that you are a ‘second-class’ citizen, is debilitating.

I too was born into a class system. In Britain, families like ours who were poor and working class were looked down on.

In New Zealand society, the absence of a class system helped to create one of our greatest strengths whereby it didn’t matter what family you were born into or what school you attended, everyone was treated equally according to their own merits and given the same opportunity to succeed. That is unless you were Maori.

For many Maori, an archaic tribal culture based on a traditional ancestral hierarchy and a collectivist mentality, has become a trap bestowing high esteem on the leaders but being dismissive of others. The focus on individual ancestry is a recipe for widespread alienation - families whose “pedigree” does not hold up are relegated to the status of second-class citizens within the tribal culture. This takes away their pride in who and what they are, their self-confidence and sense of personal responsibility.

But it gets worse. Activists have indoctrinated many of our children with the belief that the changes that occurred to a young and wild New Zealand. That instead of being a process of transformation, whereby British law and property rights were used to change what had been described as the “hell hole” of the South Pacific into a modern western democracy, was a process of widespread destruction.

The introduction of the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process, which has created a grievance industry of monstrous proportions, has sent a signal to Maori that they are not responsible for their plight and that any disadvantage they suffer is the fault of Pakeha. It has become conventional wisdom in many quarters of Maoridom that the problems will not be rectified without massive government payouts.

The problem is that those are hollow promises. The world does not work in that way. History is littered with examples of people who came into riches they did not earn, only to find it created greed and squander and failed to provide the better life that they had dreamed of.

Common sense tells us that the best way to help people get ahead is to give them the ability to build a successful life through their own efforts. That means encouraging strong families to ensure that children have a mother and father who not only love them but who provide them with the nurturing, guidance and protection that every child needs.

It means ensuring that children are healthy, well educated, and that they have great role models who can teach them the importance of being honest and reliable, of working hard, having goals and striving to achieve.

It is these basics that have been so badly eroded in Maori culture. They have been replaced by the promise from the hierarchy that the only way forward for Maori is through massive settlements from the government. But imagine living with a promise of riches that never come. It would be like being told your family is going to win Lotto but not knowing how much money it will be, how it will be distributed, whether you will see any of it, or whether it will be this weekend, next weekend, or in ten or twenty years time.

Yesterday at a public meeting, when the issue of Treaty settlements was raised, a Maori man said that he and his family wanted the Treaty settlements “gone by lunchtime”. He explained how important it was that it was all settled quickly so that they could all get on with their lives.

I couldn’t agree more.

The reality is that the Treaty has been used as a political weapon for all too long. Politicians have courted Maori for their votes, engaging with their hierarchy in an all-absorbing obsessive game of chance. And while that game has been mutually beneficial to both politicians and the Maori elite, it has created a disaster for much of Maoridom: the Maori family in sharp decline, Maori communities infested with drugs and crime and Maori pride eroded as welfare becomes entrenched as a way of life.

The results are unbelievably damaging: children being born into families where they are destined to fail. The adults that surround them, instead of being role models, are focused on the sort of self-gratification that only comes from being seduced by welfare and not having to work for a living. Their local schools having to focus on providing parental care instead of inspiring the children with a love of learning and an ambition for a future they have yet to imagine.

It is long passed the time to do what the Maori gentleman called for at our public meeting and end it all: settle all legitimate Treaty claims as close to lunchtime as we can manage – and along with that settlement, remove all privilege based on race that so corrodes and corrupts a society – and get on with our lives as one people, one nation working, playing and striving together to make this the greatest country on earth to live, work and raise a family.

Details of ACT policies can be found on or check out Muriel’s website

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