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Winston Peters Speech: "the thin edge of a disastrous wedge"

Rt. Hon Winston Peters
Leader NZ First

Address to: Orewa
St Johns Catholic Church Hall
Center Way, Orewa.

Date: May 27th 2011
Time: 1.30 pm

“The thin edge of a disastrous wedge”

Today’s Herald has a poll conducted form a sample of 750 voters. The poll results round up to 99.5%. Apparently fewer than 4 people in this poll refused to give their opinion.

That’s extraordinary because both here and abroad the undeclared vote often reaches over 30% or almost one in three who ‘won’t say’. The Herald poll eliminates this undeclared vote which is how they get to almost 100%.

This poll where the government is concerned, has a variance of 17% with another recent poll less than 2 weeks ago. To sum up, the Herald poll is unadulterated bovine scatology and if they had any professional integrity they would admit it.

Thomas Jefferson – the third president of the United States and the author of the declaration of independence said “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule where 51 percent of the people may take away the rights of the other 49 percent.”

That might sound a bit extreme for a peaceful, tolerant country like New Zealand but it is going on under our noses.

This is what's happening.

If you go back to 2008, National forged a coalition with the Maori Party and Act.

From this union the Auckland Super City was created and it's the biggest council in New Zealand or Australia.

To say it has been a bit of a shambles is an understatement and emerging from this shambles is a threat to democracy as we know it.

This threat takes the form of unelected, appointed members sharing responsibility with elected members of the council.

And one of the unelected members said that this development would soon repeat itself in local authorities all around New Zealand.

The farce of the Auckland Super City arose from a state of utter confusion naively created by many of the protagonists now ducking for cover.

The Local Government Minister Rodney Hide said that he would resign if two special Maori seats were created on the council.

Then there was a protest march in Auckland.

Half the protesters carried banners against the Super City and the other half wielded placards demanding separate Maori representation on it.

This latter group have got their way – obviously as the result of some backroom deal.

The legislation that set up the new Auckland contains provision for up to two persons representing Maori to participate as members on each of the committees the council establishes.

Those persons appointed together form the Maori Advisory Board. And there’s the rub. They are not advisors at all but members of the various committees with voting rights.

It doesn’t end there.

Arising from the statutory functions of the Maori Advisory Board, the Auckland council, (the ratepayers) are legally required to meet the ‘reasonable costs’ of the Maori members in the performance of their functions and powers.

If this is happening in the biggest local government authority in Australasia then all around provincial New Zealand the scene has been set for this to be repeated many times.

The end result will be a nation with a dual system of local government.

Some council representatives will be elected, some will not.

And then there is the blame game.

Mr. Hide claims he was outvoted by cabinet and later parliament.

But he is a member of the present government coalition, the largest member of which is the same National Party that campaigned on the slogan ‘one law for all’.

So National and Act need to explain why they wrote this law and why Auckland ratepayers have to fork out $3.4 million for the Maori Advisory Board’s operations.

It’s not complicated.

The National/Act government passed the Super City Act making this Maori Advisory Board a statutory board with statutory responsibilities.

To fulfill these responsibilities the ratepayers have to pay - even though not one of those board members was elected.

It is time we received an explanation from the Prime Minister whose silence on this issue has been deafening.

Or maybe he thought this was ‘purely aspirational’.

The rest of New Zealand does not care much about what happens north of the Bombay Hills as a rule but the alarm bells are starting to ring in circles where democracy is important.

Why is it that Maori could not get elected to the new Auckland council?

Why is it they have to be “appointed” and given the rights of elected councillors.

Fifteen years after the introduction of MMP (whatever you think about it), we are surely heading into a system more suited to a tinpot African state than “God's Own”.

Remember, the commission, which gave rise to MMP, said that over time this new system would demonstrate to all New Zealanders, including Maori, that there was no need for the separate franchise based on race.

If two Pacific Islanders can get elected to the Auckland Super City why couldn’t two Maori?

If Ming Foon can be re-elected countless times as Mayor of Gisborne, why can’t a Maori?

Peter Chin served two terms as Mayor of Dunedin.

If you look at the Porirua City Council you can see a true mixture of New Zealanders – all elected – and Maori well represented.

In the North my brother Jim Peters led the Northern Regional Council for many years.

Ron Mark is the mayor of Carterton

So the answer is that Maori can and have been elected to local government.

And under MMP there are more MP’s with Maori in their heritage than the Maori vote would justify on a percentage basis.

So why create a separate system of government?

Deep down neither the Maori Party nor its new offshoot, the Harawira party, believe in democracy.

Remember what Co-leader Pita Sharples said in March last year during the arguments over Maori representation in Auckland.

He said democracy was not working for Maori.

He said and I quote: "There is a democratic process but it's not working for Maori, they are outside of that system."

He said the principle of one person one vote would not give Maori representation.

This is utter nonsense and an insult to Maori.

It is part of a widespread movement in which radical Maori and Treaty travellers specialise in guilt tripping white liberals.

They portray Maori as the perpetual victims of colonisation and the only treatment for these unfortunate victims is the soothing application of taxpayer funded therapy.

And lots of it.

Appointing Maori to these undemocratic positions is sending the wrong message to other New Zealanders.

They ask themselves how we can ever progress as a nation if one group is treated differently and operates under a separate set of laws.

This is not a cultural issue.

All New Zealanders owe it to Maori that their language and culture survive and flourish.

It is an essential part of our social structure.

Likewise it is important that serious past grievances be addressed and settled in a fair manner.

Other fair minded New Zealanders agree with this and also with granting customary rights where these are appropriate.

But to flout the democratic process by appointing a select few Maori to positions of governance and then be forced to pay handsomely for this privilege leaves a sour taste.

How many people do you know who have gone to Australia – or are thinking of going – and one of the reasons they give is “I am sick of all this Treaty bull dust”.

What they are sick of is not the Treaty, but the exploitation of the fictitious Treaty “principles” which are so flexible they can be adapted to suit any occasion.

We have tried to get an accurate legal interpretation of these Treaty principles for many years.

Although they are actually written into law there is no interpretation.

They are there to exploit and for spurious judgments to be issued from the courts as the judiciary makes its own interpretation.

The Treaty of Waitangi is a founding document for the nation of New Zealand.

It is not a strictly legal document. It is a statement of intent and it is a well meaning statement of intent.

The colonisation of New Zealand from the British Isles was relatively benign.

If you look at the colonisation methods of the Spanish, the Portuguese and the Dutch and other European nations, and compare them with the British, the Maori were treated with kid gloves.

And of course the Maori were not averse to giving their colonisers a good clip over the ear from time to time and chopping down the odd flagpole.

(By the way it was Hone Heke and not Hone Harawera who wielded the axe! His mother might have been there though!)

There ARE times when there is and should be different treatment for different ethnic groups in this country.

For example, in the summer months there are campaigns aimed at the descendants of the Celtic races to get them protected against harmful exposure to the sun.

Likewise, Maori are targeted for Type 2 diabetes because it is a serious problem for them.

But to suggest that we should be governed at a local level by non-elected groups whose only qualification is their race goes against all the principles of democracy.

This is where I hark back to Thomas Jefferson and his quote that majority rule can turn into mob rule and take away the rights of the minority.

Not one political party in Parliament attracted a vote of more than fifty percent at the 2008 general election.

However a collection of four parties has achieved a majority and to appease a small minority of that governing coalition, the rights of New Zealanders to elect all their local representatives has been taken away.

In return, racially chosen individuals have been appointed.

It seems almost unreal that a country like New Zealand with a relatively harmonious history of race relations can head down the path of separate development.

Now it is approved, and started at government level, it is seeping right through the system.

Just last Wednesday the Hawkes Bay Regional Council established a new planning committee to oversee the development of regional policies and plans. The council stated that “eventually the committee will have equal numbers of councilors and Tangata Whenua”.

The Tangata Whenua representatives will not be chosen by public vote. The councilors will be. And this blight on democracy will spread eventually ro every council in New Zealand.

Given the current situation, our children will soon be taught in schools that it is right and proper for one race to be separate from the rules of democracy.

And that the taxpayers and ratepayers have to finance this separate development.

Already some Maori tribes are describing themselves as nations and want to live as separate states within New Zealand.

They want statehood, self governance and self determination, all financed by the taxpayers.

It all starts somewhere and once it has started it becomes hard to stop. This is a runaway train that John Key in his naivety has let loose.

Under his Prime Ministership we now have:

• Not one but two flags that fly on days of national importance
• A sign up to the UN declaration on indigenous rights that says in any dispute the indigenous rights will prevail
• A new social delivery programme, Whanau Ora, with hundreds of millions of dollars budgeted for it over the next few years, which is separatist and which programmes founding report demonstrated an appalling lack of analysis. The only evidence in it was anecdotal.
• A Foreshore and Seabed which, according to Mr Key, no one owns except just yesterday customary title applications were lodged for Shipwreck Bay up North, and the Coast south of Wairoa and North of Napier.
• A review of New Zealand’s constitution currently being conducted by Bill English and Pita Sharples, neither of who has any qualifications in this area.

You’ll recall in 2004 NZ First insisted on the Foreshore and Seabed being owned by all New Zealanders in the form of the Crown. This year both the National Party and the Act Party repealed the 2004 legislation which gave rise to this current mess. In short they say one thing in opposition and do the very reverse in government.

In contrast New Zealand First stands firmly on the principle of one law for all and one person one vote. We have never deviated from that policy since the Party was formed in 1993.

The people of this nation once stood proudly for egalitarianism – for equality and a fair go for everyone. We knew that such principles presented in a democratic setting would deliver a far greater degree of wealth, equality, and fairness than any other political system. That was then.

Now we are heading in the direction of George Orwell's “Animal Farm”. You will recall the devious pigs in that novel.

They betrayed their fellow animals. They posted a sign on the wall of the barn.

It said “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”.

That is my point here today. We are in a situation where we are supposed to be all equal, but sadly, some of us are now more equal than others.

Now if that is not the New Zealand you want then on 26 November you will have a chance to say so. For your sake and our country’s sake it is hoped you do.


ENDS


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