Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


A Census Protest and a People's Review

A Census Protest and a People's Review

This week, the Independent Constitutional Review Panel Chairman David Round calls for submissions on the People's Review of New Zealand's constitutional arrangements, and we look at the ethnicity question in the census. Our NZCPR Guest Commentator Professor Elizabeth Rata discusses the importance of having your say on the future of our constitution, and our weekly poll asks whether you would like the option of calling yourself a "New Zealander" in the Census.

*You can read David Round's Press Release calling for submissions HERE.

*You can read our Constitutional Review Summary of Issues paper HERE.

*You can make an on-line submission by visiting the www.ConstitutionalReview.org website and clicking the "Make an on-line submission" link.

We do hope you will take the time to share your views on our constitution with us - don't forget the government advisory panel is spending $2 million on encouraging Maori to engage with the constitutional review, so we are hoping that other New Zealanders, who are not being targeted by the government, will realise how important it is to make sure their voices and their views are also heard on this matter which is of such crucial importance to our democracy and our future.

Thanks again for your interest and support.

Kindest regards,

Dr Muriel Newman
NZCPR Founder and Director

What’s new on our Breaking Views blog…

Frank Newman: There is no housing affordability crisis

Tom Johnson: All Blacks model a united NZ

Ron Smith: War and Civilians

Mike Butler: Tangled Maori spectrum web

NZCPR Weekly:

By Dr Muriel Newman

Over the last few years, there has been a growing consensus amongst the leaders of western nations – including the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Holland,
Belgium, and Australia - that policies and practices
that divide citizens along ethnic and cultural lines
are dangerous.

In Holland, the Dutch government decided to abandon
the long-standing model of multiculturalism that had created a parallel society within the Netherlands: “It
is necessary because otherwise the society gradually
grows apart and eventually no one feels at home anymore in the Netherlands.”[1] In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron went as far as calling for an end to government funding for organisations that promote separatism: “Let's properly judge these organisations. Do they believe in equality of all before the law? Do they believe in democracy? Do they encourage integration or separatism? These are the sorts of questions we need to ask. Fail these tests and the presumption should be not to engage with such organisations”.[2]

The point is that while western leaders are busy condemning separatism, our government is assisting a march towards it. Over the next two weeks, two separate official events will show how far we have gone down the separatist path – they are the Census and the official launch of the Maori Party’s constitutional review.

While the Census is normally regarded as being a benign enough event, when you drill down into some of the questions the divisions can be seen. Question 11 on ethnicity for example, sounds innocuous enough: “Which ethnic group do you belong to?” Eight options are given - New Zealand European, Maori, Samoan, Cook Island Maori, Tongan, Niuean, Chinese, and Indian. A ninth option “other” is also provided with space to write alternative ethnicities.

The problem is that ever since the ethnicity questions was changed in the 1980s from an objective measure based on the percentage of ancestry a person might have, to the modern-day subjective self-definition of heritage, the results have been interpreted in a way that dramatically overstates the number of people of Maori descent in New Zealand. In other words, if someone has a distant ancestor who was Maori, and ticks the Maori option as well as other options to reflect their more recent and dominant ancestry, all of those other ethnicities will be ignored and they will be classified by Statistics NZ as “Maori”. This practice grossly exaggerates the number of Maori in New Zealand with serious financial consequences, since these statistics are used as a basis for the allocation of resources for race-based Maori-only policies and funding.

Simon Chapple, a Senior Research Analyst with the Department of Labour outlined the implications of this in 2000, in a groundbreaking study, Maori Socio-Economic Disparity. Using data from the 1996 Census he explained, “In the 1996 census there were 273,693 New Zealanders who identified ethnically as Maori and Maori only. In addition to this, there were 250,338 New Zealanders who identified as members of another ethnic group, usually Pakeha/European, and also as Maori. Currently Statistics New Zealand’s official policy is to arbitrarily classify mixed ethnicity individuals who have Maori as one of their ethnic groups as Maori and not as the other group or groups to which they also belong. This sole plus mixed group is the Maori ethnic group as officially measured. In addition the 1996 census reveals another 56,343 New Zealanders with Maori ancestry but who do not identify ethnically as Maori. Adding these ancestry-but-not ethnicity people gives around 580,374 Maori in 1996.”[3]

He suggested that a more accurate reflection of the real situation could be obtained by retaining half of those classified as Maori as part of the Maori ethnic group, with the rest allocated to a non-Maori group using their other primary stated ethnicity.

Doing this same analysis for the 2006 census figures shows that of the 565,329 people classified by Statistics NZ as Maori, over a half (53 percent) identified with another ethnic group as well. Removing these people with multiple ethnicities leaves 265,704 who identified as Maori-only.[4] This number is almost 8,000 less than the equivalent count in 1996, showing that those who identify as Maori-only in New Zealand are - as expected - on the decline. In 2006, people of Maori-only ethnicity represented 6.3 percent of the population – a considerable distance from the 14.6 percent officially claimed as the size of the Maori ethnic group that year.

The reality is that due to the rapid rate of intermarriage in New Zealand the boundaries of Maori ethnicity are blurring to such an extent that accurate ethnic categorisation has become almost impossible. As Simon Chapple explains, “Influenced by a bi-culturalism that views Maori and non-Maori populations as if they ran on separate parallel train tracks, the current conventional wisdom ignores the implications of intermarriage”. Yet he finds that the statistics in 1996 are far from immaterial - the partners of 7 out of 10 of the younger married and de-facto Maori ethnic group are non-Maori, and over half of Maori children now have a non-Maori parent. This means that claims that Maori are a distinct and growing population is a fiction - a political construct aimed at fulfilling elite tribal ambitions for money, power and resources.

With the world of Maori statistics and Maori funding totally politicised and lacking rigour, information based on this data should not be regarded as a true representation of the reality within New Zealand society. Why this situation has been allowed to continue is a serious question that deserves a serious answer.

In 1986, the year the ethnicity question was changed on the census form, 20,313 people objected by ticking the “other” box and writing “New Zealander”. In 1991, 20,800 did so, and in 1996, the number jumped to 58,614. By 2001, it had increased to 85,300, and at the last census in 2006, 429,429 people called themselves a “New Zealander”.

With ethnicity defined by Statistics NZ as “cultural identity based around commonly held values and beliefs”, it could be said that if 161 years after the New Zealand Constitution Act granted self-government to our Colony, we haven’t developed a unique New Zealand culture with common values and beliefs that would enable us to call ourselves “New Zealanders”, then there is something seriously wrong. Of course we have – it’s just that there are strong vested interests that do not want this ethnicity question to be changed.

In the end it may be that public pressure is the only way to get some honesty into our statistics. If that is the case, then here’s hoping that everyone who understands what’s going on ticks the “other” box and writes “New Zealander”. Census, authorities have admitted they are bracing themselves for even more people to take a stand against ethnic categorisation – maybe this time the numbers will force proper reform.

The other divisive official event is this week’s launch of the Maori Party’s Constitutional Advisory Panel’s “engagement” process. With its pre-determined objective of bringing the Treaty of Waitangi into a new written constitution as supreme law, a panel hand-picked to recommend this to the government, and a biased consultation process that puts special emphasis on Maori representation, this signals the beginning of a very divisive chapter in New Zealand’s race relations.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator Professor Elizabeth Rata, a member of our Independent Constitutional Review Panel, explains how she was invited by the government panel to share her views. In her article How should we engage with our government, Professor Rata outlines the concerns she has about the whole government review process, and in response to the question of why New Zealanders should participate in the constitutional review process, she states:

“Because retribalists and biculturalists are campaigning to have the Treaty included in a constitution. This must not happen if we are to remain a democratic nation. New Zealanders must stop the inclusion of the Treaty in our Constitution. I belong to a Group, the Independent Constitutional Review Panel that includes members from across the political spectrum. We are currently promoting the ‘Declaration of Equality’ to oppose the Government’s Constitutional Advisory Panel. 38,000 New Zealanders have already signed the Declaration. We regard the Government’s Advisory Panel as compromised by Treaty politics. Its 50/50 race-based membership makes that clear. Our concern is that the Government Panel has the funding and resources to promote its agenda for the inclusion of the Treaty in a constitution. A group such as ours has few resources in comparison.” Professor Rata’s full submission can be read HERE (- we are pleased to report that almost 41,000 people have now signed the Declaration of Equality).

Any proposed change to a country’s constitution is a very serious matter. But with half of the $4.1 million in funding for the government’s review earmarked specifically for consultation with Maori, the outcome of their process will be heavily weighted in favour of the powerful iwi elite and other radical supremacists. Their ambition is a Treaty-based constitution, with an iwi-based ruling class co-governing New Zealand.

Since New Zealanders will not get a fair hearing - nor fair representation - through the government’s consultation and review process, the Independent Constitutional Advisory Panel has set up a submission process of our own. We are now inviting public submissions for the “People’s Review”. We are committed to representing the views of the wider public fairly and in an unbiased manner to the government later this year.

With regards to the submission process, it is important to remember that many of the items in the Terms of Reference are essentially distractions from the Maori Party’s sole purpose – entrenching the Maori seats and enshrining the Treaty of Waitangi into a new written constitution as supreme law. Accordingly, it is these matters that should be the major focus for all submitters in the review, since they have the potential to seriously divide New Zealand society in the future.

The terms of reference for the constitutional review include the size of Parliament, the length of the term of Parliament and whether or not the term should be fixed, the size and number of electorates, including changing the method for calculating size; electoral integrity legislation; Maori representation including the Maori Electoral Option, Maori electoral participation, the Maori seats in Parliament and local government; the role of the Treaty of Waitangi within our constitutional arrangements; Bill of Rights issues including property rights and entrenchment; and a written constitution.

A simple guide we have prepared on these matters can be found HERE.

If you would like to make a submission in the People’s Review, please visit the www.ConstitutionalReview.org website and follow the “Make an on-line submission” link. Submissions close in September and will be presented to the government in the Independent Constitutional Advisory Panel’s report later this year.

In question 11 of the 2013 Census, when asked “Which ethnic group do you belong to?” should “New Zealander” be an option?

Click HERE to vote

*Read this week's poll comments daily HERE
*Last week 99% of voters opposed teachers being forced to promote a 'Maori world view' to students and 1% were in support ... read the comments HERE

1. The EU Times, The Netherlands to abandon multiculturalism
2. David Cameron, State multiculturalism has failed
3. Simon Chapple, Maori socio-economic disparity
4. Stats NZ, Quick Stats about Maori 2006

NZCPR Guest Commentary:

By Professor Elizabeth Rata

The third question asked for an example of how our constitutional arrangements
in the context of Maori representation at both a government and local government level works in practice. Once again I objected to the assumption that Maori representation is already operating within our constitutional arrangements. My answer was to object to what I referred to as an “unjustifiable creeping inclusion”.

I said: “The idea of the so-called Treaty partnership has been placed into our institutions and practices despite it being anti-democratic and hence unjustifiable and impracticable. It is the result of the huge influence of a small group of powerful biculturalists and iwi lobbyists but it is opposed by most New Zealanders. The Government Constitutional Advisory Panel is a good example of this creeping inclusion. 50 percent of its members were chosen because of their race. That is confusing political status with identity – the point I make above. The latest Maori representation strategy is ‘co-governance’. An example is the proposed co-governance of the Hauraki Gulf with 50 percent Maori and 50 percent representation from all the other groups with an interest in the Hauraki Gulf. This is very very serious. It gives one race-based group unaccountable power and takes away the justified and accountable power from the others.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>


Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>


Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>


Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>


PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>


Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>


'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>


Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news