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

 


Māori Privilege

Māori Privilege


Contrary to what some may believe, Māori aren't privileged citizens of Aotearoa New Zealand. Dr (yes this guy is learned) Jamie Whyte and Winston Peters would obviously beg to differ, as their recent remarks clearly propagate a narrative that belongs in the 19th century. Analysing the situation, it's evident that two major discourses influenced the social actions taken by Peters and Whyte - election year politicking and the ugly social norm of the 'One Law for all' minority (a large minority).


In regards to the first discourse, Whyte and Peters see a political opportunity provided to them on a plate. Let's face it, John Key was never going to give Colin Craig the nod. The Conservative leader is just too much maintenance to handle, quite simply the cons outweigh the pros. Monday's no deal announcement pretty much closed the door for Craig but opened up another door for more 'reliable' (an oxymoron in this case) coalition partners. Queue Whyte, looking to bank on the right-wing voters that were giving the Conservatives a healthy average of 2.5%. After Key gave the thumbs up to David Seymour in Epsom, it would be humiliating if ACT (currently on 0%) failed to get the additional votes needed to get Whyte into parliament, thus the motivation to go fishing on Craig's constituency.


Winston is a political survivor, and is probably looking to maximize on the Conservatives' voters too. In his political career Winston has done what's best for Winston. Ironically the Minister for Māori Affairs in 1990, Peters has since found his 'niche market' in the anti-immigrant and anti-Māori constituency. Wavering just below the MMP threshold, Winston is playing his cards for survival and banking on the old "Māori separatism" narrative to solidify his political future. Winston has distanced himself from Key's National government over the past year, but who could forget his pivotal 7 week charade post-elections in 1996. As Craig becomes more and more irrelevant by the day, Winston is again looking like the 'kingmaker' - he knows if he can secure the conservative-right-wing-One-Law-for-All votes, then NZ First will bump over the 5% threshold.


In regards to the second discourse, Whyte and Winston utilize an ugly 'social fact' - that Māori are privileged - an ideal believed by some even in light of socio-economic disparities. In his speech to a Waikato conference, Jamie Whyte described Māori as "legally privileged in New Zealand today, just as the Aristocracy were legally privileged in pre-revolutionary France."[1] I'm wondering, by privileged does he mean being at the bottom of all social indicators? By Aristocracy does Whyte mean 39% of children living in high deprivation standards; 13.3% unemployment rate; 50% of the prison populace; and "living 7.9 (female) and 8.6 (male) years less than other New Zealanders?"[2] For some reason, I don't think the above paints a picture of a privileged people. Yet some believe otherwise, and this constituency is the group that Whyte and Peters can depend on.


So what does Māori privilege look like? Well on TV One's Breakfast show this morning, Whyte described the Māori electorates and Iwi 'Advisory' Boards (key word advisory) as an upper hand. This type of rhetoric harkens back to the days of Don Brash, who said that "we are one country with many peoples, not simply a society of Pakeha and Maori where the minority has a birth right to the upper hand."[3] It's ironic that a lot of people that propagate or listen to this narrative are well educated. It appears that knowledge doesn't always equate with wisdom (let alone insight), as both Brash and Whyte (who both have a PhD) have trumpeted an illogical logic of neo-colonial racism. Even Winston Peters is calling for the abolition of the Māori seats because they're "extraordinarily damaging for this country."[4] This is pretty hypocritical of Peters, as his party NZ First won all the Māori seats in 1996. The simple fact is that the three aspects - Māori electorates, advisory boards and university scholarships - that are circulated as the characteristics of Māori privilege are far from anything aristocratic.


Indigenous rights are different from aristocratic privilege, and should be honoured. Yes Māori have rights as do all New Zealanders; the only point of difference is 'Indigeneity'. Article 15 of the 2007 UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights, states that indigenous peoples: have a right to the "dignity and diversity of their culture". As an indigenous peoples groups, Māori have a unique relationship with Aotearoa. This may seem undemocratic but sometimes democracy isn't just in and of itself - minority groups always come off second best in a 'majority rules' political environment. You know what's undemocratic? Colonization, but I guess I'm just being ungrateful for my so called 'privilege'. Jamie Whyte and Winston Peters want to get rid of the Māori electorates and other forms of affirmative action. But would New Zealand politics ever come to the point where the Māori electorates are scrapped? Well ironically, in 2008 Key said that National wanted to do away with the Māori seats in Parliament once all historical Treaty settlements are finalized.[5] As National's constituency continues to boom, relying on coalition partners who are similar in race-relation ideology seems more than likely.


This is my Māori privilege: The only 'privilege' I've ever received was being pinned up between a police car and a fence just because I met the suspect's description (I was walking home after Uni). The only 'goods' I've received is the 'Police 10/7' look I get when I go into a restaurant or shop. I didn't get into Uni because I'm Māori and I've got a student loan the size of a mortgage. The only 'aristocracy' I know is being part of a peoples group that's told to get over colonisation. This is my sociological bias, my narrative that is far from the 'privileged' ideal held onto by some in New Zealand society.


There is no Māori privilege, just a socially constructed norm used to get right-wing politicians into parliament and further entrench a negative perception about the indigenous peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand.


________________________________________

[1] Jamie Whyte Speech: Race has no place in the law http://www.act.org.nz/?q=posts/speech-race-has-no-place-in-the-law

[2] T.K Lewis. Māori = Privileged citizens? http://community.scoop.co.nz/2013/04/maori-privileged-citizens/

[3] T.K Lewis. Māori = Privileged citizens? http://community.scoop.co.nz/2013/04/maori-privileged-citizens/

[4] Winston Peters. No Deal http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10324092/Peters-No-deal-with-Maori-Mana

[5] John Key http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10534713


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

  • Second Readings To Continue
  • House Rises Interrupting RNZ Bill
  • Standards Bill Progresses
  • Controversy Over Non-Controversial Bill
  • Questions and Answers – May 19
  • Parliament Today 19-05-15
  • Environmental Reporting Bill Progresses
  • Access Week in Parliament 19-05-15

  • TPPA: University Of Auckland Warns Of Negative TPP Impact

    The University of Auckland May 20, 2015 University of Auckland Warns of Negative TPP Impact With the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiation drawing to a close, the University of Auckland has expressed serious concerns about its potential implications. ... More>>

    NZ Flag: Flag Referendum Gets Hit Hard In New Poll

    The latest Campbell Live text poll confirms it is time for the Prime Minister to listen to the public and shelve his flag referendum, says the New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>

    Gordon Campbell: The Government’s Belated Moves On Property Speculation

    Is it a property tax on capital gains or a capital gains tax on property? The Jesuitical distinctions in the government’s spin about its latest moves on property speculators are all about whether the government can claim that it jumped, or confess that it ... More>>

    Grant Robertson:
    Key Can’t Just Be Prime Minister For Parnell

    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In a ... More>>

    Labour Party: More Regional Jobs Go In Corrections Reshape

    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka ... More>>

    ALSO:

  • NZ First - Prison Job Losses to Send Money Offshore
  • TPPA: ‘Team Obama’ Regroups On Fast Track, Still Not Deliverable

    ‘After yesterday’s stinging and unexpected defeat for the Obama administration’s attempt to advance Fast Track legislation in the US Senate, Senate leaders have worked up a compromise they think will get them past this blockage’, according to Auckland ... More>>

    NZ Government: 5,500 More Doctors And Nurses In Our Hospitals

    Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a record number of doctors and nurses are working in District Health Boards across the country. More>>

    Controller and Auditor General: Katherine Rich Conflict of Interest Decision

    We are writing to you about a matter that has been raised with us by members of the public. More>>

    ALSO:


    Budget 2015: Andrew Little On The 2015 Budget

    Speaking to the Chamber of Commerce, the Labour opposition leader attacked the government’s approach to economic issues facing New Zealand. He said they have been “more than reckless in their complacency” and “the next week’s budget will do nothing ... More>>

    Defence Force: NZDF Building Partner Capacity Mission Personnel In Iraq

    NZDF Building Partner Capacity Mission Personnel in Iraq The New Zealand Defence Force Building Partner Capacity training mission contingent is in place at Taji Military Complex in Iraq. The Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating says the ... More>>

    PM Press Conference: ACC Levy Cuts Announced

    In a press conference this afternoon in Wellington, ACC Minister Nikki Kaye proposed $500 million worth of ACC levy cuts. More>>

    Quakes: New Process For Red Zone Crown Offers

    Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced a process to give everyone a say on the Crown offers to owners of vacant, commercial/industrial and uninsured properties in the Residential Red Zone. More>>

    ALSO:

    Gordon Campbell: On The Battle Obama Is Waging Over The TPP

    For the past two and a half years, this column has been arguing that the fate of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal will hinge on whether US President Barack Obama can win Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) from Congress... Last week, the White House finally, finally unveiled a draft TPA Bill. More>>

    ALSO:


    Gordon Campbell: On lessons for Labour from the UK election
    If the polls were right – and the pollsters kept telling us how accurate they’d been in 2010, and even Nate Silver was getting the same results – there seemed no way that the British Labour Party could lose last Thursday’s British election. With Labour predicted to win around 270 seats and the Scottish National Party batting around 55-60 seats, Labour seemed to be home free. But…as we now know, things didn’t turn out that way. Labour ended up with 232 seats and the Conservatives swept back to power with an outright majority, after winning only a little more than a third ( 36.9%) of the votes cast.MORE >>
    Also.

  • NZ PM John Key - PM congratulates David Cameron after UK election
  • The Nation IV Transcript - Hack Attack author Nick Davies
  • Get More From Scoop

     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Politics
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news