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

Joint Statement: Establishment Of NZ-China Strategic Partnership

At the invitation of Governor-General Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Prime Minister The Rt Hon John Key of New Zealand, President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China made a state visit to New Zealand from 19 to 21 November 2014.

During his visit, President Xi Jinping met with Governor-General Jerry Mateparae, and held talks with Prime Minister John Key. The leaders had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of common interest. More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Savings Targets: Health Procurement Plan Changes Direction

Next steps in implementing DHB shared services programme Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the Government has agreed to explore a proposal put forward by DHBs to move implementation of the shared services programme to a DHB-owned vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

More on Health Policy:

Auckland Unification: 'No IT Cost Blowout' (Just More Expensive)

Following discussion of an update on Auckland Council’s Information Services Transformational Programme at today’s Finance and Performance Committee, council has released the report publicly. More>>

ALSO:

Other Expensive Things:

Gordon Campbell: On The SAS Role Against Islamic State, And Podemos

Only 25% of the US bombing runs are even managing to locate IS targets worth bombing. As the NYT explains at length, this underlines the need for better on-the-ground intelligence to direct the air campaign to where the bad guys have holed up... More>>

ALSO:

Public Service: Commission Calls For Answers On Handling Of CERA Harassment

EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On Andrew Little’s Victory

So Andrew Little has won the leadership – by the narrowest possible margin – from Grant Robertson, and has already been depicted by commentators as being simultaneously (a) the creature of the trade unions and (b) the most centrist of the four candidates, which would be an interesting trick to see someone try in a game of Twister. More>>

ALSO:

China President Wishlists: Greens Welcome Xi, But Human Rights Need To Be On Agenda

“President Xi has made some progress on climate change, but he must also lift the Chinese government’s game on human rights issues,” Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said... It is important that our Government continues to urge the Chinese government to show restraint and respect human rights in both Tibet and the Xinjiang province.” More>>

ALSO:

Airport Security Breach: CAA Fines Minister

Minister Brownlee has been issued an infringement notice and is required to pay a $2000 infringement fine for breaching Civil Aviation Rule 19.357(b), which states no person may be in an airport security area without an appropriate identity card or document. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news