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

Gordon Campbell:
On The National Leadership “Contest”

Key’s endorsement of English has turned this “contest” into a race for second place.

This succession was well planned. Lets not forget that English was told by Key in September of his intention to resign, and English was the only member of Cabinet entrusted with that information before it was sprung on everyone else on Monday morning. More>>

Latest: Judith Collins and Jonathan Coleman have withdrawn from the leadership race, leaving Bill English the only candidate to replace John Key as Prime Minister.

 

Education, Marketing, Taxes: Health Groups Call For Actions For Sugary Drinks

The New Zealand Dental Association is launching a new consensus statement on Sugary Drinks endorsed by key health organisations. The actions seek to reduce harm caused by sugary drinks consumption. More>>

ALSO:

More Departures? David Shearer Proposed For UN Peacekeeping Role

Mt Albert MP David Shearer is being proposed for a demanding and exciting role heading the United Nations peacekeeping force in South Sudan, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. More>>

ALSO:

Security Agencies' Reports: GCSB Wants To Give ISPs More Power To Block Threats

The Government Communications Security Bureau wants to give internet service providers more information and power to block cyber threats which are increasing, its director told the intelligence and security select committee yesterday.. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Charter Schools Misleading Pass Rates

Labour: NCEA results for charter schools have been massively overstated... In one case a school reported a 93.3 per cent pass rate when the facts show only 6.7 per cent of leavers achieved NCEA level two. More>>

ALSO:

Rebstock Report Resolution: SSC Apologises To Derek Leask And Nigel Fyfe

Following a complaint by Mr Leask, the Ombudsman found that the State Services Commission acted unreasonably in relation to Mr Leask and identified numerous deficiencies in the investigation process and in the publication of the final report and in the criticisms it contained of Mr Leask... More>>

ALSO:

International Rankings: Student Results 'Show More Resourcing Needed'

NZEI: New Zealand had only held relatively steady in international rankings in some areas because the average achievement for several other OECD countries had lowered the OECD average -- not because our student achievement has improved. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Salvation Army Report: Beyond The Prison Gate Report

A new Salvation Army report says changes must be made to how prisoners re-enter society for New Zealanders to feel safe and secure in their homes and communities. More>>

ALSO:

Surprise Exit: Gordon Campbell On The Key Resignation

The resignation of John Key is one thing. The way that Key and his deputy Bill English have screwed the scrum on the leadership succession vote (due on December 12) is something else again. It remains to be seen whether the party caucus – ie, the ambitious likes of Steven Joyce, Judith Collins, Paula Bennett, and Amy Adams – will simply roll over... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news