Ae Marika: Drinking and blinking
Drinking and blinking
Remember last December when Senior Constable Brian Camplin said there’d been an increase of young people drunk driving? Well last week, I contacted the police station again to see whether things had gotten any better in the past 12 months and they hadn't.
Not long ago, a young woman was killed down Whangarei way when a 17-year-old drunk driver lost control while speeding. Last month, a 16-year-old, three times over the limit and pissed out of his tiny little brain, was busted for doing massive burnouts out Taipa, while kids were playing nearby. And just before that, a 17-year-old took police on a hair-raising 200 km/h chase through Taipa, Coopers Beach and Mangonui before he got stopped – and he was four times over the limit!
Well, last week 121 politicians got the opportunity to do something about it, by voting to raise the drinking age from 18 to 20 – and 71 of them copped out.
It was a conscience vote, so all the MPs were free to vote how they felt, and yet still, 71 of them dropped the bottle and we missed a chance to take a positive step to reduce youth drinking.
Some of those 71 MPs might want to take a late night ride with their local police to see what carnage they have voted to let continue, and next time we might just win this vote.
On another note, by the time you read this, I’ll be up in Canada with indigenous people from all round the world at the United Nations Expert Seminar on Treaties, Agreements and other Constructive Arrangements between States and Indigenous Peoples. Gee, you need a degree just to say the name of the hui!
Claire Charteris of the Aotearoa Indigenous Rights Trust went a couple of years ago. She has been a key player in raising Maori issues before the United Nations, and trying (unsuccessfully) to get the NZ government to support the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I hope to add to the good work that she has been doing over the past few years.
And to show how badly our government treats indigenous rights, I thought I’d share something the US President said on the topic. In 2004, he was asked, “What do you think tribal sovereignty means in the 21st century?” to which he replied, “Tribal sovereignty means that, it's sovereign … you have been given sovereignty and you're viewed as a sovereign entity.”
Now I ain’t no fan of George W Bush, but it seems to me he’s got a simple straightforward view of tribal sovereignty that Helen Clark and Don Brash might want to consider.
Some of the Mohawk nations still travel on their own passports. I might get me one.
I’ll be back home by the time my next column comes out, so I’ll give you the scoops on the big chill.
Tai Tokerau MP