Muriel Newman of the New Zealand Center for Political Research flays the racist Maori Party.
Exposing the Real Agenda
It is not easy to rile New Zealanders, but Hone Harawira’s abusive email clearly did. By claiming that he was entitled to rip off taxpayers with his jaunt to Paris because Whities had been ripping off Maori for centuries, Hone Harawira exposed the racist thinking that underpins the Maori Party. As Labour’s former Tai Tokerau MP Dover Samuels said, Mr Harawira is “advocating what he really believes in. A lot of people sitting with him in Parliament believe the same thing”.
In fact, it could be said that Mr Harawira has done the country a favour with his outburst by reminding the public about the Maori Party’s agenda. Although the Maori Party sounds like it represents Maori it doesn’t. At the 2008 general election, the Maori Party gained only 56,000 votes, or 2.4 percent of the party vote. The vast majority of Maori voters chose to support mainstream parties rather than this radical party with its Maori sovereignty agenda.
The Maori Party wants Maori to win back control of New Zealand. In a world where the abolition of privilege is a central tenet of modern democratic reform, the Maori Party wants to create a world where the colour of one’s skin determines social and economic advantage. On its own, the creation of racial privilege for anyone calling themselves Maori is a preposterous notion. But with the acquiescence of John Key’s National Party, it is exceedingly dangerous.
The leadership of the Maori Party say they are mortified at the public backlash over their colleague’s behaviour. But what they are not saying is that they are desperate that this controversy does not spoil their plan to get their hands on the jewel in New Zealand’s crown – our foreshore and seabed – not to mention the $1 billion of “whanau ora” funding which National is planning to devolve direct to Maori communities for social services delivery.
Over the years, the Maori Party leadership has been at great pains to portray itself as mainstream and reasonable. Co-leaders Tariana Turia and Peter Sharples have it down to a fine art. Yet they rely on the public having a short memory, because it wasn’t too long ago that Ms Turia was being censored by Prime Minister Helen Clark for her radical views.
In a speech to the New Zealand Psychological Society Conference in August 2000, Ms Turia, as Labour’s Associate Minister of Maori Affairs, spoke extensively about the effects of colonisation on Maori. She called New Zealand’s first British settlers ‘invaders’ and ‘predators’ explaining that they committed atrocities similar to ‘home invasions’ on their Maori ‘victims’: “I can see the connections between ‘home invasions’ which concern many of us, to the invasion of the ‘home lands’ of indigenous people by a people from another land. What I have difficulty in reconciling is how ‘home invasions’ emits such outpourings of concern for the victims and an intense despising of the invaders while the invasion of the ‘home lands’ of Maori does not engender the same level of emotion and concern for the Maori victims.”
Tariana Turia drew comparisons between the European colonisation of New Zealand and the Nazi holocaust: “Do you consider for example the effects of the trauma of colonisation? I understand that much of the research done in this area has focused on the trauma suffered by the Jewish survivors of the holocaust of World War Two. What seems to not have received similar attention is the holocaust suffered by indigenous people including Maori as a result of colonial contact and behaviour.”
And in her speech she reflected on the healing power of money, wondering how much “compensation” would be needed to alleviate the “intergenerational damage” done to Maori people.
This final point puts the Maori grievance philosophy into perspective – the perceived wrongs to ancestors who are long since dead will not be forgotten by their largely non-Maori relatives (thanks to rapid intermarriage) until each generation of taxpayers are forced to pay through the nose. A report prepared for Labour Prime Minister David Lange in 1989 by Richard Hill of the Justice Department documents the on-going pressure by claimants to settle claims, detailing how some of them had been settled numerous times. It brings into question the honesty of today’s claimants who conveniently forget that their grievances have already been fully settled years ago.
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