There was no fresh news from the Beehive (when we checked earlier today) since an announcement the other day about a cycle and walking track along the Wellington foreshore. Accordingly, Point of Order’s political team turned to find what other bloggers have been saying.
These are among the posts which raise issues of relevance to Waitangi Day (or Waitangi weekend) –
- Michael Bassett (historian and former Minister raises concerns about Labour’s history curriculum
- David Farrar (Kiwiblog) is perplexed by the government’s extraordinary generosity to Ngapuhi, which he sums up as $150 million for not settling!
- Under the heading Disproving the big lie, Farrar provides data which debunks government claims that race-based electorates must be established to ensure “equity” in local government representation.
Bassett raises serious questions about the credibility of the Ministry of Education and its proposals to rewrite this country’s history for school-teaching purposes by drawing attention to its ignorance of historical facts.
For example, far from rushing to add New Zealand to the British Empire, Britain was extremely cautious before dispatching William Hobson; the Colonial Office was seriously worried that the Musket Wars between Maori had reached the stage where nothing short of military intervention would protect Maori.
He takes issue with the “utterly depressing” presentation of the content and its emphasis on three “big ideas”!
Translated, the first one is that Maori history is fundamental to understanding everything about New Zealand. The second one, translated, is that the consequences of unstated, but implied, wicked colonization continue “to influence all aspects” of our history. The third is that colonists’ power exerted over the years has invariably inflicted damage, injustice and conflict on Maori.
Nothing about economic development which lifted New Zealand after the Treaty from a state of anarchy where 25% of the entire Maori workforce between 1810 and 1840 had been killed and eaten, and others enslaved. The development of the modern economy is of no account in the Ministry these days where no one seems to give a thought to where their salaries come from.
And, as I predicted, there’ll be no mention of the Musket Wars in the new curriculum. The government is intent on sanitizing our history, presumably in the hope that henceforth we’ll all “be kind”.
Bassett (for the record) has three degrees in history, was a senior lecturer in history and a member of the Waitangi Tribunal. He has published 13 history books and authored four biographies for the Dictionary of NZ Biography.
Farrar has commented tartly on news of a $150 million Crown investment fund to cover Ngāpuhi Treaty negotiations.
The fund will be operated by the Crown for the benefit of Ngāpuhi.
The purpose is to make a return on the money while long-running, and delayed, negotiations continue with the hapū of the northern iwi.
The bemused Farrar regards this as bizarre (as we do here at Point of Order).
By effectively granting the money up front, this removes the incentive to actually do a Treaty settlement. The fact that other Iwi have had their settlements and profiting from them acts as an incentive to settle.
I’m 100% in favour of Ngāpuhi receiving a large settlement for the wrongs done to them by the Crown. But the settlement needs to be, well, settled.
A much more critical issue in terms of the way we are governed is the Government’s intention to enact under urgency retrospective legislation that will cancel nine local referendums on whether or not to establish a Maori Ward in nine local authorities.
Farrar says this will disenfranchise several hundred thousand New Zealanders.
He notes the government’s contention that it is vital to have Maori wards, because without them, racist New Zealanders will not vote for Maori and they will be under-represented in local Government.
Nanaia Mahuta said that “Increasing Māori representation is essential to ensuring equity in representation”. This implies that there is a huge under-representation.
Farrar’s post includes a graph which exposes this as cobblers.
The graph starkly shows the proportion of local government elected officials who are Maori and the trend that Farrar describes as “remarkable, and very positive”.
Since 2004 the proportion of Maori has tripled from 4.2% to 13.5%. This shows that New Zealanders have been electing Maori to local authorities, without needing Maori wards.
Farrar says he is proud of the fact that New Zealand has such high levels of representation from the Maori population – both at central and local Government level.
What was a problem (arguably) in 2007 has been solved through more Maori standing for councils and more voters voting for them.
The 2018 census found 13.7% of adult New Zealanders were Maori. And the proportion elected in 2018 was 13.5%. Almost perfectly proportional.
So don’t fall for the big lie that Maori wards are needed to get adequate Maori representation on local authorities. It is simply false.
But do brace for the government persisting with the lie – and for its discriminatory legislation favouring one racial group while it ignores others in its attempt to ensure “equity”.