MICHAEL BASSETT: Kelvin Davis exposes the flaws in Labour’s Maori policy

  • Michael Bassett writes –

When Kelvin Davis addressed a conference of indigenous Australians yesterday it is doubtful whether the Minister for Maori Crown Relations intended to damage the credibility of his government’s Maori policies, but that’s what he did. If the New Zealand Herald is to be believed, first, he used an incorrect translation of the Treaty of Waitangi instead of the Sir Hugh Kawharu translation that the previous Labour government celebrated at the 150th anniversary of its signing in 1990. Davis claimed that Article Three of the Treaty guaranteed Maori “the same rights and privileges of British subjects”.

In fact, Article Three guarantees Maori “the same rights and duties of citizenship”. Small difference in wording, I agree, but the mention of “duties” is significant when it comes to Maori rights. These days all too many Maori spokespeople prefer to interpret the Treaty as promising Maori an armchair ride to prosperity rather than something they have to work for, like other New Zealanders.

Davis is one of them. In his speech he went on to explain that under the Treaty Maori had

‘… the right to an education that led to outcomes as good as those of any other New Zealander, and the right to a health system that allowed Maori to live as long as any other New Zealander. The focus had to be on equity of outcomes, not just equality”.

Continue reading “MICHAEL BASSETT: Kelvin Davis exposes the flaws in Labour’s Maori policy”

Not as simple as it looks

The international commentariat may be forgiven for believing new PM Chris Hipkins has relaunched the government rather well. 

First a clever pivot to the centre and now a compassionate and inclusive focus on disaster recovery.

Giving credence to rumours that the key strategic brains agreed and executed a skilful change of direction rather well.

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Karl du Fresne: What New Zealanders (that is to say, ordinary New Zealanders) think about the name Aotearoa

  • Karl du Fresne writes – 

The jury has returned its verdict, and it’s emphatic. New Zealanders want the country’s name left as it is.

In a Newshub-Reid Research poll, respondents were asked what they thought New Zealand should be known as.

Fifty-two percent wanted the country to be called New Zealand, pure and simple. Thirty-six percent wanted Aotearoa in the mix, as in the ungainly, bob-each-way formulation Aotearoa-New Zealand.

But here’s the crunch: only 9.6 percent of those polled thought the country should be renamed Aotearoa. This is a resounding rebuff to the political, bureaucratic, academic and media elites who have tried for years to impose Aotearoa by sheer frequency of usage. Continue reading “Karl du Fresne: What New Zealanders (that is to say, ordinary New Zealanders) think about the name Aotearoa”

Princess in fairy tale but happy ending unlikely

For people who sought to escape from the glare of unwelcome publicity, Harry and Meghan Windsor show no signs of going away.

Their latest business venture – an eponymous blockbuster Netflix docudrama – may or may not prove a success but there is no question that it’s on a grand scale.

Continue reading “Princess in fairy tale but happy ending unlikely”

BRYCE EDWARDS’ Political Roundup: New Zealand’s social cohesion is being torn apart

Dr Bryce Edwards writes – 

New Zealand is becoming a less socially cohesive country. And the driver of this division is worsening inequality. That’s the view of most New Zealanders according to a survey conducted for the New Zealand Herald. It shows that inequalities of wealth and housing access are tearing the country apart.
The survey of 1000 people run by research company Dynata in late November showed that 64 per cent of the public thought that New Zealand society is becoming more divided. Only 16 per cent thought NZ has become more united in the last few years.
This survey backs up an earlier one carried out in January by Curia Research in which a large majority of 72 per cent said that we are more divided, with only 10 per cent believing we are less divided.
The cause of disunity: inequality
It is the unequal distribution of wealth that most New Zealanders believe is at the heart of this decline. According to the Herald’s survey, 74 per cent believe that wealth inequality is pushing us apart. In addition, when asked if “Our distribution of wealth is fair and good for the country”, 46 per cent disagreed and only 24 per cent agreed. Continue reading “BRYCE EDWARDS’ Political Roundup: New Zealand’s social cohesion is being torn apart”

Ukraine: what’s to negotiate?

As the Kremlin’s spokesman tells us – somewhat improbably – that regime change was never Vladimir Putin’s goal, the debate on whether Russia and Ukraine should be negotiating gets another bounce.

Depressing – but necessary – to bear in mind that a settlement will rest more on power than on justice.

Some other lessons from the conflict also seem to be getting neglected.

Continue reading “Ukraine: what’s to negotiate?”

Is the Bird free?

Well, Elon Musk certainly is.

The man is shaping as the Gordian knot cutter of the age. Or at the very least, the one able to set the most hares running.

This seems unlikely to get much credit from New Zealand’s authorities (read Thomas Cranmer on their differences).

But then not many people could – or would – take over a stagnant global media platform.  Then immediately fire its entire top team.  To be followed by the swift departure of half its workforce. Oh – and end home-working.

Continue reading “Is the Bird free?”

Just don’t call it creative destruction, Rishi

The MPs of Britain’s ruling Conservative party don’t lack confidence.

Having defenestrated PM Liz Truss, the choice of the non-Parliamentary party as leader, they decided to take no more silly risks, and installed their own choice, former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, without troubling to consult the membership.

Time will tell if the members thank them.

Continue reading “Just don’t call it creative destruction, Rishi”

Courtesy is so important in politics

It is perhaps unfortunate that the UK’s Conservative party MPs have never thanked the party members for saving them from the disaster of Theresa May’s premiership.

Perhaps they weren’t even grateful, seeing how quickly they recoiled at the members’ choice of Liz Truss.  Truss – who announced on Thursday she would step down – wasn’t even given enough time to dig a shallow grave, in contrast to May, who was indulgently permitted to erect an elaborate mausoleum and find out that no-one else would join her there.

Continue reading “Courtesy is so important in politics”

Truss government definitely helping some people

Who would have thought a change of leadership in Britain could bring so many problems.  Wait a little and PM Liz Truss will be blamed for an outbreak of bubonic plague.

Still it’s natural that the people responsible for the problems accumulated over the last decade – and accelerated during Covid time – are seizing the opportunity to pin the blame elsewhere.

Indeed, if you’re hoping it’s just a British thing you should be very worried by the growing number of prominent international centrists using this opportunity to burnish their own defences (see Larry Summers here and Jason Furman there) at the same time as putting in the boot.

The latest niggle is over the policies of Britain’s (boring, long-term, stable, highly-regulated) pension funds and their (boring etc) investments in government bonds.  Those most eager to see the government’s incompetence in everything might ask themselves why an industry which deals in lifetimes is apparently having difficulty dealing with not-entirely unexpected short-term market fluctuations.

They might even get the depressing vibe that all this is only the beginning of a torrent of problems, all demanding government attention – which really means money. (Yesterday’s announcement that Britain’s health service is bleeding out – even before the Truss government does – can be seen as the latest instalment in a never-ending saga.)

And which will all need to be paid for – as the markets reminded Truss.

The irony of Truss trying to get ahead of the problems but instead being sandbagged by them is well covered by Allister Heath in Britain’s Daily Telegraph.  But amusing visibility hasn’t made them easier to deal with.

So, like just about everyone else, Britain’s government is spending too much; it’s also taxing too much but still not enough to stop debt growing.  Interest rates going up will make the problem worse, while hammering the living standards of mortgagors; but the lure of more directed credit will eventually hammer growth.  

Meanwhile, low levels of growth in output and living standards look like getting worse.  But governments have spent years encouraging distortions which are now revealing their destructive potential –  substantial decreases in the productive labour force post-Covid; a growth in union militancy; business investment driven by cosy regulatory partnerships rather than market opportunities.  It has reached the stage that when the market delivers a rare positive shock, as with some energy producers, the first and loudest cries are for a windfall tax.

Any challenge to this status quo was bound to generate howls from the many craving protection or other privileges.  But it was less predictable that it would generate civil war in Truss’s own Conservative party.

Because surely the milk can’t be unspilt.  If the government limps back to the current orthodoxy, they risk becoming a less-convincing version of the Labour party.

But the task of imagining – let alone creating – a growth coalition has been shown to be daunting.

Working people need to be brought to the realisation that otherwise the future looks like more taxes and worse services.  Right now many cling to the hope that a few more rules and a few more taxes on a richer neighbour might do the job.  

Business will only come on board when it makes more reliable long-term profits by taking risk, than from closing it down by regulatory collusion.  

Beneficiaries ranking low in the priority of the orthodox woke will need to understand that their votes are more valuable elsewhere. 

And realistically these changes of outlook will probably only come as the wreckage of existing policy drifts ashore.

The recent dramatic changes in the cost and difficulty of securing carbon-based energy have, for example, served to bring into clear focus the even greater costs of marching to a bureaucrat’s carbon-free specification.  Some are even starting to understand that on current trends such a policy means a real decline in the quality of life (it’s one thing to imagine living car-free; another to have it imposed by London’s current mayor).

Perhaps the Truss government needs a string of global economic disasters to start making its points for it.

We can be confident that Vladimir Putin and a few other folks will be looking to help out on that one.