THOMAS CRANMER: Challenging progressivism in New Zealand’s culture wars

  • Thomas Cranmer writes

 Like it or not, the culture wars have entered New Zealand politics and look set to broaden and intensify.

The culture wars are often viewed as an exclusively American phenomenon, but the reality is that they are becoming increasingly prominent in countries around the world, including New Zealand.

Some may believe that they are immune to their influence, but the truth is that these battles have already entered New Zealand politics and are being enthusiastically fought by the Labour government and the political left. Instinctively, right-leaning parties in New Zealand have shied away from culture war issues, preferring instead to focus on their traditional core policies. But whether we like it or not, the game is afoot, and we are all players.

So, what exactly are the culture wars? In essence, they are political conflicts that revolve around social and cultural issues, such as gender, race, sexuality, religion, and identity. The term was coined in the United States during the 1990s to describe the heated debates that were taking place between conservatives and progressives over issues like abortion, affirmative action, and gay rights. However, the scope of culture wars has since expanded to encompass a wide range of issues, from free speech and cancel culture to critical race theory and the role of the media in shaping public opinion. Continue reading “THOMAS CRANMER: Challenging progressivism in New Zealand’s culture wars”

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”

Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup: The need to depoliticise the public service

  • Dr Bryce Edwards writes – 

Is the Chair of Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand, Rob Campbell, trying to rid himself of a job he no longer wants? The idea that he’s trying to get himself fired is the most obvious conclusion to draw from his overt attempts over the weekend to stoke up opposition to the National Party’s Three Waters reform proposals.

The health boss has published his strident views on the National Party and its leader, implying they are being racist. His partisan statement is a clear breach of the code of conduct for senior public servants like himself.

Such politicised public statements are not normally acceptable from what is meant to be an impartial and professional public service. The bureaucracy serves the public and democracy best when it is not operating along partisan lines nor helping the election chances of one political party or another. Continue reading “Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup: The need to depoliticise the public service”

Thomas Cranmer: Tūhoe – “co-governance is not our word”

Recently obtained board minutes from Te Urewera reveal a troubled relationship between the Board and Crown, a Board that rejects the term ‘co-governance’ and is wary of the court of public opinion.  THOMAS CRANMER writes –

Last week Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson admitted that the ship had sailed on explaining co-governance to the public, which is why he conceded that it needs to be reframed in a way it can be understood.

Jackson believes that he’s worked out the two areas the Government has gone wrong with explaining co-governance.

The first was the vacuum that was created because of Jackson and Mahuta being left to carry the load and second, he believes, is the way co-governance has been broadened out across a number of different areas “without defining it”.

Whilst Jackson believes that most New Zealanders understand co-governance from a Treaty of Waitangi and rights perspective, such as the settlements negotiated with iwi, Jackson says there’s a second type – social equity co-governance – that has been misunderstood.

Continue reading “Thomas Cranmer: Tūhoe – “co-governance is not our word””

Mahuta was on a Foreign Affairs mission at Waitangi Weekend – but Jackson kept “co-governance” alive for party politicking

Buzz from the Beehive

We found just one fresh announcement on the Beehive website this morning, when we made our first visit since 4 February.   It was posted in the name of Nanaia Mahuta, our Minister of Foreign Affairs, and explained why she was not at Waitangi at the weekend.

Two more statements were posted later in the day.

Both of them bestow benefits on Maori.

The treats of Waitangi, you might say…

Pākinga Pā site to be gifted back to local hapū

An historic Northland pā site with links to Ngāpuhi chief Hongi Hika is to be handed back to iwi, after collaboration by government, private landowners and local hapū.

New initiatives to unlock Māori science and research resources

The Government is investing in a suite of initiatives to unlock Māori and Pacific resources, talent and knowledge across the science and research sector. Continue reading “Mahuta was on a Foreign Affairs mission at Waitangi Weekend – but Jackson kept “co-governance” alive for party politicking”

Brian Easton: Co-Governance

THE (new) Prime Minister said nobody understands what co-governance means, later modified to that there were so many varying interpretations that there was no common understanding.  BRIAN EASTON writes:

Co-governance cannot be derived from the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It does not use the word. It refers to ‘government’ on only three occasions.

Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions. (Article 4)

The organs and specialized agencies of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations shall contribute to the full realization of the provisions of this Declaration … (Article 41) Continue reading “Brian Easton: Co-Governance”

Chris Trotter: Blowing off the froth – why Chris Hipkins must ditch Three Waters

Time To Call A Halt: Chris Hipkins knows that iwi leaders possess the means to make life very difficult for his government. Notwithstanding their objections, however, the Prime Minister’s direction of travel – already clearly signalled by his very public demotion of Nanaia Mahuta – must be confirmed by an emphatic and unequivocal pledge to repeal the Three Waters legislation and start again.  CHRIS TROTTER writes…

THERE’S FROTH, AND THERE’S BEER. What we see happening on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds every 6 February, not to mention the political performance-art on the lower marae, is froth.

The beer of Māori-Pakeha relations is to be found in the private meeting rooms of Waitangi’s Copthorne Hotel & Resort, where the National Iwi Chairs Forum (NICF) deliberates in secret upon Maoridom’s next moves. It is there, in the days leading up to Waitangi Day, that New Zealand’s new Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins, will either face down the men and women driving the stake of co-governance into the heart of the Settler State – or see Labour spiral slowly to defeat.

The designation “Iwi Chairs” seems so innocuous. It conjures up the image of a roomful of corporate bureaucrats working their way through a very boring agenda, and breaking-off every now and then to listen to equally boring presentations from bankers, accountants and the occasional politician. Continue reading “Chris Trotter: Blowing off the froth – why Chris Hipkins must ditch Three Waters”

You could dismiss co-governance critics as racist – or you could consult Thomas Cranmer (and see how it has worked for Tuhoe)

To challenge the Government’s promotion of co-governance, to share power between Maori and public authorities and agencies, is to invite accusations of racism.

An example: this article by Martyn Bradbury on The Daily Blog headed Luxon’s race baiting hypocrisy at Ratana.

The article was triggered by National leader Christopher Luxon, speaking on the Ratana marae, claiming the co-governance conversation has  become “divisive and immature”.

Bradbury counters: Continue reading “You could dismiss co-governance critics as racist – or you could consult Thomas Cranmer (and see how it has worked for Tuhoe)”

Alas, we must rely on the media to find what our leaders said while pitching for the Maori vote at Ratana

Buzz from the Beehive

A great deal has happened since January 19.

Among other things, a new Prime Minister and deputy have been sworn in and our leaders (past, present and aspiring) have delivered speeches at Ratana.

Newshub reported that politicians of all stripes had descended upon Rātana for the unofficial start of the political year.

Jacinda Ardern has delivered her final speech as Prime Minister on Tuesday afternoon, following remarks from incoming Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.

National leader Christopher Luxon was also at Rātana for the first time. He was welcomed alongside Te Pāti Māori on Tuesday morning.

Luxon – you will learn much further down in the Newshub report – delivered a speech, too.

But the spotlight was turned first on Ardern: Continue reading “Alas, we must rely on the media to find what our leaders said while pitching for the Maori vote at Ratana”

Thomas Cranmer:  Chris Hipkins on co-governance – “No-one understands what it means”

New Zealand has another Prime Minister who does not have a basic grasp of the three articles of the Treaty of Waitangi. THOMAS CRANMER writes:

It is simply astonishing that New Zealand’s next Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins, is unable to give even a brief explanation of the three articles of the Treaty of Waitangi. It is all the more astonishing when one considers that Hipkins, a career politician, has been a senior Minister of the Ardern government since 2017.

Treaty issues have been embedded in a great number of this government’s major policy initiatives and many statutory roles created by new legislation require expertise in the principles of the Treaty. Apparently that’s not a requirement when you’re applying to be Prime Minister.

In 2019 then Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern needed to be prompted by Willie Jackson to repeat “kāwanatanga” when she was asked by a reporter what Article 1 of the Treaty says.

This week, when asked to name the three articles of the Treaty, Chris Hipkins replied,

“We have kāwanatanga, tino rangatiratanga, and, actually no, I can’t remember the other, sorry.”

Continue reading “Thomas Cranmer:  Chris Hipkins on co-governance – “No-one understands what it means””