Hobson’s Pledge a ‘divisive group of haters’

Hobson’s Pledge, led by Don Brash, has always been controversial. The Māori Council wants them investigated, believing that an accumulation of statements and behaviour justifies a complaint being made to the Human Rights Commission. saying they are inciting racism and violence.

This is getting into tricky territory in the free speech versus hate speech debate.

Stuff: ‘Divisive group of haters’ in Hobson’s Pledge must be investigated, Māori Council says

The New Zealand Māori Council said on Wednesday it had asked the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to investigate the group, which is led by former National Party and Act leader Don Brash.

Hobson’s Pledge was formed in 2016 and campaigns against what it says is preferential treatment given to Māori.

New Zealand Māori Council executive director Matthew Tukaki said the council had made the move because “no one’s called them out”.

Plenty of people have criticised Brash and Hobson’s Pledge, but this may be the first time a complaint against them has been made to the HRC.

He hoped the HRC would censure the group.

He said the “accumulation” of Hobson’s Pledge’s behaviour and statements, rather than any one incident, influenced the decision to go to the HRC.

Tukaki also said Hobson’s Pledge was “nothing more than a divisive group of haters who would do nothing more than send us all back to the dark ages”.

“They may wear suits and drive around in late model expensive European cars … but they are nothing more than a gang of misfits that seek to incite hate and divide the country.

“They should be held to account,” Tukaki said.

“They’re creating an environment…in which hate is breeding and not just breeding but duplicating and replicating.”

Tukaki said the Māori Council was concerned that comments Hobson’s Pledge leaders had made in public constituted “incitement to both violence and racism, hate and the segregation of New Zealand society”.

This has a risk of creating publicity for what is  fringe group that is usually ignored.

Hobsons’ Pledge spokesman Don Brash said claims of racism were “absolutely outrageously stupid” and he was taking legal advice.

“It’s a serious accusation … not only of racism, but also of advocating violence.”

“I’m deeply saddened that the Māori Council, which used to be a group of eminent and respected people, should descend to this kind of silly name-calling.

“I have a four-year-old Korean Hyundai, for the sake of the record.”

An odd comment. Owning a particular brand of car doesn’t rule out being a racist.

Brash said if the HRC censured Hobson’s Pledge it would prove the Commission “has absolutely lost its marbles”.

“We’re in favour of a single standard of citizenship for all.”

That’s probably an impossible ideal.

He said the Māori Council was probably attacking Hobson’s Pledge because the lobby group “was actually having an impact”.

The complaint is that Hobson’s Pledge is having a bad impact – “They’re creating an environment…in which hate is breeding and not just breeding but duplicating and replicating.”

I doubt that Brash and Hobson’s Pledge are having much if any impact beyond those who already have hates about what they perceive as unequal treatment of Māori. I doubt they are breeding any more of it.

I don’t think that Brash is a hater, he’s just trying to preach to the already converted who think that non-Māori are somehow disadvantaged because attempts are being made to address disadvantages for Māori.

Don Brash championing Apirana Ngata, but…

Sir Āpirana Turupa Ngata (3 July 1874 – 14 July 1950) was a prominent New Zealand politician and lawyer. He has often been described as the foremost Māori politician to have ever served in Parliament, and is also known for his work in promoting and protecting Māori culture and language. – Wikipedia

From Don Brash’s Waitangi speech:

Let me make one other point about the dangers of dependence. Many years ago, at the advent of the modern welfare state, Sir Apirana Ngata, in my opinion one of New Zealand’s greatest Maori leaders – and a man I was privileged to put on New Zealand’s $50 bank note – warned of the serious damage which the welfare state would do to Maori society.

He believed that readily available welfare would erode the proud tradition of independence which most Maori had. And I believe his warning has been amply borne out, with a disproportionately high proportion of those on the unemployment benefit, and on the single parent benefit, being Maori.

Decades after he gave that warning, when I was Governor of the Reserve Bank, I met with a prominent kuia at her request. She wanted to talk about Maori unemployment. After a very long discussion, I finally asked her what she would want me to do if by some chance I found myself in the position of a benevolent dictator. Without hesitating she replied “Abolish the dole with effect from the first of January”.

I thought at first she was joking, and asked her to explain herself.

She said that “Unfortunately too many of my people don’t have many skills. They can’t live well on the dole but with three or four of them in the same house all getting the dole, and a few under the table cash jobs, they can live adequately on the dole, and that’s a disaster.”

She was deadly serious, and in a sense was simply echoing what Sir Apirana Ngata said 80 years ago.

Scott Hamilton (via @SikotiHamiltonR):


During his speech at Te Tii, Don Brash invoked Apirana Ngata. For Brash & other conservative Pakeha, Ngata has long been a talisman. They see the famous leader as an advocate of assimilation & opponent of statism & race-based policies. But how accurate is such a view?

Again & again, Brash has insisted that Ngata opposed state funding for Maori-specific projects. It seems that Brash has never heard of the ambitious Native Lands Development Schemes, which Ngata created & monitored after he became a minister in the Forbes government elected in 1928.

 

For decades Ngata had been trying to consolidate Maori land holdings. After winning his cabinet post in 1928, he was able to acquire govt funds to pay for the development of consolidated Maori land. One iwi after joined his schemes. Weeds were pulled, fences built, stock bought

From the beginning, many Pakeha politicians were suspicious of Ngata’s land development schemes. They complained of money being aimed at Maori. Ngata pointed out, in response, that for many decades Pakeha farmers had enjoyed subsidies & infrastructure spending denied to Maori.

The land schemes were just one part of Ngata’s quest to revitalise a nation devastated by war & land theft. He also worked hard to restore his people’s culture, founding a school for carvers & teaching dance to young people.

How would he feel about Brash’s denigration of haka?

Brash & other Pakeha conservatives have praised intermarriage, which they see as diluting Maori identity & thereby bringing them into the ‘mainstream’ of NZ, aka Pakeha, society. Ngata didn’t share their enthusiasm. Fascinated by eugenics, he wanted to keep Maori marrying Maori.

Brash & his ilk have a record of denigrating pre-Christian Maori spirituality, & of wanting it kept out of public ceremonies & off public sites. Ngata felt differently. As Ranginui Walker’s biography shows, he believed in the old gods & spirits, & awaited their signals.

Ngata talked of the ‘amalgamation of the races’ in NZ, by which he meant the entry of Maori into the institutions of the colonial state, & a role for them in governing that state. But he did not take this position because of the sort of fondness for colonialism Brash evinces.

Ngata accepted the NZ colonial state & opposed Maori separatism only because he believed the defeats in the wars of the 19th Century irreversible. When he became minister responsible for NZ’s Pacific colonies, he argued loudly against attempts to Westernise Niueans & Samoans.

In his speech at Te Tii, Brash presented colonialism & Westernisation as unqualified goods, & conditions for technological & material progress. But Ngata fought against attempts to export capitalism to Samoa, Niue, the Cooks, & defended those islands’ traditional economies.

If Brash wants to find precedents for his views in, then he should look not to Ngata but to the men who destroyed Ngata’s land development schemes. In 1932 papers condemned the scheme as separatist; in 1934 an all-Pakeha commission agreed. Ngata resigned from cabinet.

Last year, during an interview with Kim Hill, Brash invoked the myth of Moriori as a pre-Maori people. He was swiftly rebuked by Hill. Shouldn’t our journalists behave the same way when Brash egregiously misrepresents the facts about Apirana Ngata’s life & opinions?


It was actually December 2017: A play-by-play of Kim Hill’s medium rare roasting of Don Brash

“You see Māori as just another ethnic group?”

“Of course. Why are they not?”

“Because they’re tangata whenua.”

Don Brash disagrees with this, and brings up the Moriori, because at this point in every argument of this kind, where the racism is about as thinly veiled as a bride at her fifth wedding, someone brings up the Moriori, and every right-minded person listening to this screams at whatever listening device they’ve had to hear it from because that is a bullshit addition to every argument of this kind, and is intended not to continue the argument but to send it off the rails entirely.

This renders Kim Hill briefly speechless, she cuts the interview off with the most curt and savage:

“If only Sir Michael King were here today, thank you for your time, Dr Don Brash.”


Apirana Ngata (1874–1950), of Ngāti Porou, was born at Te Araroa on the East Coast. He graduated from Te Aute College, and later completed an MA and a law degree. He was the first Māori to complete a degree at a New Zealand University. He returned to the East Coast and became involved in improving Māori social and economic conditions. – NZ History

Sir Āpirana Turupa Ngata (3 July 1874 – 14 July 1950) was a prominent New Zealand politician and lawyer. He has often been described as the foremost Māori politician to have ever served in Parliament, and is also known for his work in promoting and protecting Māori culture and language. – Wikipedia

 

Nonsense to suggest Brash speaks on behalf of Pākehā

@MorganGodfery: “pākehā should stop letting don brash try to speak on their behalf”

Don Brash obviously speaks for himself. He may speak for Hobson’s Choice, at times at least. But it’s ridiculous to suggest that he speaks on behalf of ‘Pākehā’.  As a number of people on Twitter pointed out in response to Godfery.

I could agree with some things he has said and says, but I also disagree with things he has said.

I see myself as Pākehā but he certainly doesn’t speak on my behalf. He never has. I opposed him when he lead National and specifically voted against National getting into Government when he was their leader.

And it’s even more ridiculous to suggest that Pākehā should stop letting Brash try to speak at all. But Godfery reiterated this nonsense.

This seems to be increasingly common from younger people – demanding that people they don’t like be shut down or shut up.

It shows an alarming lack of awareness of the importance of free speech in a democratic society.

But it’s not just younger people.

Don Brash’s Waitangi speech – out of date, out of touch

PartisanZ / February 6, 2019

Extraordinary … I just now watched Don Brash’s whole speech on FaceBook …

He began by presenting his kaupapa, which was perfectly reasonable: How can Ngapuhi and Maori improve their economic position … and economics in general …

Then he immediately diverged from his stated kaupapa. He proceeded first to insult his hosts, by expressing his ‘opinion’ on the general uselessness of their language, te reo – “tee ray oh” – and then went on a series of misguided and equally insulting tangents … most with thinly veiled insulting anecdotes …

The crowd were surprisingly restrained … They were kind to him, relatively speaking ,,,

Gezza:

Frankly, I can see where Parti’s coming from. Don’s speech really is out of date & I think completely misses the bus on the issue of Te Reo,

There are some points he raises which at least I can argue are a valid way of looking at issues of Maori “welfare dependency”, but it certainly has the rather out of date tone of a patronising lecture.

It’s hardly surprising it stoked up some heckling.

It’s not clear to me whether Don delivered this speech in its entirety or not. Parti claimed he did get to finish it, the Herald says he didn’t.

I think that Don Brash should have been given a fair go with his speech at Waitangi yesterday – but it highlighted how out of touch he is.


Brash at Waitangi: Where to now?

Tena koutou ki a koutou a Ngapuhi

E hari ana taku ngakau ki te mihi atu ki a koutou

He iwi kotahi tatou

No reira tena koutou.

Can I begin my comments today by saying how much I appreciate your invitation? I have no doubt that some of you see me as a racist of the worst kind. It is a great tribute to you that you are nevertheless willing to have me here today, at this place of great importance in our history, even though you may disagree with me on a whole raft of fundamental issues.

Perhaps we are continuing a tradition which dates back to 1840, to the Treaty which we remember this week, when people with very different views met and reached an agreement which affects all our lives to this day.

So I thank you for inviting me to speak.

When Rueben Taipari invited me, he suggested I touch briefly on my own background – he had recently read my autobiography, and suggested that there were aspects of my life which most people are not aware of.

And he suggested I should comment on how Ngapuhi, and perhaps Maori New Zealanders generally, can best improve their economic status. I’m willing to do that, though I will do so with great trepidation. I don’t know nearly enough about the circumstances of your iwi and hapu to do that with confidence, so my observations will be tentative.

Before I do either of those things, let me briefly comment on my views on Te Reo. You will have heard, and perhaps been surprised, that I began today with a mihi. Yes, I can, when properly coached by a Ngapuhi chief, say a few words in Te Reo!

And to be perfectly clear, I was enthusiastic to do so in this context.

I have absolutely nothing against the Maori language and for many New Zealanders it is a vital part of who they are.

What I have objected to is two things.

First, the use of the Maori language where almost nobody can understand it seems to me to be totally inappropriate. When I was young – and that’s quite a few years ago now! – if anyone spoke in Maori in an environment where at best a tiny minority understood it they immediately translated. I thank the organisers of events this year for providing simultaneous translation earpieces to those of us who don’t speak Te Reo.

I first made a comment on this issue in relation to the use of Te Reo on Radio New Zealand, or RNZ as they now prefer to be called. I came across the same issue two weeks ago when I was briefly in China. I had reason to call the New Zealand embassy in Beijing, and was astonished to find that the phone was answered with a message in Te Reo, followed by one in English, and followed finally by one in Mandarin. I would guess that not one person in a thousand calling the New Zealand embassy in Beijing understands Te Reo.

Secondly, I have spoken out strongly against making the teaching of Te Reo mandatory, as some politicians and others now advocate. I am entirely comfortable with taxpayers providing funding to teach Te Reo to those who want to learn it, and to fund Maori TV and a number of Maori language radio stations – it is a valuable treasure to many New Zealanders.

But it seems to me that for most New Zealanders it has no practical value. As you might expect from a person with an economics training, I look at the cost of every new proposal – and by cost I don’t just mean the dollar cost, but the opportunity cost. What do we have to drop from the school curriculum in order to make time to teach Te Reo? Do we have less maths, less history, less science, less physical education? Something would have to be dropped to make space to teach Te Reo.

Without question the most important language for all New Zealanders to speak, read and write fluently is English – not just because it is the predominant language of this country but also because it is the only truly international language.

Chinese is the most widely spoken first language in the world, followed in turn by Spanish and then by English.

But the total of those who speak English exceeds that of any other language.

When I was Governor of the Reserve Bank, I used to attend annual meetings of the central bank governors from the entire Asian region – from Mongolia in the north, through East Asia, South-East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Iran – a huge sweep of mankind. Every meeting was conducted in English, with no translation provided. It was just assumed that everybody who had reached the status of central bank governor could speak English.

English is the language of international commerce and of science. It is the language of aviation. When a Lufthansa plane, with a German pilot, lands in Frankfurt, the pilot speaks to ground control in English. Legislation in India is in English. In Singapore, it is compulsory for everybody to learn English.

Tragically, too many New Zealanders don’t have the strong knowledge of English they need to prosper in the modern economy. I have never forgotten being told by the manager of a small company in Hawke’s Bay that he couldn’t hire most of those who applied for a job as a forklift truck driver because they couldn’t read well enough – couldn’t read labels on the pallets, couldn’t read the safety instructions.

It was for good reason that in decades past some Maori parents insisted that their children learn English: English was the passport to the modern world. It still is, and it probably will be for the next century at least.

As I’ve mentioned, in inviting me to speak today Rueben Taipari said that he had recently read my autobiography. He said it showed a side of Don Brash that most people are not aware of.

So let me briefly, and in the Maori tradition, explain where I’ve come from.

I called my book “Incredible Luck”. And I called it that because I’ve been extremely lucky in many different ways.

First, like everybody else, I’m lucky to be alive. When you think about how many things had to happen for each of us to be born – for our parents to meet, for our grandparents to meet, for our great-grandparents to meet, and so on back through thousands of generations – the odds against being born who we are are absolutely extraordinary.

Second, like all of us here, I was born into the most extraordinary time and place in human history. When your ancestors arrived in this country centuries ago, it was by means of a dangerous sea voyage which lasted weeks if not months. When my ancestors arrived here in the 19th century, they too would have endured months of difficult and unpleasant travel. Today, we take safe and fast air travel for granted; we take for granted being able to communicate without cost with people on the other side of the world – I was coached on the mihi with which I began my speech today by a Ngapuhi chief talking from the other side of the world while he was visiting Beijing. We take for granted that we can watch events on the other side of the globe from the comfort of our homes. It never occurs to us that we might die of a tooth infection. Just a century ago, a tooth infection could be fatal.

And while New Zealand is a long way from being perfect, it is nevertheless a place where all children are provided with almost free education, where healthcare is highly subsidized, where our daughters have the same opportunities as our sons, where nobody is jailed for criticizing the Prime Minister. It’s a country ranked by the Legatum Institute in London as the second most prosperous country on the planet, behind only Norway. (That is not to say our per capita income is the second highest on the planet – the assessment included a range of other factors measuring the quality of life, what the Prime Minister might describe as “wellbeing”.)

Indeed, when Jeremy Clarkson, the star of Top Gear, visited New Zealand a few years ago, he said that visiting our country made him question the wisdom of God. If God really did have perfect knowledge and perfect foresight, why would he have his only son born in a lousy place like Bethlehem, when he could have been born in Palmerston North?

Your ancestors no doubt signed the Treaty for a variety of reasons, but none of those who signed 179 years ago could have imagined the vast improvements in the status of women, the enormous improvements in healthcare and life expectancy, or the benefits which modern science has conferred on all of us. Yes, some of us have benefited to a greater extent than others, but all of us are vastly better off today than our ancestors were in 1840.

But third, I have been lucky because of the parents I had. They were not wealthy. My father was a Presbyterian minister on a very modest salary; my mother was trained as a milliner and, until well into mid-life, had only a single year of high school education. Until I was at high school, most of my clothes were made by my mother. Every week we had one or two meatless days – allegedly because that was good for our health, but in retrospect I realise that that was at least in part because we couldn’t afford meat every day. And I regard that background as one of my huge advantages: I learnt that nobody owed me a living.

Rueben pointed out to me that my autobiography also admitted to failures in my life, and yes, I’ve had many of those.

I structured most of my book around a metaphor. In the 1960s, the US Air Force developed an experimental aircraft called the Bell X-15, designed to test the strength of various alloys at very high speeds. The Bell X-15 still holds the record for the fastest manned flight ever. It reached an altitude of 100 kilometres – some ten times the altitude at which commercial jets typically fly – and speeds of 7,000 kilometres per hour.

But it only reached that altitude, and reached those speeds, because it was launched by being dropped from another aircraft at 40,000 feet. I felt that, by being born in New Zealand with the parents I had, I had the advantage of being launched from 40,000 feet, and I analysed my life into what I regarded as successful “flights”, partially successful “flights”, and dismal failures. I won’t recount those failures now, but there were plenty of them! I console myself with the thought that those who’ve never made mistakes haven’t been brave enough!

So much for my personal story. Rueben suggested that as Ngapuhi wait, and wait, for their turn at settling with the Crown, I should make some observations about how to improve the economic status of Maori New Zealanders, and Ngapuhi in particular. As I’ve said, I’m willing to do that, though I do so with great trepidation.

The first observation I want to make, however, I make with some confidence. Most Maori New Zealanders will never become economically prosperous through Treaty settlements.

Nobody knows at this stage what the total of all Treaty settlements will be. But let’s suppose it’s $5 billion – five times the original so-called “fiscal envelope” that Jim Bolger envisaged back in the nineties. Let’s assume also that that total is invested to yield an average of 5% per annum in perpetuity. And finally let’s assume that 15% of New Zealanders, or some 750,000 people, are entitled to a share of that. That would increase the annual income of each Maori New Zealander by the grand total of just $333 – better than a kick in the pants but certainly not enough to transform the economic status of Maori New Zealanders. (Incidentally, I owe this insight to Ngati Porou leader Sir Rob McLeod.)

So waiting around for a Treaty settlement would be a tragic mistake. Of course, for some Maori the Treaty settlements have been the source of considerable income – they are the directors of the companies established to manage the assets received in Treaty settlements and their legal advisers (both Maori and non-Maori).

But for far too many Maori the Treaty settlements have delivered little or nothing – just walk down the main street of Huntly to see what I mean, despite the very substantial settlements which Tainui has received.

And to the extent that some Maori New Zealanders have been lulled into the false notion that their prosperity will be assured once the Treaty settlement has been made, the long-drawn-out settlement process has almost certainly done lasting damage to the economic well-being of Maori.

That was one of the two reasons why, when I was National Party leader last decade, I committed the next National Party Government to a policy involving one further year to lodge a grievance and a maximum of five further years to resolve all outstanding grievances. I believed it was crucial for Maori that the process was hastened, because as long as too many Maori retained the false notion that their economic prosperity would be assured once the settlement had been made, there was a risk that too many Maori would remain passive, waiting around for their Treaty settlement, and that would be totally contrary to the interests of Maori.

(The other reason why I wanted to put a finite deadline on the settlement process was because I knew that the longer the process dragged on, the more impatient the Pakeha community would become, wrongly believing that a high proportion of all tax revenue would be devoted to compensation.)

More generally, there must be at least serious doubt whether the positive discrimination intended by successive governments over the last half century to assist the economic status of Maori New Zealanders has actually worked as intended.

More than a year ago, The Economist magazine had an article about the effects of positive discrimination in favour of Malays in Malaysia. The article noted that the positive discrimination had been introduced with the very best of intentions, to improve the lot of Malays as compared with other Malaysians, mainly Chinese and Indians. But the effect had been to benefit a small minority of Malays, while leaving most of the Malay population not much better off.

And that experience is surely directly relevant to New Zealand, with more and more special programmes reserved for those who chance to have a Maori ancestor. These include:

– different entry standards to medical school and some law faculties,
– appointments to local government committees without democratic process,
– required representation on every government board or agency,
– separate government funding for Maori tourism,
– exemption from corporate tax for the businesses arising out of Treaty settlements,
– taxpayer funding for customary marine title claims,
– a legal requirement that Maori have special entitlement to be consulted on environmental planning laws, and
– mandatory respect for Maori spiritual rites and process despite New Zealand’s officially being a secular society.

As in Malaysia, these benefits were originally intended to lift the incomes of Maori New Zealanders, which on average lagged behind those of other New Zealanders. But they have now come to be regarded by a great many Maori as privileges to which they are entitled by virtue of landing in New Zealand prior to European and other settlers.

And who benefits from these race-based entitlements? Assuredly not most ordinary Maori.

Not only have most Maori not benefited at all from this growing affirmative action, many have been positively harmed by it.

Why? Because it has led many Maori to assume that other taxpayers owe them a living, and that in due course other taxpayers will have to discharge that obligation.

What on earth could be more demotivating than to be told, again and again, that your poor education, your poor housing, your low income or inability to get a job is not your responsibility at all – it’s the fault of a grossly unfair system arising from injustices done to some of your great-grandparents by some of your other great-grandparents?

It is surely not in the least surprising that too many people with a Maori ancestor are unemployed and poorly educated – the present environment positively encourages helplessness.

It is significant that Maori New Zealanders who migrate to Australia often do much better than those they leave behind. To some extent, that is because those who have the courage and the initiative to take themselves off to a new country are almost by definition those with “get up and go”, and so more likely to succeed wherever they end up.

But I suspect that part of the reason why Maori New Zealanders in Australia seem to be more economically successful than those they leave behind is that those who migrate know they can’t look to anybody but themselves for their success: the Australian government doesn’t owe them anything more than it owes any other immigrants.

I have always believed that government should lend a helping hand to those who are down on their luck, those who are sick and those who are otherwise unable to help themselves – hopefully in a manner that doesn’t demotivate the recipients of that help. But I believe it is absolutely fundamental that that help should be based on need, and not on ethnicity.

It is a huge tragedy for all New Zealanders that we appear to be on the same destructive path that Malaysia is on. Unless we move decisively to a new path, it will not end well for most Maori.

Not only does positive discrimination create a demotivating sense of entitlement, it is also patronising – it appears to imply that without such positive discrimination Maori New Zealanders can’t quite make it, that they’re not as capable as other citizens. If I were Maori, I would find this grossly insulting. We know, from the huge success of many Maori in New Zealand and internationally, that they are as capable as any other New Zealanders. Just look at how many political leaders in Parliament are Maori – a quarter of the total, including the leaders, deputy leaders, or co-leaders of every party in Parliament! Constantly suggesting that Maori need special assistance to compete with others is insulting and demotivating.

Moreover, as one Maori elder pointed out to me recently, we know from history that those who succeed most spectacularly are often those who, far from being the beneficiaries of special entitlements, are the victims of political persecution and discrimination – think of the enormous success of the Jewish people, in science, in banking, in retailing, in technology and in economics. They didn’t achieve those things through positive discrimination – they achieved them despite being the victims of widespread anti-Jewish sentiment and sometimes violent persecution.

On a smaller scale, the Quakers and the Huguenots had similar success despite, or perhaps even because of, the discrimination to which they were subjected.

A crutch may sometimes be essential, but becoming dependent on a crutch never enables its user to walk unaided, let alone to run.

Let me make one other point about the dangers of dependence. Many years ago, at the advent of the modern welfare state, Sir Apirana Ngata, in my opinion one of New Zealand’s greatest Maori leaders – and a man I was privileged to put on New Zealand’s $50 bank note – warned of the serious damage which the welfare state would do to Maori society. He believed that readily available welfare would erode the proud tradition of independence which most Maori had. And I believe his warning has been amply borne out, with a disproportionately high proportion of those on the unemployment benefit, and on the single parent benefit, being Maori.

Decades after he gave that warning, when I was Governor of the Reserve Bank, I met with a prominent kuia at her request. She wanted to talk about Maori unemployment. After a very long discussion, I finally asked her what she would want me to do if by some chance I found myself in the position of a benevolent dictator. Without hesitating she replied “Abolish the dole with effect from the first of January”.

I thought at first she was joking, and asked her to explain herself. She said that “Unfortunately too many of my people don’t have many skills. They can’t live well on the dole but with three or four of them in the same house all getting the dole, and a few under the table cash jobs, they can live adequately on the dole, and that’s a disaster.” She was deadly serious, and in a sense was simply echoing what Sir Apirana Ngata said 80 years ago.

I don’t believe New Zealand can abolish the dole, but I have a good deal of sympathy with politicians like Shane Jones who make it quite clear that one of his main objectives in politics is to “get the bro’s off the couch”. And I suspect he wants to achieve that not to save money for taxpayers, though it would do that also, but rather because life on the dole is obviously leading nowhere, or at least nowhere good. It’s a shameful waste of young Maori lives.

Today, I’ve suggested that Treaty settlements, no matter how generous, will not provide economic prosperity for most Maori. I’ve suggested that positive discrimination may hurt more than it helps.

Well, what would help? I hope that Ngapuhi can quickly reach agreement with Government on the terms of their Treaty settlement so that you can start looking ahead, not backwards. I hope that we can all accept that Maori New Zealanders are every bit as competent as other New Zealanders, so that we can move to helping people on the basis of their need, not on the basis of who some of their ancestors were.

But beyond that, what would help? I don’t think any outsider, no matter how well qualified, is able to suggest particular industries that you should invest in. And I’m not qualified to comment, for example, on whether the law needs to be changed to enable Maori to make better use of communally-owned land, though the Government announcement of a few days ago, providing taxpayer money to Maori enterprises where banks are reluctant to lend, certainly suggests this is an urgent need.

But what I would say without any fear of being contradicted is that in the 21st century being well educated is an absolutely crucial ingredient to economic success. That does not necessarily mean getting a tertiary qualification, but it does mean coming out of secondary school having a strong ability to read, to write, and to reason logically.

And for that reason I think it is a matter of enormous regret that the current Government has been so strongly opposed to partnership schools – on the evidence to date, those schools provided enormous benefits to those pupils lucky enough to get into them, and that appeared to be especially true for those Maori pupils who were not well served by the traditional state schools. (I seem to recall that the Member of Parliament for Northland, now Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, said he would resign if a Labour-led Government abolished partnership schools.)

Finally, let me make a few closing remarks about where we are as a country.

I think we are at quite a dangerous junction. Many Maori New Zealanders feel they have been left behind by the rest of the country and perhaps that’s an especially strong feeling up here in Northland. Too many Maori are unemployed; too many Maori are in prison; too many Maori are coming out of school unable to read and write; too many Maori are living in poverty. Too much of what successive governments have tried to do to help hasn’t helped, and in some cases has positively hurt.

On the other hand, many non-Maori New Zealanders have become increasingly impatient with the never-ending Treaty settlement process, and more particularly impatient with the constitutional preferences which have increasingly been written into law.

A great many New Zealanders reject any notion that the Treaty of Waitangi created a “partnership” between Maori and the Crown, a partnership which has been described as absurd by politicians as different as David Lange and Winston Peters. Yet this is the interpretation which is more and more taken as the foundation of Government policy.

At some point, hopefully soon, we will need to determine whether we really believe in Article III of the Treaty. That affirmed the equality of political rights for all New Zealanders. At that point we really will be able to say, with Governor Hobson, “he iwi tahi tatou”, “we are now one people”.

Don Brash, February 5, 2019

Waitangi Eve generally ran smoothly

As usual there is quite a bit going in at Waitangi today on the eve of the main celebrations on Waitangi Day.

A couple of controversial things,

And Don Brash’s speech got heckled and disrupted, and he cut it short. It’s a shame respect wasn’t given to expressing different views, but Brash didn’t help his cause by raising some issues that would always be seen as provocative.

RNZ: Brash continues speech at Waitangi after protestors calmed

But other than that things generally seem to have gone fairly smoothly.

All parliamentary party leaders (except David Seymour?) were able to have a say without any dramas.

I can’t find it at the moment but RNZ reported that Simon Bridges was conciliatory and Ardern welcoimed that.

Waitangi – inclusion, protest and handouts

It is to be expected that there there will be some sort of protests and attention seeking leading up to or on Waitangi Day. That is sort of a tradition. If there are protests the media will be on to them – they can sometimes dominate coverage, even though they are only a small part of proceedings.

Inclusiveness has been promoted in the form of earpieces for politicians so they can hear translations of speeches (presumably the ones spoken in Māori).

NZ Herald: Changes for official powhiri at Waitangi

For the first time, politicians and dignitaries will be given earpieces to hear the translated words of their hosts during the official welcome to Waitangi next week.

The powhiri was until recently held at Ti Tii Marae. It was moved over concerns the event had become a “circus” and moved to Te Whare Runanga on the upper marae at the Treaty Grounds.

The idea was that of Māori Crown Relations Minister Kelvin Davis, who has also introduced changes to the way the powhiri on February 5 is conducted.

“We’re trying to build on the good atmosphere that was generated last year, and the idea is to return dignity and decorum to proceedings,” Davis told the Weekend Herald.

“In previous years, whoever was the government would go on and be bolstered by officials and CEs and there’d be a big jostle for position, and the Opposition was just left to fend for themselves at a later powhiri.”

All parties had agreed to go on as one group this year for one parliamentary powhiri.

“We’ve organised the simultaneous translation earpieces for everybody. It’s about being inclusive and I think it’s the way New Zealand needs to head, where everybody understands what everyone’s saying so we don’t talk past each other,” said Davis.

“It’s a small thing but I think it means a lot to those people who in the past felt excluded. We want to celebrate New Zealand’s day, and it all started here in Waitangi.”

John Key stopped going to Waitangi events after 2015, and Bill English chose not to go while national leader, but Simon Bridges has decided to attend.

“I think every leader has to make their own decision. For me, it’s my first opportunity as leader to do it. I’m really keen to and I’m looking forward to it. It’s our country’s day. The Treaty of Waitangi is so clearly part of the fabric of New Zealand and it recognises the special place of Māori in our bicultural foundations.”

Jacinda Ardern will be leading a large Labour delegation, with most of their MPs attending. Last year she was the first female prime minister to speak during the powhiri, where she said:

“When we return in one year, in three years, I ask you to ask us what we have done for you”.

This year she and Shane Jones have announced $100 million investment to support Māori landowners and drive regional growth

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest up to $100 million to help unlock the economic potential of whenua Māori and build prosperity in our regions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced today.

“An integral part of any inclusive and successful regional economic development strategy lies with supporting Māori landowners to create new opportunities that will lift incomes and the wellbeing of our regions,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Access to capital remains a challenge for Māori landowners as the special status of their land means commercial banks are less willing to lend to them. I’m pleased that through the PGF, we’re in a unique position to be able to support these landowners.

“Funding will enable Māori to access the capital required to progress projects which are investment-ready and will ultimately support moves towards higher-value land use.”

“I’m proud we’re able to make this announcement today, which is a vital step in creating greater prosperity around New Zealand,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and other ministers joined the Prime Minister at Otamatea Marae in the Kaipara district to make the announcement.

“Supporting Māori economic development is a key focus of the Provincial Growth Fund.  That’s because lifting the productivity of Māori land will have enormous benefits for regional economies and it is an opportunity we cannot afford to ignore,” Shane Jones said

And Labour cannot afford not to promote Government handouts.

Also Investing to kick-start key infrastructure in Kaipara

The Government will help pave the way for future economic growth in Kaipara with a $20.39m investment from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to strengthen the district’s transport infrastructure and food and horticulture sector.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones made the announcement at Otamatea Marae in Kaipara today.

”There has been a long history of underinvestment in Northland, particularly in infrastructure. The Government is absolutely committed to investing in the public services and infrastructure that make our country and communities strong,” Jacinda Ardern said.

On the inclusive front, Don Brash gets to have a say at Waitangi again: Hobson’s Pledge spokesman Don Brash to speak at Waitangi

Former politician Don Brash has been invited to speak at the lower marae at Waitangi, where he was once pelted with mud by protesters angry at his infamous Orewa speech.

Brash, who was at the time the National Party leader, was hit in the face as he spoke to reporters at Waitangi in 2004, just a few days after the speech to Orewa Rotarians in which he railed against special treatment of Māori.

He is now spokesman for Hobson’s Pledge, a group which campaigns against racial separatism or favouritism under the Treaty of Waitangi.

Also: Destiny Church leader Bishop Brian Tamaki to speak at Waitangi event

A battle of the Bishops is shaping up at Waitangi this week between Destiny Church’s Bishop Brian Tamaki and Te Tai Tokerau Anglican Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu who will be holding services at the same time at different locations.

The official Waitangi Day Anglican service is held at 10am at Te Whare Rūnanga on the Treaty Grounds.

At the same time, Tamaki will be speaking at Te Tii Marae. He is bringing with him around 2000 supporters, many of them the Tu Tangata Riders.

Reuben Taipari, who has organised the forum tent at Te Tii, where speakers including Don Brash will appear this year, said he had invited Tamaki to speak there but the invitation had been declined.

“Now that the forum’s full, of course, I think he regrets that he’s not participating. So his idea is to call up his own facility and attract all the attention over there. And I’m sure that he’ll get some. So good luck to him.

So there should be plenty for the media to report on.

Waitangi Day is on Wednesday. It is a big day for Māori in the far north, and also for politicians. There will be other less prominent events around the country.

 

Massey University review clears chancellor over Brash ‘ban’

I’m suspicious of inquiry and review reports being made public just before Christmas – a time thought to be good to bury news as people are distracted by Christmas and holidays.

Putting something to a review in the first place sometimes seems to have a purpose of defusing and even burying contentious issues.

Another review has just been released:  Review clears Massey University vice-chancellor Jan Thomas over Don Brash ban

A review has cleared Massey University vice-chancellor Jan Thomas of wrongdoing in cancelling a Don Brash speaking event.

Brash and Thomas have been at the centre of a freedom-of-speech debate since former National Party leader Brash was prevented from speaking at the university’s Manawatū campus in August.

Thomas cancelled the venue booking for Brash’s planned visit, citing security and other concerns, but it was later revealed Thomas didn’t want the university to be seen endorsing racist behaviours, and she was uncomfortable with Brash’s leadership of lobby group Hobson’s Pledge.

Consulting firm Martin Jenkins reviewed the decision to cancel the event and the following fallout.

The review found Thomas did not intend to stop the event before a security threat was made and that she didn’t lie about the reasons for cancelling the booking.

But it said she did not fully explore alternative options, which opened the university up to criticism about the potential security threat not being genuine.

It didn’t just ‘open up the university’ to speculation and criticism, they were blasted.

The review recommended if the university were to face similar circumstances it should thoroughly assess the threat before deciding whether to cancel the use of a venue.

“This process, the criteria for the assessment, and who should provide such an assessment should be part of a formal university policy,” the report read.

Perhaps they could set up a review to assess any urgent threats, and release the report on the review several months later.

Brash is still critical.

Brash found the report’s findings “profoundly disappointing”.

“It’s a document that seems to whitewash what the vice-chancellor did and to my mind the behaviour at the time was disgraceful by the vice-chancellor.

“Does the vice-chancellor believe in free speech or not? That’s the profound and fundamental question.

“The report seems to say ‘not necessarily’ – if free speech conflicts with the vice-chancellor’s interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi.”

Brash, who wasn’t contacted for the review, thought the report would have expressed concern about the way things were handled.

I guess Thomas was contacted for the review, so at least she had an opportunity to defend her actions.

Thomas has said it wasn’t a ban, but an event cancellation.

Use whatever semantics you like, but Thomas made it clear she thought that it wasn’t appropriate for Brash, an ex party leader, to speak to a political group at Massey about politics. And her cancellation of the event ensured Brash couldn’t speak on campus ()he has since been to Massey to speak).

 

 

 

 

Massey, free speech, racism and Māori issues

The Massey University free speech debate flared up after politician (ex Leader of the Opposition) and activist on a number of issues Don Brash was prevented from speaking about his experience as a politician.

The person who cancelled the event that Brash was due to speak at, vice-chancellor, cited security issues, but it is clear she didn’t want Brash to speak due to what she claims is his ‘racism’.

17 July Jan Thomas (NZH): Free speech is welcome at universities, hate speech is not

Let me be clear, hate speech is not free speech. Moreover, as Moana Jackson has eloquently argued, free speech has, especially in colonial societies, long been mobilised as a vehicle for racist comments, judgements and practices.

Beyond the reach of the law, however, the battle against hate speech is fought most effectively through education and courageous leadership, rather than through suppression or legal censure.

And this is where universities can take positive action by providing a venue for reasoned discussion and cogent argument.

Universities are characterised by the academic values of tolerance, civility, and respect for human dignity.

And that is why it is important to identify and call out any shift from free speech towards hate speech. The challenge we face is to clarify when that shift occurs and to counter it with reason and compassion.

It should be countered with better arguments, not banning.

8 August (edited from an interview on Newstalk ZB): Massey vice chancellor Jan Thomas tries to explain Brash ban

What I have said was that ah there was an event held in ah the Manawatu here on our campus, ah from ah Hobson’s Pledge ah which ah was particularly offensive for ah particularly our Maori staff, and ah that is not the sort of thing that I would like to see at a university campus. Um that wasn’t ah Dr Brash speaking, um it was around ah Hobson’s Pledge that particular time.

So those sorts of events are events ah where the discussion um moves from being one ah of talking about ah the issues and evidence based ah good rational debate where people are able to speak about um their perspectives on a whole range of different things.

I also am quite happy to stand behind my comments that hate speech is not welcome on campus, and the way I would consider hate speech is ah when hate speech might demean or humiliate or silence groups of people based on a common trait, whether it be sexuality or religion or race or whatever, um because ah that is essentially ah the same as bullying of a larger group of people, and we don’t tolerate  bullying in the playground do we…

In emails (from Kiwiblog Massey lying over cancellation of Brash speech):

So I sum, I really want to find a way to indicate that Brash is not welcome on campus unless he agrees to abide by our values and the laws against hate speech.

The notion of exploring ideas and free speech on campus should be providing that it does not cause harm to others and does not break the laws. Hate speech had no place on our campus and as a te Tiriti led university our values need to be respected too. I feel a great deal of responsibility around the WHS responsibilities to our Māori staff and students.

I think these are quite common type views where there are valid concerns over biased and racist attacks on Māori (and other minority races in New Zealand, which most people have some connection to).

But it can also be used to shut down valid different opinions on Māori issues. Don Brash has become a major figure in these discussions since he became infamous for his NATIONHOOD – Don Brash Speech Orewa Rotary Club in 2004.

His more recent association with Hobson’s Pledge “He iwi tahi tatou: We are now one people.” has kept the attacks on him coming – and this played a part in Thomas’ ban. Like:

And:

The problem is that Brash just needs to open his mouth now to be called racist.

There are alternative views:

There are important issues facing Māori  in Aotearoa, and they should speak up on them, as many do. Of course there are a wide range of Māori views, and they should all feel free to speak up.

Non-Māori people should not be excluded from these debates – Māori  issues affect every New Zealander.

‘Hating’ someone else’s view does not mean there is hate speech.

I think it is important to, if anything, err towards allowing and enabling challenging views and debate, not shutting it down because someone claims that they are or may be offended.

People like Don Brash have as much right to speak as anyone – and Brash is very well aware of the scrutiny anything he says will get, and will be careful he sticks to carefully expressing his views on  contentious issues .

Jan Thomas:

What I do object to is where um speech that demeans or humiliates or silences groups of people based on a common trait. Ah in other words playing the man and not the ball, ah is ah is something that we don’t accept on a university campus, that everyone should feel that they can express their views in a way that is not um going to be subject to being demeaned or humiliated.

I think that Brash more than most plays the ball and not the man or woman.

Thomas banned the man and dropped the free speech ball. She has demeaned and humiliated herself.

People who try to stop speech they disagree with, whether they call it hate speech, racist or demeaning, end up demeaning their own arguments.

But this debate looks to be far from over, From a statement by the Tertiary Education Union President:

As predicted the “big blunder” at Massey may help free speech

On 7 August when Massey University vice-chancellor cancelled a student political event to prevent Don Brash from speaking I suggested that Massey’s Brash ban may help free speech:

…today when the Vice Chancellor of Massey University banned Don Brash from talking there there has been as near to universal concern and condemnation – and for good reason.

It is an alarming attempt to restrict speech – but this may turn out to be a good thing. It may be the overstep that is needed to encourage a decent debate about who should determine what sort of speech should be effectively censored.

Now Bryce Edwards writes Free speech has been strengthened at Massey

The attempt by the head of Massey University to ban Don Brash from speaking on campus last month has entirely backfired. Instead of Brash being undermined by her actions, it now looks like Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas is in danger of losing her position. What’s more, her actions have ended up reinforcing academic freedoms on campus.

He quotes from a Newstalk ZB interview with history professor Peter Lineham:

“I think it is a big, big blunder… this has put the university in a very bad light” and in terms of the university staff, “I think most people are uneasy about the decision”.

Lineham explained how the Academic Council met yesterday and “grilled” their boss. He gives an idea of how Massey staff feel, saying there was “intense discussion at Academic Board, because she seemed to have started off being very determined to find some way or other to stop Don Brash’s visit, and then retreated from it, and then up came the safety issue, which I think had it been looked at in the cold and hard light of day didn’t really amount to much.”

Perhaps Lineham’s most important point in the interview is about how campus free speech has actually been strengthened as a result of the Brash-ban debacle:

“I think we have recovered free speech a bit because this controversy has strongly marked the New Zealand campuses by the fact that vice chancellors – and this is happening throughout the world – cannot play nanny to the students. That’s a ridiculous role. The students can choose who they want to listen to, and can have whatever views they want. And I think this particular incident has made every vice chancellor realise that they need to keep their hands out of deciding what students should listen to.”

I hope that is the outcome of what was initially a debacle at Massey. I’m not sure it has been put to the test yet. That may happen next month when  Brash has been invited again to speak to students at Massey.

University staff are now openly signalling their unhappiness with the Vice Chancellor (who is akin to a chief executive). Deputy pro-vice chancellor Chris Gallavin has been speaking publicly about staff feelings. Appearing on RNZ yesterday he said:

“There is significant worry, and perhaps even distrust if not anger in the minds of many Massey University staff, that they may have been told an untruth or at very least not the whole story” – see: Don Brash cancellation: Censure motions against vice chancellor.

Gallavin explains the motions that academic staff are considering against Thomas, which will be voted on next month. The RNZ article reports: “Professor Gallavin said he had never heard of a board passing a censure motion against a vice-chancellor and it would send ‘a strong message’ to the Council about the staff’s ‘disappointment’.”

It should also send a strong message to other vice-chancellors and universities.

“Whether she should resign really revolves around that question as to whether she still has the trust and confidence of the staff”.

Should Thomas be pressured to resign? It would be a tough outcome for her, she is just one of a number of people who have tried to restrict free speech on campuses.

But I think a resignation or sacking would be a positive for free speech.

There would probably be a public down side, as it would encourage some to push harder for other resignations and sackings if a university official or academic sought to restrict or adversely influence free speech.

On the plus side, it would send a strong and clear message to universities that free speech is important and matters, especially in universities.

Students’ Association: “Massey Vice-Chancellor has broken our trust”

The Massey University academic Board has acknowledged that two motions of censure have been lodged against Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas, but they won’t be voted on for a month.

In the meantime the New Zealand University Student’s Association has put out a press release:


Massey Vice-Chancellor has broken our trust

The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) is outraged by recent revelations that a Vice-Chancellor threatened to cut funding to a students’ association due to actions they disagreed with.

In emails released under the Official Information Act, Massey University Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas considered cutting funding to the students’ association and clubs if they decided to proceed with an event involving Don Brash speaking on campus.

‘We should be able to have robust debate on campus with people we disagree with, including our university leaders. But to consider cutting funding to a group that disagrees with your actions is just foul play,’ says National President Jonathan Gee.

‘While we do not agree with Don Brash’s views on race and many other issues, we support the right to free speech. As the critic and conscience of society, universities should be the bastions of that, not undermine it,’ says Massey University Students’ Association (MUSA) President Ngahuia Kirton.

Gee says that these tactics have stemmed from Voluntary Student Membership, where tertiary institutions’ management now hold all the cards.

‘Students’ associations have for too long been silenced from criticising our institutions for fear of ‘biting the hand that feeds us’. These emails from the Vice-Chancellor are the purest example of the silencing effect that Voluntary Student Membership has had on student voice.’

Voluntary Student Membership (VSM) was passed by Parliament through the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill in 2011, despite strong opposition. Since VSM, students’ associations have had to negotiate their core funding with their tertiary institutions, as opposed to receiving levies from students directly. The revenues of students’ associations have since reduced dramatically, some by over half since 2011.

‘Two wrongs do not make a right. Threatening cuts to funding key student services in order to get what you want is not fair game. Everybody loses,’ says Jason Woodroofe, Albany Students’ Association President.

The Vice-Chancellor has also broken the trust of staff and students through assuring them that her main consideration in preventing Don Brash from speaking was security, when this has clearly not been the case. She has misled the Chair of Academic Board, who are in part the guardians of the university’s role of being society’s critic and conscience.

‘We join Massey’s students’ associations in their call for their University Council to clarify its stance on funding independent students’ associations. The Vice-Chancellor has broken the trust we have with our institutions, and we want to rebuild that.’