Hobson’s choice ‘anti-separatist’ campaign

Don Brash is fronting an anti-separatist campaign aimed at pressuring politicians to oppose ‘preferential treatment of Maori’.

Stuff: ‘Anti-separatist’ campaign launched against ‘Maori favouritism’ ahead of 2017 election

The campaign group is running a number of newspaper ads calling for an end to separatism and race-based laws – and will consider donating to any parties willing to “commit strongly to a colour-blind state”

The campaign, Hobson’s Pledge, is named after the first governor of New Zealand, Captain William Hobson, and his statement upon signing the Treaty of Waitangi that “we are now one people”.

That ‘one people’ pledge must have been a bit fluid. Maori men didn’t get to vote until 1867, all European men didn’t get to vote until 1879 and, and no women could vote until 1893.

The campaign says it wants to “arrest a decline into irreversible separatism” by ending race-based structures and co-governance models, but claims “we are not in any sense anti-Maori”.

So they want to reverse rights committed to under the Treaty of Waitangi. That sounds a bit anti-Maori rights to me.

Brash, anti-MMP campaigner Peter Shirtcliffe and Canterbury University law lecturer David Round are among the group’s members.

Shirtcliffe campaigned against more representative democracy.

Brash said the catalyst for the campaign was a number of government policies which would “create a constitutional preference for those with a Maori ancestor”, such as proposed changes to the Resource Management Act to require iwi involvement.

“I’m not trying to win another election – I’m out of politics – but I want to avoid New Zealand drifting further into a racially-based society.”

The National-led government had betrayed its principles and promises to end separatism since gaining power, he said.

No politics? I don’t know how Brash can be ‘out of politics’ and achieve anything on this.

Government minister Steven Joyce said the campaign was “part of democracy”.

However, he did not believe the issue of separatism would have the same resonance as a decade ago, saying “a lot of water’s flowed under the bridge in that time”.

“I just think that actually most New Zealanders recognise they have a Prime Minister who’s actually very even-handed on this sort of stuff and very careful to respect everybody’s rights and interests.”

It is very unlikely National, Labour or Greens will dump on the Treaty settlements.

If Brash and co are not after votes I don’t know how they will achieve anything. From their website:

Our vision for New Zealand is a society in which all citizens are equal before the law, irrespective of when they or their ancestors arrived in this land.

 What we plan to do:

Now is the time to arrest a decline into irreversible separatism. This may be achieved by speaking out wherever local authorities
propose race-based structures and where the current government proposes co-governance.

This may also be achieved in next year’s election by supporting and voting for any party that would vote against all laws, regulations and policies that provide for any entitlement based on ancestry or ethnicity.

Ideally, this political party would commit to:

  • remove all reference to consultation with any ethnic group from the proposed changes to the Resource Management Act
  • hold a referendum on scrapping separate Maori electorates
  • drop the proposal to grant tribal trusts special powers to control the allocation of water – something previously regarded as the exclusive province of local government


Group of people holding Australian flag

…is a bit out of synch with what could be their grandparents:


Sounds too much like Hobson’s choice – and there may be nothing at all for them to take..