National criticised over Maori representation

Should every party in Parliament rank their caucus with balanced representation of every major New Zealand demographic?

The new National Party lineup announced by leader Todd Muller yesterday has been criticised for ‘a lack of diversity on their front bench’, and in particular forr not having enough Maori MPs prominent on their rankings.

Maori tend to not vote for National in big numbers, so why should National arrange their ranking to appear to represent Maori proportionally?

Should National also balance their lineup with union representatives, teachers, climate change activists, social activists and racing and fishing representatives?

Tariana Turia is complaining about the lack of Maori in National’s front bench – but her Maori Party was notable for it’s lack of diversity, they only had Maori representatives. As was their choice.

Should Labour have farmers and ex corporates and religious advocates in their front bench?

Should NZ First have a balance of young MPs?

Should Greens have business representation in their caucus and their list?

Or should each party represent who they wish, and rank their MPs how they wish?

Maori already have a special guarantee of representation in Parliament through the Maori seats. National have never been given a Maori seat by Maori voters, so why should National go out of their way to represent them?

Muller had to put forward his new lineup in a hurry, and National are in opposition, not in Government. John Key’s Government represented Maori through some of their own MPs and in particular by including the Maori Party, who were voted for by Maori.

Every party shouldn’t have to be representative of everyone, they should represent who vote for them.

Labour hasn’t had a particularly good record of representing Maori interests despite holding most Maori seats most of the time (currently all Maori seats).

It would be democratic nonsense for all parties to be diverse enough to satisfy every interest group in the country. The Greens who promote themselves as diverse are making little attempt at gender balance these days, but that’s their choice.

Voters are supposed to decide what they think of the diversity or lack of diversity of each party lineup.


Peters confuses funeral and venue gathering rules, suggests the death of the hongi

When asked about the limit of 10 people able to gather for funerals or tangis, Winston Peters confirmed the need for that rule – those sorts of gatherings usually involve a lot of close contact.

But he then created some confusion  among journalists when asked if groups of ten people could then go to a wake at a venue that provided foot (from Thursday) or a bar (from next Thursday). He said that that was within the rules. It seems to be different to what Jacinda Ardern said yesterday.

Peters seemed to differentiate between a hundred people going to a hall after a funeral and a similar number gathering on a marae. He also question whether a hongi “will ever come back again”.

Question: What’s your message to people who are pointing out inconsistencies with the Level 2 rules, saying a hundred people if they’re in groups of ten can go to a restaurant for example, or a cinema, but they can’t attend a tangi or a funeral?

Peters:  …the number one desire of people who attend a tangi or funeral is to emotionally connect by embracing and other ways of making a connection…for once I heard from an industry that understood why the health department and the government is concerned. And we hope to get out of that situation as fast as we possibly can.

But right here right now the funeral circumstance is so difficult.

Now it’s possible to go to a function after the funeral to a hall and sit down with a hundred people, spaced properly if you follow the three ‘s’ rule, a but having it right on site at the side of the burial place with more than ten people just seemed to all the advisers to be so difficult.

Question: So you’re saying that people can go to a hall after a small kind of funeral or tangi of ten people, they could go to a hall with a hundred people if they were properly distanced…

Peters: Properly distanced, ten at a table, served by one person in each case at each table, that’s possible.

Question: My understanding from the Prime Minister yesterday was that all groups had to be under ten but are you saying that you could have a group…

Peters: No, ten or less.

Question: So you’re saying you could go to a hall with a hundred people and hold a kind of off-site funeral or wake?

Peters: No, you can have the aftermath, the Irish style so to speak, or the Scottish style, and be within the law.

Question: So why is it any different from having a hundred people at a marae for example.

Peters: Because the Marae circumstance is much more closed in. The distance rule would be impossible to keep. I mean one of the things you have to have regard for is whether the hongi in these circumstances is ever going to come back again, because it’s just the nature of things, and there’s a famous old saying that says “Cultures that don’t adapt die”, and we’ve got to be so so careful.

Peters seems to be saying that an Irish or Scottish style after-funeral gathering is fine, but a a Maori style gathering is forbidden.

Question: ..saying it would be up to Iwi whether hongi was reintroduced, are you saying it shouldn’t be?

Peters: I’m just putting out there into the Maori world, to say that cultures that don’t adapt die. Our lives and our old people’s lives in particular are on the line here

The lessons from the Spanish flu were catastrophic. The percentage of Maori dying was eight times that of Europeans, and we were down to fifty thousand people at the end of it.  Now there’s a past lesson.

The present one now, and in terms of colds, flus, influenza and Covid-19, it surely makes sense for us to consider it.

Question: I’m somewhat confused about this gathering of a hundred people, because the Prime Minister was really clear yesterday it had to be a cap of ten people.

Peters: Well it’s very unlikely that any one family will go to a funeral with more than ten people…

Question: …there’s people out there who are upset because they’ve waited until level 2 to hold a tangi or funeral who are waiting to make that decision, and they thought from what the Prime Minister was saying yesterday was that they couldn’t have a gathering of the hundred people but you’re now saying that they can.

Peters: Not at the funeral itself, but at the wake they could organise it, whether they go to a restaurant or organise it under the same guidelines that are capable of being attested to and examined. It’s for their own safety.

And that’s a fact. When families go to a funeral they don’t always go en masse the right amount of (relatives?) to show the right amount of respect.

Jacinda Ardern when she announced moving to Level 2:

Gatherings at home, need to be capped at 10. Church and religious events, weddings, funerals, stag dos – all must be limited to 10 for now.

And if you’re wanting to head to a restaurant, or a bar, they won’t be able to take group bookings larger than 10. This, alongside social distancing, is our insurance policy.

And why 10? Simple. If something goes wrong with a group of 10, that’s much easier to contain, much easier to contact trace, and much less likely that if something goes wrong that the whole country will have to experience more restrictions.

I expect we will here more of this.

Ardern is just answering questions about the funeral limitation now at the daily update.  She starts by saying how hard it is on people who want to have funerals.

She has been asked about 100 people wakes and Cabinet having different messages and she avoids answering the question directly and goes into a general spiel.

They considered a different way of dealing with funerals and tangis but “it was just very difficult to find a way”.

Ardern keeps reiterating the ten person group limit.

Source for Peters (around 15-19 minutes).

Some history of ‘White Supremacy’ in New Zealand

‘White Supremacist’ is being used to describe a radical fringe in new Zealand in the wake of the Christchurch Mosque massacres.

Last week Christ Trotter () tweeted:

He was referring to a post at Bowalley Road: What Is A White Supremacist? (edited)

THE TERM “WHITE SUPREMACIST” is rapidly replacing the more straightforward “racist” in mainstream journalism.

On social media, especially Twitter, the term is being used, anachronistically, to characterise the ideas of explorers and colonialists living in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. While it is not unusual to encounter such terminological misuse in the writings of radical post-modernists, it is worrying to see the mainstream media subsume so many different historical and ideological phenomena into this single, catch-all, expression.

The current misuse of the term “white supremacy” is also highly dangerous politically. By singling out this particular form of racism and misapplying it to famous figures from the past, as well as to people living in the present, the users of the term risk not only its rapid devaluation, but also the angry retaliation of those who feel both themselves and their beliefs to have been wrongly and unfairly condemned.

It refers, primarily, to the political regimes which arose in the southern states of the USA in the years following the American Civil War – most particularly in the decades immediately following the withdrawal of federal troops from the states of the defeated Confederacy in 1877.

These regimes were built on the bedrock requirement that whites must in all conceivable circumstances: economic, social, cultural, legal and political; be placed ahead of and above blacks. The poorest and most ill-educated white farmer had to be able to count himself better off, both subjectively and objectively, than his black neighbours. White supremacy wasn’t just a matter of personal racial animus, it described a comprehensive and internally coherent system of race-based rule.

A “white supremacist”, accordingly, is a person who not only subscribes to the principles underpinning the infamous “Jim Crow” system, but also – like the contemporary Ku Klux Klan – strives for its return. Obviously, the term may also be legitimately applied to the very similar systems of race-based rule erected in South Africa and Rhodesia between 1948 and 1992.

Simple racial chauvinism is very different from the conscious creation of a race-based economic and political system. If, however, the media persists in lumping together every Pakeha who takes pride in the achievements of western civilisation with avowed Nazis, like Philip Arps, or genocidal eco-fascists, like the Christchurch shooter, then not only will the charge lose all its definitional and moral force, but, sooner or later, those so lumped will come to the conclusion that they might as well be hung for sheep as lambs.

Those on the Left who are promoting the use of this term, presumably as a way of shaming Pakeha New Zealanders into acknowledging and renouncing their “white privilege”, may soon come to regret driving their boots so forcefully into such a large pack of sleeping dogs

Scott Hamilton ( responded on Twitter): “Just like South Africa & Australia, NZ deployed a mixture of segregationist & assimilationist policies towards non-white peoples in the 19th & 20th centuries. ”

In his new column my friend Chris Trotter argues NZ was never a white supremacist society, like South Africa or America. I think Chris’ case rests on a false dichotomy & on a denial of the historical record. I want to argue against him & post a few old documents.

Chris argues that NZ doesn’t have a white supremacist history, because white settlers sought to assimilate Maori, rather than segregate the races. But settler societies have commonly deployed both assimilationist & segregationist policies. The two can complement each other.

Let’s consider the case of South Africa, which Chris cites as the sort of white supremacist society NZ was not. Apartheid-era SA was notorious for isolating its non-white peoples. It had laws against miscegenation, & segregated toilets. But SA also practiced assimilationism.

The Soweto uprising of 1976 began as a protest against the attempts of South Africa’s rulers to assimilate blacks linguistically. Black schoolkids rejected the demand that they use Afrikaans, the language of their oppressors, in the classroom.

Australia offers another example of a settler society combining segregation with assimilationism. Before 1968 Aboriginals were isolated from other ethnic groups in Australia. Their movements were restricted; they could not participate in electoral politics.

But Aboriginal Australians also suffered from assimilationist policies. White administrators created a ‘stolen generation’, by removing half-caste children from Aboriginal mothers, & making sure they were raised in a white world. This policy was s’posed to ‘whiten’ Aboriginals.

Just like South Africa & Australia, NZ deployed a mixture of segregationist & assimilationist policies towards non-white peoples in the 19th & 20th centuries.

The attempts at assimilation, like the demand Maori kids use English at school, are infamous; the segregationism is not.

Although settler governmentsts allowed Pakeha to serve on juries considering cases involving Maori, the ban on Maori serving on general juries lasted until 1962. Maori were not considered fit to judge whites, just as SA blacks were kept off juries in that country.

Chris contrasts NZ with America in its ‘Jim Crow’ era, when both public facilities & private businesses often segregated white & non-white patrons. The segregated rest rooms of mid-century America are notorious. But few Pakeha know that NZ had the same facilities.

It is not possible yet for me to give an exhaustive account of the segregation of rest rooms in NZ, but my research suggests that the practice was widespread. I want to offer a few examples, with the help of old newspapers.

In 1936 Maori inhabitants of Tauranga protested against their exclusion from the town’s rest rooms, & from some rest rooms that were being planned. In response, Tauranga’s mayor said that Maori wld have to donate some land, if they wanted to get their own, segregated, toilets

Hamilton was another town with whites-only rest rooms. In 1945 the Waikato Times reported the standoff between the city’s mayor & the Maori community. The mayor wanted Maori to pay for a segregated toilet; Maori rejected his request.

Maori had always resented the segregation of rest rooms, but by the late ’40s they were being joined by Pakeha. When Gisborne councillors announced plans for whites-only women’s rest rooms in 1949, locals of both ethnicities wrote angry letters to their local paper.

Kaitaia was another town that saw protests over segregated rest rooms in the ’40s. When the rest rooms were being planned, local politicians had happily broadcast their plans for segregation. Their insouciance tells us something about the prevalence of segregation at the time.

Rest rooms were not the only public facilities that local politicians tried to bar Maori from in early 20th C NZ. In 1921 the Waipa District Council closed Te Awamutu’s fledgling library, because it was being visited by too many ‘undesirable’ elements, like ‘Maoris’ & ‘dogs’.

Private businesses as well as public amenities often practiced segregation in NZ. A 1938 survey found that 26 of Hamilton’s 27 hotels & hostels refused to host Maori. Local politicians suggested building a Maori-only hostel.

It was not only Maori who suffered from segregation in 20th C New Zealand. Indian & Chinese migrants often found themselves barred from taverns, barbers, and swimming pools. In 1918 Hamilton’s Indians protested their inability to get a haircut.

Jelal Natali was a campaigner for the civil rights of Indian Kiwis for decades. In the ’20s Natali protested against the segregation of Auckland’s tepid baths, pointing that all but one of the facility’s pools were reserved for whites.

Sometimes segregation led to violence. On February 25, 1920, at a time when NZ troops were fighting Indian sugar workers in a turbulent Fiji, a group of Indians were ejected from a tavern in Te Awamutu. White patrons followed them onto the footpath, and a riot began.

Chris contrasts the US, with its Ku Klux Klan, with NZ. He appears not to know that the KKK was violently active here in the 1920s, when it formed in opposition to Asian migration. In 1923 the KKK took responsibility for attacks on businesses in Auckland & in Christchurch.

Chris might argue that the KKK was, in NZ, a short-lived & uninfluential organisation. He’d be right, but other, much larger & more powerful groups aligned themselves with the KKK. One was the Protestant Political Association, whose leader Howard Elliott praised the Klan.

The White NZ League was another influential organisation that shared the goals of the Klan. The League formed in 1926, & called for the deportation of all non-white migrants from NZ. It was endorsed by the RSA & by Auckland’s Trade Union Council.

The White NZ League was based in Pukekohe, & helped to enforce the segregation of South Auckland’s pubs, barber shops, & cinemas. In 1959 a major civil rights battle began when Dr Rongomanu Bennett tried to get a drink at Papakura Hotel, and was turned away.

Dr Bennett had many contacts in politics & the media, & he made sure Papakura’s refusal to serve him a drink was reported widely. The suburb was dubbed ‘the Little Rock of NZ’ by some journalists. PM Walter Nash eventually intervened, & the colour bar at Papakura ended.

How widespread, in the postwar era, was the sort of colour bar Rongomau Bennett encountered in Papakura? While researching my book Ghost South Road, I focused on the Waikato & South Auckland. But Noel Hilliard’s 1960 novel Maori Girl suggests it extended beyond the north.

Hilliard’s autobiographical account of a cross-racial marriage caused a sensation when it was published. Hilliard described the open prejudice of Wellingtonian business owners – hoteliers, for example – who refused Maori clients.

Of course, NZ was never a mirror image of the Jim Crow US, or South Africa. Maori like Carroll & Ngata rose to positions of power. Interracial marriages were never banned. But segregation as well as assimilationism is part of our history, contra what claims.


Ground rules on discussing immigration, culture etc

There was a series of posts yesterday here that made a range of claims and generalisations that were unsupported by evidence, and some were obviously wrong.

I have no problem with things like immigration, culture, multiculturalism etc here, but want to detail some ground rules.

If you comment on contentious issues in particular then back up your claims with facts. ‘Supporting’ links to overseas sites of dubious credibility will be viewed with suspicion – it can take time to check these out so they may be suspending pending time to deal with them, or deleted.


‘Multiculturalism’ has a variety of meanings and purposes so be specific about what you mean by it.

Dictionary definition:

the presence of, or support for the presence of, several distinct cultural or ethnic groups within a society.

That applies to many countries, and has applied to New Zealand for decades if not centuries.


The term multiculturalism has a range of meanings within the contexts of sociology, of political philosophy, and of colloquial use. In sociology and in everyday usage, it is a synonym for “ethnic pluralism“, with the two terms often used interchangeably, for example, a cultural pluralism in which various ethnic groups collaborate and enter into a dialogue with one another without having to sacrifice their particular identities. It can describe a mixed ethnic community area where multiple cultural traditions exist (such as New York City) or a single country within which they do (such as Switzerland, Belgium or Russia). Groups associated with an aboriginal or autochthonous ethnic group and foreigner ethnic groups are often the focus.

In reference to sociology, multiculturalism is the end-state of either a natural or artificial process (for example: legally-controlled immigration) and occurs on either a large national scale or on a smaller scale within a nation’s communities. On a smaller scale this can occur artificially when a jurisdiction is established or expanded by amalgamating areas with two or more different cultures (e.g. French Canada and English Canada). On a large scale, it can occur as a result of either legal or illegal migration to and from different jurisdictions around the world (for example, Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain by Angles, Saxons and Jutes in the 5th century or the colonization of the Americas by Europeans, Africans and Asians since the 16th century).

So it is not just something that has happened over the last few years. Britain has had major cultural influences from the Romans, Vikings, Angles, Saxons, Jutes and French, and has major influxes of immigrants for centuries, notably in the 1800s when work and population expanded due to the industrial revolution.

Critics of multiculturalism often debate whether the multicultural ideal of benignly co-existing cultures that interrelate and influence one another, and yet remain distinct, is sustainable, paradoxical, or even desirable.

It is argued that nation states, who would previously have been synonymous with a distinctive cultural identity of their own, lose out to enforced multiculturalism and that this ultimately erodes the host nations’ distinct culture

nation state (or nation-state) is a state in which the great majority shares the same culture and is conscious of it.

New Zealand has not been a ‘nation state’ since Europeans started settling here in numbers in the 1800s.


Definition: evaluation of other cultures according to preconceptions originating in the standards and customs of one’s own culture

That probably applies to everyone to some extent.

This was quoted:

One of the most damning statements against multicultural society comes from sociobiology and it is this:

Ethnocentrism is not a White disorder and evidence is emerging that immigrant communities harbour invidious attitude towards Anglo Australians, disparaging their culture and the legitimacy of their central place in national identity

That’s an ‘Anglo Australian’ superiority statement that applies fault only to others when a lot of the fault with “disparaging their culture and the legitimacy of their central place in national identity” is with those who see themselves as superior ‘Anglos’.

It ignores an obvious fact – Aborigines. Their culture is unique and is probably the longest established culture (or cultures) in the world.

It also ignores the fact that many other cultures other than ‘Anglo’ have been a part of the Australian mix for a long time.

Shutting down dissent

“The cofuffle about hate speech is really about shutting down dissent.”

No it’s not. It is largely an attempt to reduce speech that is derogatory, divisive, inflammatory and harmful, and speech that promotes superiority rather than equal status. It’s going to be a challenging debate on a difficult issue.

Only those who see themselves as dissenters claim that it is about shutting down dissent. An extreme version of this is those who claim that tightening up our lax gun laws is an attempt to shut down the ability of the population to violently oust a government – I have seen this alluded to at Kiwiblog and Whale Oil, with a UN conspiracy also being mentioned.

“European culture is New Zealand’s founding culture”

That’s obviously nonsense. Polynesian culture is Aotearoa New Zealand’s founding culture, dating back about a thousand years. European culture has had a major impact over the last two centuries, but even that has been a diverse range of cultures.

Other cultures made lesser but still notable impacts, like Chinese, Lebanese and Dalmatian. And over the last fifty years there have been major influxes of various nationalities and cultures, including a range of Polynesian cultures, Asian cultures (the first significant influx of Muslims was actually a mix of those two, Indian Fijians), South Africans, Chinese, Indian, Philippino and others.

‘European culture’ seems to be a euphemism for white superiority.

The white class

Some seem to see ‘white’ as a superior class with a culture that must be preserved. Many of the white Anglos/Europeans who emigrated to New Zealand did so to escape the oppressive class system in England.

You have to be careful about classing people as ‘white’ in New Zealand, many white looking people have a variety of racial and ethnic family histories.

It’s somewhat ironic that those who promote their ‘white class’ as superior are of a small fringe of New Zealand society.

The bottom line

Anyone wanting to promote what I perceive as some sort of white/Anglo/European superiority agenda will need to back up their arguments with sound reasoning and facts – and not cherry picked facts that distort the true picture.

The more sweeping generalisations, unsupported claims and conspiracies that are made the less tolerance I will have for giving you an unmoderated forum.

Final word

There is no cultural or ethnic majority in New Zealand. We are a diverse mix of cultures. Sure, some have been more prominent than others, but that doesn’t make them stand out on their own or superior or inferior.

We need to value our uniqueness and our similarities whatever our ethnic or cultural background is.

And we need to accept that all of this is changing. The culture I live in in my small corner of the country is significantly different to the one I grew up in, and in many respects it is richer and better. Even if I wanted to I couldn’t go back to what it was, it doesn’t exist any more.

“Tolerance New Zealand’s real religion”

It should be, but there are still a lot of people who don’t follow it. We should acknowledge that we can all be intolerant, but can all work towards better understanding of and tolerance of other people, other cultures, other religions.

ODT editorial:  Tolerance New Zealand’s real religion

White nationalists, Islamophobes and other hate groups openly extol a clear goal – to separate ”them” from ”us”. In the wake of Friday’s terrorist attack, it seems prudent to confront the myth some believe in: that when it comes to religion in this country, there has never been an ”us”.

Evidence indicates the first humans to set foot in Aotearoa were Eastern Polynesian settlers some 800 years ago who brought religious beliefs with them.

Those beliefs centred around the idea that, through genealogy, all things were connected – hills, rivers, animals, plants – to the Maori themselves. Yet within the several hundred years Maori lived here before European settlement, the way those beliefs were expressed was already evolving and diverging.

Europeans arrived with a variety of takes on monotheism. Catholicism and Protestantism were the major players, but there were others.

The State, of course, was an extension of the British Crown and, as such, it is easy to look back at the last hundred or so years of New Zealand history and conclude we are, and have been, a Christian country.

But the beliefs of those who have settled here, who have journeyed to one of the most far-flung land masses on Earth and made a life for themselves, are far more varied than that. In reality, we have never been a solely Christian country. Since the arrival of Europeans, we have been a nation of multiple religions.

And agnostics and atheists.

A major fallacy in the argument of those wanting New Zealand to ”remain” or ”return” to being as culturally, ethnically or religiously ”pure” as it always was is that New Zealand has never been mono-ethnic, mono-religious or mono-cultural. And it never will. Because our national genealogy is not one of ”purity”.

Far from it. we are a diverse mix of cultures, nationalities, races and religions.

Islam is an ancient religion, born from the same part of the world Christianity was, just a few hundred years later. It is widely practised around the world and has as much right to be considered ”normal” in New Zealand as any other religion does.

Yes, there are radical arms of Islam. There are radical arms of Christianity, too. And of football fans, environmentalists and many more groups besides. It takes an appalling negligence of consideration to believe only the radical arms of a large group of people define that group.

Generalising is common. Like Christians. Muslims. Maori. Asians. Europeans. Colonialists.

All are quite varied, diverse, and there are often mixes and blends.

It is absurd for any New Zealanders to believe Islam has less right to be practised freely, safely and given respect in this country than other religions. Muslim New Zealanders are simply New Zealanders who practise a religion. Religions, while culpable for many unpleasant aspects of history, also bring meaning, stability, guidance and context to billions of people.

We are not a Christian country, despite being a country of many Christians.

We are not a religious country, though we are a country of many religions.

In fact, if there was to be any ”religion” that defined New Zealand, it should be a religious devotion to inclusivity, tolerance and openness.

Let that be the New Zealand religion and, in our pursuit of it, let’s ensure Muslim New Zealanders know, feel and trust they are, now and forever, simply Kiwis.

We all have to work hard on accepting differences, and tolerance.


Overreaction to criticism of Maori version of awful anthem

Someone said something stupid about the Maori version of the New Zealand National Anthem on Facebook – stupid things on Facebook are common.

But this was from a city councillor from New Plymouth, Murray Chong, who responded to a post asking “”name a song you are ashamed of singing” with:

“The te reo version of the NZ national anthem”.

That got some media attention – New Plymouth councillor labels Māori version of national anthem a tune he is ‘ashamed to sing’.

Dr Andy Asquith, a Massey University senior lecturer and commentator on local government issues, said in his opinion it was not about politics but about responsibility and recognising that the country has two languages.

“I’m just astounded at the insensitivity of it to be honest,” he said.

“We’re now in an election year so this could well be part of an attempt to build up a profile.”

It could just as easily be a throw away line on Facebook that has nothing to do with the election.

More people started to make a big deal out of what looks to me like a fairly trivial comment in social media.

Stuff:  More than 1500 join call for anthem ‘shame’ councillor to quit

New Plymouth councillor Murray Chong is facing a barrage of criticism, has been censured by his mayor and there’s even a petition calling on him to resign for saying he was ashamed to sing the national anthem in te reo.

New Zealander of the Year for 2014, Dr Lance O’Sullivan, weighed in on the controversy with a scathing social media post on Tuesday that the incident “goes to show that USA is not the only country that is capable of electing idiots to public office”.

He has also been censured by his mayor Neil Holdom, who had already censured the councillor last month for proclaiming on radio he had no issue flying a Confederate flag during Taranaki’s Americarna car festival.

Chong’s track record has been slammed as “despicable” by political commentator Dr Andy Asquith and a petition calling for the councillor to resign had gathered 1550 signatures in 24 hours.

Another bloody petition calling on someone to resign.

Politicians are elected. They should only resign in extraordinary circumstances, not because a few people call for it in a petition. Elections are the normal (and democratic) way of dealing with politicians.

Editorial (Stuff): Councillor’s shame at singing anthem in Māori demands explanation

If New Plymouth District Councillor Murray Chong chooses not to sing the national anthem in Māori, that is his choice. 

And it is a legitimate one. It would be a terrifying day indeed if there were ever a law that made the singing of a national anthem compulsory

The issue with Chong’s latest controversial Facebook post, this time about our national anthem, is that he is ashamed to sing it in te reo.

Such sentiment demands explanation.

Does it?

He’s ashamed, he explains, because the original version was in English and if we are “forced” to sing it in two languages then we should also perform the haka in two languages.

I think that’s pathetic reasoning, but can’t we just make up our own minds what we think?

Chong’s attitude to te reo is concerning in a multi-cultural nation but it’s not out of step with thousands of others who view the language’s growing presence as something “forced” on them.

That attitude is not going to change over night. There will be some, many thousands, who will hold that position no matter what. And these people will see Chong as one person “brave” enough to speak the truth.

But we should hope that there are many more thousands who will at least be open to learning about why te reo is so integral to this country’s past, present and future.

Chong’s social media behaviour does nothing to advance such an openness and it is disappointing the councillor appears content to continually act in a way that divides rather than unites.

Because even though it’s a tired cliche, it’s as true now as ever that united we stand and divided we fall.

We should be compelled to be united in expressing love and admiration for both versions of the anthem?

After the barrage Chong apologised. RNZ: New Plymouth councillor Murray Chong apologises for te reo Māori anthem comments

In a written statement, Mr Chong said he stood by his election promise of “saying it like I see it” and wanted to encourage constructive discussion on matters important to ratepayers.

He said he wanted to make clear his views did not represent his fellow councillors or the council.

Mr Chong has previously described te reo Māori as a dying language and has been censured twice before for race-based comments.

New Plymouth mayor Neil Holdom yesterday said he had given Mr Chong an official telling off, but would not say what the censure would mean in practice or how often a councillor could be censured before further action would be taken.

Only in the Internet age would this sort of nonsense make national news. And the ease of starting a petition is making a farce of them.

I have often said I don’t like the original (English) version  of our anthem. It’s often a non-uplifting dirge (sometimes it is sung ok).

I think that the God-laden lyrics are embarrassing for a national anthem, especially in a secular country the 21st century.

I don’t sing it because of the lyrics, and because I would be embarrassed for anyone to hear my monotonic mangling. I don’t sing the Maori version  for the same reasons.

But I actually prefer hearing the Maori version. The te reo sounds far less bombastic and dated – and i can pretend I don’t understand what it means.



Q+A: David Parker on taxing bottled water

David Parker as Trade and Growth Minister was interviewed on Q+A last night.

Parker was asked about this from the Labour-NZ First coalition agreement:

  • No resource rentals for water in this term of Parliament
  • Introduce a royalty on exports of bottled water.

Winston Peters via Stuff (June 2018):

A coalition commitment to introduce a royalty on bottled water exports appears to have stalled, with the Government still trying to find a workaround that won’t breach its free trade deals.

Environment Minister David Parker told Newsroom the Government had not “got a lot closer to an outcome” on an export royalty since MFAT’s concerns were raised, and was instead focusing on how to tackle carbon emissions.

“The Government makes agreements as you go into coalitions as to what it is that you prioritise, and we prioritised emissions pricing over water pricing in the coalition agreement and both the Greens and New Zealand First agreed to that.”

Unless there is significance in the order that priorities are listed in the agreement this is not clear.

However, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters says he is confident a solution to implement a royalty on bottled water will be found before the end of the year.

“I think New Zealanders think it’s unfair that people who bottle water and send it offshore without any return to the public, they don’t think that’s fair – I agree with them, I think that’s also true of other water bottling as well. We’re working through that.”

“Let me tell you, we’ve had so many other things on that it’s not been the priority we’d have all liked, but it certainly is now.”

Asked whether the Government still planned to introduce an export royalty on bottled water this term, Peters said: “I think I can confidently say, this year.”


I’ve got a Cabinet paper coming through soon, in fact I’ve seen a draft of it looking at the different options. We’ve agreed in the coalition agreement that we won’t have a price on water generally during this term in Parliament.

There’s two reasons why you might in the longer term there’s the Tax Working Group suggests. One is fairness between the public and private, if private people for their own profit arre using a public resource then maybe they should…

And the second goes to the efficiency of the use of the resource. If there is a price for scarce resources then they’re inclined to be used more efficiently and so there’s less waste which is environmentally good.

He avoided saying when a decision was expected.

On issues with trade agreements and water – “Can you actually implement a tax on that?”:

Ah you are restricted by your trade agreements. There are still things you can still do, um, ah, they are very, some of them are quite complex, ah it doesn’t kick up a lot of money…

Levies or taxes in various forms are possible, but there is a sense of umbrage on the part of New Zealanders who think that it’s wrong that we export water to the rest of the world without anything coming back to the public for that privilege.

Can you do something without breaching these agreements, and this year?

Ah yes you can do some things, ah, you clearly can do some things, ah, you could also change the rules related to foreign direct investment to make it clear criteria when people are investing from overseas which is something we might consider in the second part of our…

What does he prefer?

Ah I’m not going to express a preference on this.

Can you do it this term or is it in the too hard basket?

Um, yes we can.

So it will be done this term?

I didn’t say that.

You want to do it this term?

Well I, you know, I think the principle where private people are exporting a public resource for their own profit, that something should come back to the public, is a fair play.

So Parker avoided giving any indication of when something may happen on taxing water being exported.

Then he was asked about the complication of claims of Maori ownership. “Is that going to be resolved this term?”

(Big breath) Well, no one’s been able to resolve that until now. Ah, I think there’s considerable goodwill on the part of all sides of these water debates. Ah the public made it clear they want water quality improved. You can’t do that without resolving some of the water allocation issues relating to nutrient discharge rights.

That does throw up Maori rights and interests because Maori disproportionately hold the underdeveloped land that wants the right to…

But you can avoid a foreshore and seabed mess which Michael Cullen was talking about earlier?

I think so.

And Parker was let off the hook there after avoiding committing to any time frame for taxing bottled water, and without giving any indication how Maori claims on water rights might be dealt with.



Nation: Willie Jackson on Māori employment

Willie Jackson on Newshub Nation: Employment Minister Willie Jackson talks about his plans to get young people into work and how an economic slowdown could affect the Government’s goal to reduce unemployment to four percent.

Employment Minister Willie Jackson says he would like to get Māori unemployment down to 5%

“There’s statistics and then there are statistics” – Willie Jackson on referring to the unemployment stats for New Zealanders as a whole vs Māori.

Willie Jackson says it is appropriate for Meka Whaitiri to still be co-chair of the Māori caucus

PG raises eyebrows.

Nation: Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis on reducing prisoner numbers

I think it’s fair to say that Kelvin Davis has been quite disappointing in his public appearances as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Corrections.

He has taken part in this week’s Justice Summit, which has been trying to kick off discussions on how to reduce the currently surging prisoner numbers.

As Davis is also Minister for Crown/Māori Relations, and about half of male prisoners and a greater proportion of female prisoners are Maori, he has some work to do to try to address things.

Kelvin Davis (NZH): Letting prisoners vote brings them closer to society and takes them further from crime

Minister of Corrections Kelvin Davis has spoken in favour of prisoners having the right to vote, saying it is an important part of reducing reoffending.

He said those who had been in prison were more likely to offend – and in doing so, create more victims of crime – if they were excluded from society.

I think there’s likely to be much more important factors than being able to vote.

Davis was a constant throughout the summit with his department, Corrections, coming in for greater scrutiny and criticism than others in the justice system.

He spent the two days speaking to attendees from the stage, listening to criticism from the floor and later seeking out critics to better understand their frustration.

For Davis, it is personal. Maori are far more likely than non-Maori to be victims of crime – and more likely to be revictimised.

Maori make up 15 per cent of the population but 51 per cent of the prison population – and half of those inmates are Ngapuhi, as is Davis.

“These are family, these are friends, these are whanaunga (relatives) of mine – I want my tribe to succeed in every way possible, culturally, socially, economically. We’re not going to do that by locking people up.”

The discussion about reforming the criminal justice system was easier with Maori, he said, because the disproportionate burden felt by Maori meant “they get it straight away”.
Justice statistics show Maori have 660 people per 100,000 in prison against New Zealand European numbers of 93 per 100,000.

Davis said: “It’s harder with other parts of the general population.”

Odd comments. It seems that Maori don’t get what they need to take ownwership of and responsibility for in order to reduce their high crime, imprisonment and recidivism rates.

Newshub Nation this morning: As the Government’s Criminal Justice Summit draws to a close, Lisa Owen asks Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis how he’ll achieve the bold target of reducing inmate numbers by 30 per cent in 15 years

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says the govt has reduced the prison population by 600 in six months – but he wants more ideas about how to reduce it further. It’s a good start he says.

Lisa Owen puts to Davis that the increase in police numbers will result in more prisoners – there’s an OIA saying that – Davis is emphasising the police taking a preventative approach.

Shift from targeting Maori to targeting the poverty

Bryce Edwards looks at a shift in Government shifting from race-based (Maori) targeting to a more universal approach to dealing with poverty, but they say that as Maori feature in the deprivation statistics they should benefit the most.

Is this related to Winston Peters’ past attacks on Whanau Ora, with Labour now quietly accommodating his preference away from targeting Maori? Where do the Greens stand? Quietly on the sideline?

NZ Herald: The real political controversy of Waitangi 2018

Lost amongst the focus on BBQs, relentless positivity, and eloquent speeches at Waitangi, a fascinating and important shift in Government-Maori relations appeared to be underway. Labour and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have been signalling that this Government is departing from the traditional culturalist and “race-based” approach to dealing with Maori deprivation and economic inequality.

Instead, a more universal, economic-focused method will be used. The conventional approach of advancing Maori aspirations was epitomised by the Maori Party’s focus on culture, race, and sovereignty issues, and it appears to be on the way out.

Heralding what may be a highly controversial approach to “closing the gaps” in terms of Maori inequality, Jacinda Ardern made her most important speech at Waitangi by stating that the new Government would take a universalistic approach to inequality – by targeting everyone at the bottom, rather than specifically targeting Maori.

Jacinda Ardern strongly emphasised the need to deal with the long list of social ills that have a disproportionate impact on Maori, but signalled that race-based methods were not the best way of moving forward.

Since then, the Finance Minister has confirmed this shift in approach to dealing with inequality. In an interview with Morning Report’s Guyon Espiner on Wednesday, Grant Robertson responded to questions about whether the Government would specifically target Maori in its programmes, saying: “Our focus is on reducing inequality overall” – you can listen to the six-minute interview here: Global market dive: Grant Robertson optimistic.

Espiner sought clarification: “So there won’t be a specific Closing the Gaps type programme that we saw under Helen Clark? We’re not looking at heading off down that path?” Robertson replied: “That’s not the approach that we are taking. But we believe that we will be able to lift a significant number of Maori out of poverty, and increase employment outcomes, because of the approach we are taking.”

Robertson went on to explain that the Government would keep some targeted funding for Maori, but stressed that a more universal approach would dominate:

“Maori will benefit disproportionally from the families package – from those payments, because at the moment, unfortunately, Maori appear in those negative statistics. We’ve got a range of programmes coming down the line that will support Maori and the wider population as well. Where it’s appropriate, where there are programmes – particularly in an area like Corrections – where we know that we can have a real impact on that Maori prison population, then we’ll have a look at them.

“Similarly, with employment programmes. But in the end, Guyon, this is about reducing inequality overall. It’s about providing opportunities for all young people – and we know that Maori will benefit more from that, because unfortunately they are in those negative statistics.”

Essentially, this new approach means directing resources and solutions to poor Maori “because they are poor” rather than “because they are Maori”.

This isn’t popular with some Labour Maori:

In RNZ interviews following on from Robertson’s, both Willie Jackson and John Tamihere reacted negatively against the notion that the Government was shifting in this direction – you can listen to the interviews with Jackson and Tamihere.

Jackson is a Labour MP.

Nor with the Maori ‘elite’:

The Government’s shift away from focusing on iwi property rights has also been signaled by Regional Development Minister Shane Jones. Sam Sachdeva reports: “Whereas English and his predecessor John Key seemed to focus on Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi and property rights, Jones says the new government will have a greater emphasis on Article Three and the entitlements, rights and obligations of citizenship” – see: A fresh start at Waitangi?.

This might all end up in legal fights. 1News has obtained the letter from iwi leaders to the prime minister complaining about their change in direction, and threatening Supreme Court action if iwi rights to freshwater were not addressed – see TVNZ: Iwi leaders unhappy issues like water ownership aren’t on new Government’s radar.

An interesting observation:

There was nothing about this in the Labour-NZ First coalition agreement.

I wonder what the Greens think. And I wonder how much they have been consulted.

From Green policy: “We would continue to support and strengthen Whānau Ora”