Brash targeting Peters with racial sledgehammer

I doubt that Don Brash is deliberately being devious with his Hobson’s Pledge ‘anti-separatist’ campaign. It looks like a resurrection of his  claim to infamy from his Orewa speech in 2004 – that sparked a recovery in National party support but National have now dismissed this brash attempt at stirring up race debate again.

NZ Herald: Brash’s new campaign dismissed by political leaders

There is no longer any appetite in New Zealand for a race-based campaign led by former National Party leader Don Brash, political leaders say.

Both National and Labour dismissed Brash’s latest bid to put an end to “preferential treatment” for Maori in New Zealand.

Even the Act Party which Brash used to lead did not endorse the new “Hobson’s Pledge” campaign, which Brash is fronting.

The campaign echoes Brash’s infamous “one law for all” speech at Orewa in 2004 and the Iwi/Kiwi billboards used when he was National Party leader.

National Party campaign chairman Steven Joyce said today that times had changed, and he did not see the new campaign as a threat.

“The difficulty in what he’s focusing on is that most New Zealanders realise we take a very balanced approach to these issues.

While some issues hidden amongst Brash’s rhetoric deserve discussion his sledgehammer approach is a hopeless way to try and achieve anything but elevating angst and anger.

Brash sees one possible ally in Parliament – Winston Peters and NZ First.

Brash said that could put him in the unusual position of donating money to New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, who was once a sworn enemy.

“As it stands at the moment, the only political party which is making an issue of this is New Zealand First,” he said.

“Someone with my particular background is not wildly enthusiastic about that.”

Peters probably won’t be wildly enthusiastic about Brash stealing his thunder. Brash is far from being his favourite political activist.

Media have sought a reaction from Peters but so far there seems to have been no response.

Is Brash doing NZ First a favour by highlighting one of Winston’s hobby horses? Or is he going to damage NZ First support?

It’s hard to see whether Brash is trying to deliberately or inadvertently impact on NZ First.

Brash effectively trashed ACT when he hijacked the party in 2011. David Seymour has distanced himself from Brash:

Act Party leader David Seymour said there were aspects of Hobson’s Pledge that he agreed with. He opposed the creation of specific Maori positions within local government and Resource Management Act proposals which give iwi a new role in consenting decisions.

But Act’s position on Maori issues were changing, he said.

“If you look at where Act’s going today … partnership schools have been overwhelmingly endorsed by Maori.

“If it came down a choice between scrapping Maori seats and reforming education so that people have real choice … I don’t need to tell you which is Act’s priorities these days.”

What’s more effective in politics, pandering to populist racial intolerance, or achieving actual results?

Despite a support surge after his Orewa speech Brash ended up failing in 2005, and he nearly destroyed ACT in 2011.

Working with Maori on positive education initiatives, as Seymour is doing, seems to be a far better approach than inflaming and dividing – an ironic but inevitable effect of Brash’s blunt ‘one people’ ideal.

Stuff: John Key: Kiwis uninterested in ‘broken record’ attacks on Maori favouritism

Kiwis are not interested in Don Brash’s “broken record” of attacks on Maori favouritism, Prime Minister John Key says.

Key says he is unworried by the launch of an “anti-separatism” campaign fronted by the former National Party leader, intended to pressure politicians into opposing preferential treatment of Maori.

Key said he was not worried about the campaign, which was part of the democratic process, and believed most Kiwis “want to live in a harmonious New Zealand”.

“It’s sort of pretty much a broken record from Don, but I think New Zealanders have seen in the last decade what’s taken place, they’ve seen that ultimately as Treaty partners, Maori and the Crown have to work together and actually we’re a stronger country for doing that.”

Key did not believe there was separatism in New Zealand, but said the Crown had “legal obligations” to Maori which it had to follow.

“They have certain rights which are bestowed upon them and we have to honour the court rulings for doing that…if we don’t do that, the courts rule against us.”