So many issues driven by our current Government have race at their foundation.
As I wrote about last week, we are still working through the impact of the Safer Online Services and Media Platforms proposal from the Department of Internal Affairs and Independent Electoral Review recommendations.
These demonstrate that instead of being an inclusive multicultural nation where equal rights before the law are assured, we have become a divided nation.
It now seems that as a Maori, I am not only afforded different rights before the law but also expected to forgo all democratic rights of representation and consideration due to the arrogant claims of a Maori representative whom hardly anyone voted for.
Yesterday, Rawiri Waititi, the co-leader of the Maori Party, was discussing gang lawlessness and, staring into his camera, told the Prime Minister and the leader of the National Party that they needed to "shut their mouths."
In an environment of escalating crime, and with so many families and businesses living in fear, we can’t even discuss the foundational issues of law and order.
The Maori Party is not the elected representative or the voice of Maori. In the last election, with a Maori roll of 276,013, the Maori Party secured only 33,632 votes, representing just 12%. When the total number of eligible Maori voters are 473,046 (nearly half of whom chose not to be separated by race and opted out of the Maori roll), they secured only 7% of the total Maori vote.
We frequently hear democracy demonised as the tyranny of the majority, but tyranny of the minority is an appalling alternative.
Waititi commented on this situation in Opotiki when he stated “Christopher Luxon, Chris Hipkins need to shut their mouths and stop using our people as a political football to score points. They have no business whatsoever commenting on matters they know nothing about. Keep my iwi out of your mouth.”
When the community of Opotiki has closed schools and parks in an environment of fear, it seems that the leader of the Maori Party not only believes he represents all Maori but also suggests that non-Maori do not warrant any consideration or protection.
He went on to comment, "Please be respectful at this particular time as our community mourns their loved one." It is hard to avoid the conclusion that he is suggesting that ALL Maori are affiliated with or members of the Mongrel Mob.
How does New Zealand hope to come up with solutions when political leaders can demand that those of a different ancestry "shut their mouths" on such foundational issues as law and order?
With all that is happening now, the last thing we need is for politicians to shut their mouths. We need more accountability, more transparency, and, most of all, more answers.
The Department of Internal Affairs, the one who produced the proposal to limit and restrict what we can say online, except for Maori, is in the firing line for sneaking through changes to the Three Waters legislation without authority. These changes were only picked up by later scrutiny from MPs.
Sir Geoffrey Palmer, the former prime minister and constitutional law expert, rightly notes "There is always a temptation in emergency situations to cut corners and depart from constitutional principle. New Zealand lacks the checks and balances to prevent such constitutional slippage."
This does not bode well for the even more complex and unworkable resource management reform legislation.
We know how easily constitutional slippage can occur, like when this Government attempted to remove equal suffrage from New Zealand through the Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill. This would have become law if the bill hadn't been successfully challenged by our supporters. Your support and public outcry do work!!!
The tactics of the Department of Internal Affairs reported this week demonstrate why we must continue to be diligent and under no circumstances should we “shut our mouths”.
Thank you for your massive support in making submissions on the bi-lingual road signs. We are close to 20,000 submissions, with another two weeks to go before the closing date.
It is hard not to conclude that our Prime Minister is himself keen for us to shut our mouths when he comments on those criticising the road sign proposal: “There is a racist underbelly in some of the public dialogue around this and that does seem to be an audience the National Party are trying to appeal to.”
This issue is discussed in length in an article by Graham Adams called 'Are bilingual road signs safe or even sensible?'
Your support in making submissions on the bilingual road signs is not representative of a racist underbelly but rather a representation of New Zealanders who are frustrated by a narrative of race-based division and want real, practical, effective solutions that deliver better outcomes for all.