Yesterday, in commenting on the decision by New Zealand First to vote against his Bill to entrench the Maori electorates, Te Tai Tonga MP Tino Tirikatene accused that party of pandering to anti-treaty rights group Hobson’s Pledge”. I’m disappointed that Waatea News did not take the trouble to get a comment from Hobson’s Pledge on Mr Tirikatene’s totally unwarranted description of us as an “anti-treaty rights group”. For that, I believe you owe us an apology.
Far from being an “anti-treaty rights group”, Hobson’s Pledge contends that the Treaty of Waitangi was an extraordinary document for its time in guaranteeing equal rights to all New Zealanders. Indeed, there can be no other plausible interpretation of its words.
No doubt it was that commitment which led to the creation of the Maori electorates, initially for a period of just five years, in 1867 because at that time only men who owned property were able to vote. Because most property owned by Maori was communally owned, very few Maori men were able to vote at that time. The separate Maori electorates should have been scrapped when all men were able to vote.
When the Royal Commission on the Electoral System considered the issue of the Maori electorates in the 1980s, they concluded that the Maori electorates did not serve the interests of Maori well, and should be scrapped if New Zealand adopted the MMP electoral system. We did that in 1996 of course.
25% of all Members of Parliament are now Maori, including the Leaders, Deputy Leaders or Co-Leaders of every party in Parliament. There is not the slightest justification for separate Maori electorates in 2019.
We believe that when media publish highly critical remarks about an organisation, the media should at very least give the maligned organisation a right of reply. Waatea News failed to do that.
Co-spokeperson for the Hobson’s Pledge Trust
Hobson's Pledge leader Don Brash - Racists are people who want different treatment for people based on their ethnicity or ancestry and we do not want that ! I want all NZers treated equally at law
Click here to hear Don's excellent interview on Waatea.news.com, December 9, 2019