Education Amendment Bill: Ethnic fundamentalism is used to masquerade as a panacea for solving future educational and training needs

Submission by Dr Tom Johnson on the Education and Training Bill

As someone with post graduate academic knowledge and practical experience in the embedding of culture on both a macro and organisational basis I believe I am qualified to comment on the Education and Training Bill, and its limitations and errors. The bill in its present form is alarming. Ethnic fundamentalism is used to masquerade as a panacea for solving future educational and training needs.


As an octogenarian who has lived his entire life in New Zealand I have been guided by three overarching philosophical principles:

  • The first is to treat people the way I want to be treated myself,
  • The second is to be proud of who I am (New Zealander) and my culture, but I do not try to “ram those cultural principles down other people’s throats”.
  • I have been an advocate of equality within the law for all citizens, all my life, and have always believed everybody should take a pride in their individual heritage regardless of ethnicity.

As someone with post graduate academic knowledge and practical experience in the embedding of culture on both a macro and organisational basis I believe I am qualified to comment on the Education and Training Bill, and its limitations and errors. 

The bill in its present form is alarming. Ethnic fundamentalism is used to masquerade as a panacea for solving future educational and training needs.

My pride in my New Zealand heritage has been influenced by factors such as growing up as a child in World War 2, experiencing the fear, deprivations and hardships of those years. In the egalitarian spirit which prevailed, I also experienced the rewards of hard work and having aspirational goals.  My values coincided with the achievements and pride of being a New Zealander generated by the results of the All Blacks, the Yvette Williams, Peter Snells, Murray Halbergs, Lisa Carringtons, and Valerie Adams et al of this world. Role models and achievers all, and proud New Zealanders.

The Bill in its present form is not based on either truth or reality and is therefore doomed to fail. It is a racist bill and will generate widespread discontent on this basis alone.

To paraphrase a statement from Lord Bhiku Parekh, academic, life peer and expert on multiculturalism – “Racism is not a monopoly of whites.” What New Zealand needs is to seek a national identity which all ethnic groups buy into. It is Western Civilisation that has been responsible for the development of democratic governance principles and many of the innovations that improve our daily lives. It has also provided a moral or ethical framework that should guide our societies. I do not mean any specific religion, but the broad principles of freedom, justice and social discipline.


The inclusion of the Treaty or so called Treaty principles and partnership is the major reason the Bill is a potential disaster and will fail. It will add fuel to the slide into a neo-apartheid state already well advanced.   

I find it appalling the Prime Minister doesn’t know or obviously understand the three simple articles of the Treaty. How many parliamentarians does this apply to? She does however know the principles and the partnership requirement both of which are not in the Treaty.

Decisions on Treaty issues need to be based on documented factual truth if included at all. The truth is:  

  • The Treaty is a nullity in law.
  • Treaties are only agreements between nations not individuals. There was no Maori nation in 1840.
  • Article one- 512 Maori Chiefs (signatories) ceded sovereignty.
  • Article two – enshrined property rights.
  • Article three – gave all New Zealanders the rights of British Citizens (Equal Rights).

Because of the remoteness of New Zealand from the rest of the World, Maori were basically a “Stone Age” race, with no written language, no metals and no use of the wheel and, as tribal groups, constantly at war. Contemporary Maori have raised issues over their sovereignty on the basis they never relinquished it. This can be readily disproved from reading the minutes of the Treaty or those of the 1860 Kohimarama Conference where a number of the original signatories attended. Associate Professor of Maori and Indigenous studies Sandra Morrison, and Treaty educator Ingrid Huygens, are typical of Maori history academics rewriting their history and in this case claiming the Treaty is a true partnership.

Historian Graham Butterworth in his academic article on dubious Maori history “It’s always winter but never Christmas” aptly says that most historiographies are written for ideological reasons and are therefore not a record of truth and reality. Distortion of reality and truth is common practice when it comes to issues of race or ethnicity. Decisions on Treaty issues need to be based on documented factual truth, not from the untruths and propaganda of academics suffering from some form of political, ideological dementia.

The separatists have been very successful in using cultural rites to consolidate their position. Non-Maori New Zealanders are constantly confronted with hakas, waiatas, powhiris etc., ad nauseum even when they are completely irrelevant. Our universities according to Professor Elizabeth Rata, author of numerous academic articles on Maori education and ethnicity issues in New Zealand, has stated that  passes in post- graduate studies are being awarded to Maori students without the rigorous standards being met as they should.  Efforts are continuing all the time on getting special representation on Local Body Council Committees based solely on race rather than the democratic principle. Most of our history from a Maori perspective is being re-written and sanitised to cut-out cannibalism, slavery, infanticide etc. and all modern day Maori problems are blamed on colonialism for ruining such an idyllic pre-European existence. All absolute rubbish – but as Joseph Goebbels said: "tell a lie often enough and the people will ultimately believe it is the truth".

The 1975 Treaty of Waitangi Act created the Waitangi Tribunal a cancerous undemocratic body in that only Maori have representation on. It is scandalous because it allowed one small group of New Zealand citizens even with minute trace of tangata Maori ancestry advantage and privilege under the law not available to any other New Zealand citizen.

New Zealand is committed to support the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states in Article 2 that "everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status". On this basis, all New Zealand citizens (subject to verifiable need) must have the same rights, privileges and duties, irrespective of when we or our ancestors arrived in this country. I recognise that a well-educated population is essential to a well-functioning democracy − a system proven to deliver the most unity, peace, prosperity and comfort in the long term.  Instead the Bill’s current emphasis is on ideology and race-based politics,

I recommend it be re-written to put much greater emphasis on best practice in the highest standards of international education; preparing all of our young people for success in a fast-moving, global environment; and meeting the varying educational needs throughout our population. The Bill’s emphasis on selective ethnic privilege and indoctrination is a massive disservice to the world views and future needs of most New Zealanders.

Consequently, I oppose the pervasive drive to instil racial separatism, privilege, tribal control and propaganda that is evident throughout this ‘Education and Training’ Bill.

I recommend that it be amended to ensure it is inclusive of all population groups within New Zealand by removing all references to any particular ethnicity and teaches the highest possible, international standard of curricula.


  1. I oppose Part 1 clause 6 Statement of Expectations

The Elected Parliament Must Not Delegate Its Responsibilities.
This enables Ministers of Education and Māori Crown Relations, after consultation with (unspecified) Māori, to tell educational agencies what they must do – all without any approval of Parliament. This is not only “warm fuzzies, but also panegyrics.  It is also nebulous – who are the unspecified Maoris and what do they promote?

I recommend
this part be deleted from the Bill as it removes the democratically elected Parliament’s full oversight of New Zealand’s educational standards. It is also highly discriminatory.

I oppose the inclusion of Part 3 (h) and Section 9 (1) (d)

Our educational institutions must not be used to promote political, racist propaganda. Such propaganda may be common in Totalitarian States, but not New Zealand whilst we retain some semblance of democratic governance.
This part or section requires the whole education system to (“honour” the Treaty), It allows for bias, notions of racial superiority, or feelings of resentment in our children’s minds. Such tactics have been used over the issues of climate change and are abhorrent to the use of free speech and no place in any democracy. In New Zealand our blood lines are so intermingled the Government must not allow our education system to be used by the Maori Sovereignty or Cultural Marxist Movements to gain control over the country via the malleable minds of young New Zealanders. The objective should be to prepare young people to be responsible, self-reliant adults who are net contributors to a healthy, peaceful society and are well-prepared for domestic and international work opportunities, it is imperative that our education system be free from racial or political bias.

I recommend that ALL reference to distinct ethnicities be deleted from this bill.

  1. I oppose The Over-reach of Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    My opposition is against the factually untruthful use of the document which is a nullity in law and its administration proves the incompatibility of tribalism and democracy. I oppose also the use of “principles and partnership” theory that was never in the original document. Spineless politicians of all parties have dodged Treaty issues like the bubonic plague over the years and never held binding citizen’s referenda on the Treaty issues. PM Key wanted to avoid the “Hikoi from Hell” but was happy to waste $26 million on changing the flag. Our Foreshore and Seabed has almost our total coastline under Wahi tapu, Wahi Taonga or Rahui protection claims. This distortion of reality over who owns the foreshore or who owns the water highlights the complete weakness of the Treaty as something to be included in current legislation.
    Unfortunately, the Bill’s Part 1 Clause 9 continues the distortion of the Treaty in an effort to legalise separatist, racist and discriminatory behaviour in the education and training sector. From early childhood through to tertiary and training establishments  and their governance, plus related entities, the Bill sets out ‘Maori’ requirements for propaganda, mind control, subservience, privilege, local tribal elite manipulation and control, responsibility for improving outcomes for all ‘Maori’ in the community (not just students), plus positive discrimination in employment. 
    I recommend these parts of the Bill be deleted in their entirety.

  2. I support Part 3 clause 122 in the section on School governance and Curricula, where the board’s primary objectives are to ensure that the school is a physically and emotionally safe place for all students and staff. This gives effect to relevant student rights set out in the Bill of Rights Act 1990, and the Human Rights Act 1993; and takes all reasonable steps to eliminate racism, stigma, bullying, and discrimination within the school.
    This is in direct contradiction to the Bill’s ethnically-based politicising of the education system and its governance. It is regressive, destructive and undemocratic for this Bill to require well-established values and educational systems to be overridden without question or debate by Objective 4/Part 3 clause 122 which requires school boards to ensure that their plans, policies, and local curriculum reflect local tikanga Māori, mātauranga Māori and te ao Māori.

As already expressed New Zealand has based most of its laws and functions on Western standards, which has given rise to a commitment to Human Rights. Our societal model which has evolved through time now has to cope with a multiplicity of ethnic groups and many cultures. There are decided benefits from adopting the best attributes of these, but again New Zealanders need to develop a national identity. As Western Civilisation that has been responsible for the development of democratic governance principles and many of the innovations that improve our daily lives, including a moral or ethical framework that should guide our societies and forms the largest ethnic group in society much of the identity and culture will reflect that numerical dominance. It is important the broad principles of freedom and justice be retained. To cope with evolutionary change the national curricula should only change after content specifics are examined and widely debated and agreed on by all the education stakeholders.

I recommend that a single New Zealand-wide curriculum item be development to explain tikanga Māori (and the fact that it can vary from hapu to hapu) local, mātauranga Māori and te ao Māori; and that this course be offered to students on an opt-in basis only. It should only be implemented if it cannot harm the educational performance of the children and only after consulting with, and gaining the expressed consent of the wider school community. This applies also to the advocating of Te Reo becoming compulsory.  It is wasteful to spend money on a dying language.  Nobody speaks Anglo Saxon in Britain. Languages evolve, modify and die due to demand and use.

  1. ‘Maori-Crown Partnership’ Myth
    Under our democratic constitution, the Crown is sovereign of NZ. It cannot go into a ‘partnership’ with anyone or any group. Neither is there any mention of partnership or principles in the 1840 Treaty. This has been one of the great rorts of all time in New Zealand and cost the New Zealand taxpayer considerable amounts of money. The only apparent beneficiaries are those Maori in positions of power. This approach has been an indictment on the stupidity of politicians and the abandonment of truth for expediency and political gain.

    I recommend that Subpart5 Clause 449 delete the requirement for appointed members to the Teaching Council to ‘understand the partnership principles of the Treaty’.

  2. Competency and Human Rights Must be Prioritised over Diversity/Inclusivity.
    I support 5 (4) (c)’s purpose to instil an appreciation of the importance of inclusion, diversity, cultural knowledge, identity…… but not to the exclusion of or detriment of NZ’s western values & belief systems, including human rights, high education standards, and competency in teaching or governance.

    Clause 128 requires all school boards to ensure that the policies and practices for their schools reflect New Zealand’s cultural diversity. A nice ideal, but this needs to be within the constraints of our Western laws and belief system. There are many instances when Kiwis may well believe that our way is the best and only way, for example with regard to women’s rights, attitudes towards homosexuality, practical dress, involvement in physical activity, plus freedom of speech and religion.
    I recommend that this clause be amended to safeguard New Zealanders’ established values and commitment to human rights and democratic principles.

    Clause 308 describes the criteria of appointees to an inclusive and diverse NZIST’s Council. While ‘diversity of abilities’ is mentioned, ‘competency’ is not mentioned and it should be.
    I recommend that ‘competency’ is added to the criteria.

    The desire for diversity/inclusivity is also contradicted by Clause 312 which requires the NZIST’s council to have a Maori advisory committee – a privilege denied all other population groups. This is exclusive and discriminatory – it is blatantly racist.

 I recommend it be deleted.

Our hard won values of human rights and no discrimination on race, gender or religion must not be subverted by any other values which New Zealanders might consider unjust and outdated. Just because a person has Maori ancestry or is raised in any other culture or religion (e.g. as a Muslim) does not make any of their belief systems automatically superior to those New Zealanders, as a whole, hold dear.

  1. What happened to best practice education & academic Achievement?
    Educational achievement should be a priority of this Bill. It is very disappointing that the Bill does not have the students’ educational achievement as an objective and I recommend this be added.

    New Zealand’s decreasing emphasis on both the basics of a good education (e.g. reading, writing, English, maths & science) and the importance of quality parenting has resulted in our country slipping down the international education rankings with the inevitable social and workforce fallout.

    Our educational system needs to be reviewed, analysed and judged by independent, first world, non-political, non-partisan, and non-discriminatory and proven educational experts. Changes must certainly not be randomly imposed in response to any group’s demands or political movements.

  2. Curricula Changes: Compulsory NZ ‘History’, undefined, varying tikanga Māori, mātauranga Māori and te ao Māori (Objective 4/Part 3 clause 122)

    This section appears to have been written by Joseph Goebbels and is a real danger in to our society if we believe in truth and reality in education to contrived parochial or partisan revisionism. This Bill reeks of partisan politics and the Maori sovereignty movement. Who will decide on the history to be taught? Will they be professional, world class experts? Or will the content be as biased, revisionist, political and out-of-context as that seen during the recent Tuia 250: Cook Commemorations?

Historical Revisionism is another of the iniquities that has been occurring continuously in our government institutions as New Zealand’s true documented factual history is being subverted and sanitised. Historian Graham Butterworth in a paper (2006) “It is Always Winter: But Never Christmas” explains that the control of historical interpretation by emergent and ruling elites is a common political strategy used to secure the ideological dominance required to maintain political power and privileged access to economic resources.

It was the adoption of Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci’s cultural hegemony by Maori Academics, bi-culturalists and Iwi from the 1950s onwards that ultimately changed the political landscape in New Zealand. Cultural hegemony is about using culture, its rites and rituals like Hakas, powhiris, waiatas to indoctrinate and change the thinking and attitudes of people.  It becomes a powerful weapon if it is linked to a concerted programme to infiltrate the education system and government institutions using issues of purported grievance, and claims of partnership and treaty principles.  Propaganda becomes the accepted truth and reality when it is repeated often enough in an environment of political correctness.

While education around cultural understandings is generally useful, the ‘local’ Maori values, customs, belief systems, world view are not defined, may not be agreed upon within Maoridom, and may not necessarily meet international best practice nor with approval from Parliament or by the people of New Zealand.

Also, the recently expanded te reo is a cultural hobby language at best; it is not understood by many raised in Maori-speaking households or most Kiwis, or needed by most and is rarely spoken by ordinary people beyond this country’s borders. The compulsory universal incorporation of ‘local’ Maori values, customs, belief systems, world view and te reo throughout the curricula will not serve New Zealanders’ best interest into the future.

The frequent justification for te reo being forced on us all is that children were beaten for speaking Maori at school. This is a redundant argument as many Maori elders wanted the children to be competent in English and many of us over the age of fifty were ‘beaten’ at school, usually for speaking at all!

If Maori communities want any of this for their own children, they are able to establish private schools or after school activities for this purpose.

 I recommend that any revisionist Maori history and Treaty politics indoctrination throughout the educational system be deleted from this Bill.

  1. Equitable outcomes for Māori students yet no control over inputs
    Schools should certainly do their utmost to assist all children (not just those with Maori heritage) to achieve to the best of their abilities but how can school boards ensure ‘equitable’ outcomes when they have no control over vital inputs (home life, genetics, economic situation, parental/peer influence)? Even within biological families, the range of outcomes is wide ranging and not always ‘fair’. This ethnicity-based requirement is absurd and risks the result of low standards across all students.

    I recommend that Objective 4 is deleted as it is extremist, discriminatory and ridiculous.

  2. Maori are not a simple, homogenous group of people.
    Even in distinct suburbs or regions, people identifying as Maori simply do not have identical mixes of heritage, experiences, values or world view. (Auckland’s Ihumatao occupation and Tupuna Maunga Authority fiascos have demonstrated that very publicly.) Those with Maori ancestry cover the entire spectrum, no matter what the measure – brilliant success to abject failure; fantastically good to fairly pathetic; etc. So it is obtuse and condescending to suggest they might be clones in their thought processes, or that any Maori’s values and world view would automatically be superior to that of any other New Zealander, and that educational institutions should meekly adopt whatever self-appointed local Maori elite might wish to impose on all students.

I recommend that this bill be altered so that people of Maori descent are respectfully treated as fully-functional New Zealanders, and not as some subcategory based on race as incapable of individual thought or achieving in the modern world.

  1. Which ‘Maori’ get to be consulted with?
    The Bill regularly specifies ‘after consulting with Maori’ (e.g. Part 1, Clause 9, 15 (c)). Firstly, this is discriminatory as no other ‘group’ receives such privilege. Secondly, there is no clearly defined way specified for fairly and democratically ascertaining the opinions of all or even any one group of Maori. Despite the constant reference to ‘our people’ from politically dominant individuals, many Maori complain that they’ve never been consulted with. Many marae are not run by elected representatives and their members are subservient to and can be bullied by self-appointed, dominating families. Other, very vocal ‘Maori’ activists are not elected either, so they cannot claim to speak for Maori.

    I also understand that only 50% of those who identify as ‘Maori’ feel the urge to separate themselves from other New Zealanders by registering on the Maori electoral roll. So with attitudes and beliefs varying from person-to-person, who can say who can speak for all Maori of New Zealand, let alone all those of a region, a town or a street? Again this is a racist section of the Bill.
    I recommend that the bill be amended to treat all those of Maori descent as fully functional New Zealanders, capable of showing their support or opposition to Government proposals or policies in the same way that all New Zealanders are required to.

  2. The local ‘Maori’ way or world view may not always be aspirational.
    Having endured a weekend on the Treaty and “the Maori Way” From Sir Mason Durie at Massey University whilst doing an MBA, and then read voraciously considerable academic articles from Maori academics such a Sir Edward Durie, and numerous academic texts on ethnicity, biculturalism etc. I find this section again a racist promotion that has few if any benefits for students in terms of learning something beneficial to society.  The focus should be on subject matter relevant to world best practice and standards.

I recommend all references to tikanga Māori, mātauranga Māori and te ao Māori be deleted from any compulsory requirement in this bill.

  1. English is the major international language (in politics, business, health & transport) and the main language of communication between all ethnicities (including visitors) in our country. Yet part of 5 (4) (c)’s purpose is to instil, in each child and young person, an appreciation of the importance of te reo and sign languages (being our only two official languages). Another example of Gramsci’s cultural hegemony using Te Reo to infiltrate the system.
    I recommend that English be added to this line up of official languages and competence in it be given greater priority throughout our education system.
  2. Use of undefined te reo terms
    Not only are these terms undefined, but the Bill suggests that the understandings behind them differ all around the country anyway. Uncertainty creates opportunities for confusion, inefficiency, misinterpretation or abuse. Good law requires that all terminology has one interpretation which is either well understood throughout the country or is easily found in the document.
    I recommend that this bill provides a definition in English for each te reo term used.

  3. Mixing languages in our laws
    Random use of te reo in this Bill (and other which are largely written and communicated in English and predominantly target an English-speaking audience) only creates confusion and room for political manoeuvrings or corruption.
    I recommend that this Bill be produced entirely in English, with a full interpretation in te reo for any stakeholders who only speak te reo.

  4. Renaming our schools & institutions
    Part 3 Clause 179 allows school boards to change the name of a public school. Changing the names of all our institutions, organisations and departments from English to te reo is unnecessary, confusing and alienating. It blatantly demonstrates the ethnic-based dogma seeping through our supposed ‘public service’. For example, the once aptly named Correspondence School is now known as Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu making it harder to recognise, understand or pronounce.
    I recommend that this be amended so that any change in name can only be implemented after full consultation with the entire local community and be subject to a majority vote in favour by the school’s constituents.

  5. Minister can designate state schools as character schools.
    Accessing and controlling publicly funded schools must not be at the whim of any specific group within the community.
    I recommend that Subpart 6, Clause 191 be amended to ensure that such designations can only be taken after full consultation with all stakeholders and when a significant majority of the school community agree that such a change would suit their requirements of a local public school.

  6. Secular instruction vs. hypocrisy
    I have no problem with teaching in state primary and intermediate schools being secular (Cl 93) with parents being asked to ‘opt in’ their children to religious instruction (Part 3 Clause 57); however it is hypocritical to then impose unspecified and varying, religious-like ‘Maori’ belief systems on these same young people, i.e. Part 3 (h) and Section 9 (1) (d) requires the whole education system to “honour” the Treaty, (3 (i)) reflect and integrate te reo Māori, tikanga Māori, mātauranga Māori, and te ao Māori in the schooling system.

    This is very suggestive of religious beliefs, possibly even race-based totalitarianism (being based on activists’ dogma and their determination to dominate). The equality of all New Zealanders is already well covered by our New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and our commitment to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Similarly to Clause 58 in which teachers may be released from duties to take part in religious instruction or observances’, so too should they be released from having to teach any sort of dogma or indoctrination.

    I recommend that all associated parts of this Bill be deleted.


  1. Resumption of land on recommendations of Waitangi Tribunal (Part 6 Clause 536)
    The Waitangi Tribunal is an ethnically-biased organisation, with no requirement to search for and prove the truth or legality of any situation. Therefore its recommendations for the transfer of public school lands to Maori interests are not robust in any way.
    I recommend that any such recommendations from the Waitangi Tribunal be reviewed and checked by independent and well qualified professionals to verify whether the land was originally sold or has already been compensated for in some way.


  1. Resumption of wāhi tapu over public/private land (Clause 538)
    The Governor General does not have an operational governing role in NZ, therefore I recommend the deletion of 5 (1) by which “the Governor-General may, by Order in Council declare— that the land or interest is resumed by the Crown … (and then) the land or interest in land be dealt with in accordance with an agreement made between the Crown and the relevant iwi ……”

    I recommend that this clause be deleted as it is not the Governor General’s role to interfere with existing legislation that supports previous land sales, Treaty settlements and private property rights.


I support the specified intent of this Act (in Part 4) to ensure that our education system provides the skills, knowledge, and aptitudes needed for New Zealanders to fully participate in the labour market, society, and their communities; to support their health, safety, and well-being; and to assure the quality of the education provided and the institutions and educators that provide and support it.

I strongly oppose the absurd emphasis on ethnic separatism, privilege and dogma, and the move for Māori to have a greater influence on Ministerial decisions and the education system than any other population group. This is a racist Bill like so many aspects of local and central government regulations and in some cases laws. It is an effrontery to all those who believe in freedom and democracy.

The signs of ever increasing neo apartheidism are evident in almost all forms of local and central government activities. This Bill has a cultish, religious fundamentalist feel to it.  At worst it supports the manoeuvring of select tribal elite into positions of unelected power, control and no accountability over the minds of our young. New Zealand is already onto a trajectory like that seen in Zimbabwe, which within a couple of generations catapulted from being a rich, prosperous nation down to being a basket case of violence, poverty and dysfunction.

The New Zealand Government should definitely not be creating laws encouraging mindless subservience to cult-like belief systems - something which will inevitably lead to resentment and a growth in the racial divide. A good democracy is about delivering equality of opportunity for all, human rights, and best practice governance ensuring peace and prosperity. This Bill totally fails these high standards.

Defining people by their ancestry is feudalistic and archaic, and only serves aggressively self-interested, power-hungry types.

The New Zealand Government needs to remove all ethnic-based legislation from the Statute books if we are to be a first world, peaceful and prosperous, multicultural nation.

Dr Tom Johnson, MNZM

8 February, 2020


Dr Johnson wishes to acknowledge the assistance received from Fiona Mackenzie in the drafting of this submission.