Hobson's Pledge racist? Hardly!

By Don Brash


What on earth is racist or bigoted about arguing that all citizens should have equal political rights, Hobson's Pledge founder Don Brash wrote in Elocal magazine's November edition.

Hobson's Pledge, launched four weeks ago, takes its name from the words spoken by Governor William Hobson at the February 6, 1840, signing of the treaty of Waitangi, namely "we are now one people".


Supporters of Hobson's Pledge agree simply that all New Zealanders should have the same rights, irrespective of when they or their ancestors arrived in New Zealand.

The campaign launch brought howls of outrage from New Zealand's politically correct media in dozens of articles both reporting condemnation by past and present politicians as well as scathing opinion pieces by reporters.

"I've been denounced as racist, a bigot, a redneck, a broken record, and probably a secret member of the Ku Klux Klan", Dr Brash wrote.

"When Bill English was Leader of the National Party he gave a very strong speech supporting the principle that all of us should have equal political rights, and in 2003 he committed a future National Government to scrapping separate Maori electorates, as had been recommended by the Royal Commission on the Electoral System," he wrote.

"When I was Leader of the National Party I made a similar commitment, and so also did John Key in the 2008 election campaign," Dr Brash wrote.

"There was no hint from the National Party that they would not only support the continuation of separate Maori electorates but would introduce "co-governance" - with tribes having the right to appoint people to many local council committees as of right - on a very wide scale," he wrote.

The Independent Maori Statutory Board has voting rights on most Auckland Council committees, the Hawke's Bay Regional Council has 10 voting tribal appointees on their regional planning committee, and Environment Canterbury has two voting tribal appointees, and more, Dr Brash wrote.

The arrangements imply that New Zealand should be being run as some kind of "partnership" between those elected by all citizens and those appointed by a small sub-set of New Zealanders who happen to have one or more Maori ancestors, he wrote.

Despite the argument of some activist judges, there was nothing about "partnership" in the Treaty of Waitangi.

"On the contrary, the Treaty involved chiefs surrendering sovereignty to the Crown, and accepting in return all the rights and privileges of "British subjects". And that's true no matter which version of the Treaty one looks at," Dr Brash wrote.

First published: Hobson's Pledge racist? Hardly! Elocal, November 2016.