After reviewing our campaign over the past year in light of the general election result, Hobson’s Pledge members chose to continue as a lobby group.
In a sense, the Hobson’s Pledge campaign was totally successful in that the source of much of what we opposed has gone. The Key-led National Party is no longer in power, Christopher Finlayson is no longer Treaty Negotiations Minister, and the Maori Party is out of Parliament.
The Maori Party in association with former Prime Minister John Key was the driving force for numerous race-based policies such as the egregious Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011, iwi participation clauses in the amendment to the Resource Management Act, and the out-of-control race-based welfare scheme known as Whanau Ora.
As Minister, Mr Finlayson was the architect of the Marine and Coastal Area Act, and through uber-generous treaty settlements he embedded co-governance arrangements in a number of local authorities.
However, everything we opposed remains in law. This includes separate Maori seats, the Waitangi Tribunal, the twin ideologies of Treaty principles and partnership, as well as the tribal claims for ownership of both the marine and coastal area and fresh water. Meanwhile, pressure for separate Maori seats in local government continues.
On top of that, two of the three leaders of the new government are from the generation immersed in Treaty grievance ideology for whom historical redress and race-based affirmative action is the norm rather than the exception.
Much has changed since opposition to the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 turned the tide of public sentiment on race-based policy and brought former National Party leader Don Brash close to becoming Prime Minister.
Our research in June found that 46.2% of the 1000 people polled support Maori seats, 35.3% oppose them, and 18.5% don’t know. In other words, any binding referendum as promoted for a while by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters would probably result in the seats remaining.
Nevertheless, the unintended consequences of appalling legislation and policy continue to exert pressure on us, voters and taxpayers, and changes may be made through political action. This is what we intend to do.
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