At Ratana Pa last Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern kicked off the political year when she said “we will never have fulfilled our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi or the prophesies of Ratana” until “we” have improved Maori social indicators.
Ms Ardern wants to “make sure Maori are no longer over-represented in our unemployment statistics, that they are no longer over-represented in our prison population, that they no longer have tamariki living in poverty, and that our rangatahi, particularly those who live in the regions, have every opportunity for a decent job and a decent future."
Ms Ardern could achieve this quite simply, almost at the stroke of a pen, by requiring the official definition of Maori limited to those with 50 percent or more Maori ancestry.
That would mean that the white-skinned inmate with Maori facial features, an English or Irish name, and “Mongrel Mob” tattooed on his face, would probably no longer qualify for classification purposes as Maori.
A “50-percent Maori ancestry” definition would cause a dramatic reduction of the numbers of Maori in jail, transforming the prison population from largely Maori to scarcely Maori.
The same would be true for unemployment statistics, children in one-parent families, and so on through all the social indicators.
Of course, everyone who identifies as Maori irrespective of degree of ancestry may carry on expressing Maori culture in language, dress, hairstyles, tattoos, and lifestyle without restriction. The only change is in the definition used by the Government for collecting statistics.
Now, wouldn’t a new definition of Maori as being limited to those with 50 percent or more Maori ancestry bring a dramatic, meaningful, and easily achieved transformation of our social landscape?
Ms Ardern could respond by giving reasons for support or opposition to this modest proposal from Hobson’s Pledge.
See the Waatea News coverage of Ms Ardern’s comment at https://www.waateanews.com/waateanews/x_story_id/MTgyNDk.html
Palmerston North protesters attack Maori ward petition
When Hobson’s Pledge spokesman Don Brash turned up in The Square in Palmerston North on Wednesday afternoon to promote a petition calling for a vote on a proposed Maori ward, two groups turned up – those who supported having a vote and those who wanted to prevent a vote.
Hobson's Pledge is backing calls for votes in Palmerston North, Manawatu, Western Bay of Plenty, Whakatane, and Kaikoura, on decisions to adopt Maori wards for the 2019 local body elections.
A total of 2727 Palmerston North signatures are required by February 21 to force a vote on the Maori ward issue. Manawatu voters need 1004, Western Bay of Plenty need 1705, Whakatane 1165, and Kaikoura needs 300.
Western Bay of Plenty petitioners have announced that they have exceeded their goal.
The Manawatu Standard reported the pro and anti-petition rally at the Square next to the marble statue of Te Peeti Te Awe Awe, who in 1865 played a big role in selling the 250,000-acre block on which Palmerston North was developed.
But the Manawatu Standard seemed unaware of the antics of the Maori-sovereignty flag waving anti-petition crowd, a number of whom spent the afternoon harassing Dr Brash to prevent him from collecting signatures.
The Manawatu petition organiser, Andrew Quarrie, was correct when he said having to use a petition to defend what he called the status quo was "back to front".
"Those wanting to change the status quo [in favour of wards] should be the ones having to promote a petition. This has been forced on people in Manawatu without consultation," Mr Quarrie said.
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