Orewa revisited

As many readers will know, on the last day of November the Stuff media group ran an apology to Maori New Zealanders on the front page of all their newspapers under the heading “We are sorry”.  They said that they had been racist, “contributing to stigma, marginalization and stereotypes against Maori”.

I admit I didn’t pay too much attention to the apology, writing it off to the increasing “wokeness” of Stuff’s editorial positioning.

But the matter became a good deal more personal when last Sunday (6 December) the editorial in the Sunday Star-Times apologised for the way in which the Dominion-Post had covered the speech that I had given to the Orewa Rotary Club in January 2004, almost 17 years earlier.  The speech was described as “Brash’s attempt to win power off the back of a speech designed to pit Maori against Pakeha”.

I was outraged by that description.  Certainly, the speech produced an unprecedented surge in support for the National Party, of which I was Leader at that time, but it was not “a speech designed to pit Maori against Pakeha”.

There was nothing in the speech which should have offended Maori.  I recognized that both colonists and Maori were sometimes less than honourable in their dealings with each other in the mid-19th century.  I expressed support for paying compensation when it could be shown that injustices occurred, and indeed urged that the resolution of historical grievances should be accelerated.

The speech was intended to reaffirm that the National Party was firmly committed to a single standard of citizenship, with all New Zealanders having equal political rights, irrespective of their ancestry, as the Treaty of Waitangi unambiguously promised.

I asked the editor of the Sunday Star-Times for a right of reply and was told that I could write a letter to the editor which they would consider for publication.   And they did publish my letter today (13 December), in full, and under the headline “No apology for Orewa”.  For that, I am grateful, though regret that they deleted from the text that I had supplied a link to the full text of the speech so that readers could judge for themselves whether it was racist.

Re-reading the speech this month, I was struck by its continuing relevance: unless we do constantly push back against those who would divide New Zealanders into those with some Maori ancestry and the rest of us, it is very hard to see a peaceful future for New Zealand.

The full text can be read on my website at https://www.donbrash.com/national-party/orewa-2004-nationhood/

This may be our last Update for 2020, so let me remind you that we are still seeking additional help with gathering signatures for local referenda on Maori wards in Whangarei and Kaipara (and in the Northland Regional Council area), Tauranga, New Plymouth, Taupo, Gisborne, Ruapehu, and South Taranaki.

It is not difficult collecting signatures. Many are willing to sign petitions because they want to have a say on the issue. Go to [email protected] to volunteer.

And in closing, thank you for your ongoing interest and support, and all the very best for the holiday season and 2021.

  • By Don Brash

Hobson’s Pledge spokesman

Our coastal petition is growing

Our petition which asks Parliament to amend the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 to restore public ownership of the coastal area, put all claims through the High Court, and repeal customary marine title, while affirming customary rights has picked up 25,907 signatures. We need your support. The petition may be signed at https://www.change.org/beaches4all

Taxpayers tipped to buy Ihumatao

Today, Cabinet was to consider a proposal for taxpayers to buy land at Ihumatao with no word on whether the land would be given to claimants. Our petition for the Government to allow both Te Kawerau a Maki and Fletchers to proceed with their lawful business on private land at Ihumatao, near the Auckland airport, has collected 3360 signatures. Our petition is at  http://chng.it/xPN6P55k

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