Prime Minister Bill English absolutely made the right decision in staying away from Waitangi’s Te Tii marae for the powhiri, according to Ngapuhi leader David Rankin, one of many who spoke out in support of the decision.
The attendance of New Zealand's Prime Minister at that marae has been a vexed issue every year, with John Key making the decision not to go last year after being refused speaking rights and threats of protests.
Mr Rankin said the marae committee insulted the Prime Minister by banning him from speaking, and then tried to backtrack when they realised they had gone too far.
Mr English was correct when he said “a lot of New Zealanders cringe a bit on Waitangi Day when they see the way that the ceremonies are being conducted”.
There is no real reason for any Prime Minister to visit the Te Tii marae. The treaty was not signed there. It was signed over the bridge at Waitangi on the big lawn in front of the Treaty house, the location of the official ceremonies on Waitangi Day.
PM promoted pre-1980s Treaty views in 2002
Unless New Zealanders accept Te Tiriti o Waitangi at something much closer to its face value, we could destroy something unique, Bill English told the New Zealand Centre for Public Law, in Wellington, in 2002.
Uncontested assertions, such as the inevitability of the political control of everyone by Maori, are shaping government policy, judicial thinking and political debate, he warned.
This is at odds with the clear meaning of Article III of the Treaty, that expressly declared all members of Maori hapu or iwi to be British subjects, and therefore, today, New Zealand citizens, he said, adding that Maori would no longer be members of domestic, or dependent, first nations.
The position of the National Party on Treaty issues has moved a long way from where Mr English saw it was in 2002. His 2002 speech is worth reading.
The Mad Butcher and racism
A spat between Sir Peter Leitch and Waiheke woman Lara Bridger has laid bare the deep divisions in New Zealand society that have been created in the last 40 years with the escalation of race based “rights” and privileges, according to Auckland blogger Jo Holmes.
Ms Bridger published a tear-stained expletive-laden video on Facebook claiming the man known as "The Mad Butcher" told her at a fleeting encounter at a winery that Waiheke Island is a "white man's island" and that she should leave.
The video, featuring a lengthy rant after the fleeting meeting, spread like wildfire through social media and into the mainstream in the news-starved summer break.
Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy initially said on radio that Sir Peter was the “least racist” person she knew, but changed her stand just hours later, releasing a statement calling Leitch's comments “casual racism”.
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