Written by a New Zealander of Maori ancestry, a winner in life and in business and a true believer in truth and justice, Casey Costello

One month out from the election……….what have I learned? As spokesperson for Hobson’s Pledge I made a decision to stand up for what I believed rather than sit quietly by. 

With almost a year as a spokesperson I have been astounded by those who claim to represent Maori who consistently attack a message of equality of citizenship. 
So the lessons I have learned:
1. Speaking out for equal rights at law for all citizens regardless of ancestry is somehow criticised as racism


2. The Maori leaders who have benefited from special opportunities derived from their ethnicity have referred to my views as racist drivel. 

3. That you can gain political relevance by claiming to be a victim of poverty, racism, gender bias and hiding behind an image of your poor starving baby. This makes you a champion for the people when actually you are a poster child promoting welfare dependency and excusing fathers from accountability or responsibility for their off-spring. 

4. Those with absolutely no Maori ancestry at all can tell me how hard it is to be Maori in New Zealand and are specialists on what Maori need to succeed. 

5. That Maori ancestry is used more frequently as an excuse for failing rather than a motivation to succeed

6. That leaders claiming to represent Maori have gained enormous wealth and influence while being answerable to no one and accountable for nothing

7. That everything that is wrong is blamed upon a history long since passed that is distorted so significantly that it bears almost no resemblance to fact but is very useful in justifying a grievance industry

8. That the billions of dollars of corporate Iwi wealth is being withheld from those most in need without any criticism from those who actually need it because they are distracted by being given alternate enemies to blame for their situation 

9. The settlement industry relies on a continued and escalating need and poverty to justify their claims. If there is no poverty and need to point to then how will these self-appointed, self-serving vultures keep being able to demand more and more. 

10. A misguided sense that the situation for some seems to be unfair makes us accepting of imbalanced and bias decisions so many sit silently by watching endless money being poured into personal coffers failing to demand that it is channelled where it is needed and that there is accountability

11. That equality can only relate to equality of opportunity – equality of outcome is derived from personal effort, accountability and responsibility. No external intervention can create equality of outcome………..you can take a horse to water………

12. That 150 years of separatism has failed to achieve any tangible benefit and yet, like idiots, we advocate for more of the same – rather than saying wait a minute, let’s try something different

13. Those fighting strongest for separatism are those benefiting from it and those who need be protected from these self-serving scaremongers are misinformed and misrepresented – the poor statistics for Maori is all the evidence we need as evidence to how badly separatism has performed.

14. With all the talk of how hard things are for Maori, and all the statistics that prove that there is an imbalance, I am yet to have anyone tell me a single barrier, restriction, exclusion, regulation, legislation, policy or system that prevents anyone from succeeding based upon their ethnicity. If it was truly a racism issue then why is it that not ALL Maori are suffering.

We are teaching our young people that their economic prosperity is owed to them by others but they do not have to work for it. If you speak up against these self-appointed few then cry racist! That will shut down the debate.

What I have learned is that I am a New Zealander with the advantage of an ancestry and heritage that makes me proud because I KNOW that my ancestors taught me what I can take pride in, taught me how to work hard, taught me to be respectful to my elders, taught me to be responsible for my whanau and most of all that I am owed nothing from anyone but I can achieve anything I want if I am prepared to work, aspire and never ever settle for less than doing my best.

If every Maori, who claims to represent their whanau or their hapu or their iwi stopped complaining and took care of their own, gave back when they can, shared the wealth they have achieved, stop putting your hand out and started putting your hand up we would have no issues.

The methodology of disadvantage based upon ancestry and ethnicity does not withstand scrutiny but advocating on a platform of racism wins votes without your platform having to be scrutinised.

This methodology is failing and has been failing for decades because the agenda has nothing to do with actually improving the position of our most in need.

Stop looking for someone to blame …………….start looking for someone to inspire! "