Friday 30 April 2021

Can Judith Collins Make Don Brash’s ‘Nationhood Soufflé’ Rise Twice?

Can She Raise It A Second Time? The question is: Can National’s current leader, Judith Collins, rely upon Don Brash’s Nationhood Soufflé recipe to produce an equally dramatic rise in her party’s fortunes? Or, in the intervening years, has the ideology of “Treatyism” persuaded enough New Zealanders to renounce the ideas which, in 2004, transformed National overnight from a party of the walking wounded into a serious electoral contender?

SEVENTEEN YEARS HAVE PASSED since Don Brash gave his in/famous “Nationhood” speech to the Orewa Rotary Club. On the strength of the sentiments communicated in that address, the Brash-led National Party leapt from a risible 28 percent in the polls to 45 percent. In a single 17-point bound, National was free of the clutches of its crushing 2002 election defeat. Had National’s chief strategist, Steven Joyce, not played silly-buggers with the Exclusive Brethren Church, there was every chance that 18 months later Brash would have become prime minister.

The question is: Can National’s current leader, Judith Collins, rely upon Brash’s Nationhood Soufflé recipe to produce an equally dramatic rise in her party’s fortunes? Or, in the intervening years, has the ideology of “Treatyism” persuaded enough New Zealanders to renounce the ideas which, in 2004, transformed National overnight from a party of the walking wounded into a serious electoral contender? More to the point, does Collins share Brash’s unwavering moral commitment to the ”single standard of citizenship” principle at the heart of his “Nationhood” address.

This is not an idle question. If Collins is unable to convince those voters who are either doubtful of, or openly hostile to, the Labour Government’s radical Treatyist agenda, that her opposition is authentic, then she is most unlikely to emulate Brash’s success. Love him or hate him, only the most rabid of his opponents doubted Brash’s sincerity on the “race issue”. Those who voted for him were absolutely certain that, if elected, he would fulfil his promise to remove all references to the Treaty of Waitangi and its ex post facto “principles” from the statute books; and that the Maori seats would, indeed, be abolished. Collins, if she is to capture the support National so desperately needs, must convince both her party, and the public, that the “separatism” she decries must – and will – be stopped in its tracks.

The slightest equivocation on this matter will convince even those who agree with Collins’ basic proposition that she cannot be trusted to see it through. Anything other than a rock-solid guarantee to uphold the core principles of liberal, colour-blind, democracy will only convince her potential supporters that her brave words are hollow: that, when push comes to shove, she, like all the others, will retreat before the relentless criticism of practically the entire political class. Does Collins have what it takes to hold her ground on the “race issue”? Does her caucus? We shall see.

The feeling that National needs to exploit, if it is to return to office in 2023, is the feeling shared by a great many voters that, no matter which party they vote for, the core settings of New Zealand society will not be changed. That the people “in charge” have absolutely no regard for, or interest in, the opinions of what Richard Nixon called “the great silent majority”. Indeed, many Kiwis are now uncertain whether or not their opinions are any longer shared by a majority of their fellow citizens, or whether they – and people who think like them – now constitute a minority of the New Zealand population.

On the “race issue” and “Treatyism”, this sense of being shut out of the debate is very far from being a figment of their imaginations. The politician most responsible for inserting “the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi” into legislation is the former constitutional law professor-turned-Labour-politician, Sir Geoffrey Palmer. In a paper entitled “Māori, the Treaty and the Constitution” delivered to a Maori Law Review symposium on 12 June 2013, he observed:

“These [legal] developments, and indeed later developments, have meant that substantial grievances of the Māori minority have a good chance of being handled in a principled fashion. Insulation from the ravages of extreme opinion has been achieved. The settlements have become mainstream.”

“The ravages of extreme opinion”. It is difficult to conceive of a phrase that more vividly sums up the way the New Zealand elites view the thoughts and feelings of their less elevated citizens. It would be equally difficult to locate a clearer confirmation of the widely held conviction that nothing ordinary Pakeha New Zealanders might say in relation to the “race issue”, or the Treaty’s place (if any) in this country’s constitutional arrangements, is likely to have the slightest effect upon the conduct of the powers-that-be.

Palmer, himself, confirmed as much in the same address when he stated: “My mail about the Treaty was always adverse and voluminous, but I was not deterred by it.”

What produced that extraordinary 17-point jump in National’s poll-ratings following Brash’s “Nationhood” speech was the electrifying collective conviction that Brash had listened to the opponents of Treatyism, heard their grievances, and was determined to give effect to their wishes.

Nothing mobilises voters faster or more effectively than the belief that, for once, their vote might actually count. Whether it be Dominic Cumming’s invitation to “Take Back Control”, or Donald Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again”, the idea that a visit to the ballot-box just might make a difference, almost always makes one helluva difference.

Collins’ predicament would be made a great deal easier if she and her team could avail themselves of solid data on New Zealanders’ views about the Treaty of Waitangi and the “race issue” generally. Twenty years ago this was a relatively straightforward process. In the 1990s, for example, one could turn to the reports of the New Zealand Study of Values (NZSV) for a very precise take on the public’s attitude to a whole host of economic, social and political issues.

In a little book entitled New Zealand Politics At The Turn Of The Millennium by Paul Perry and Alan Webster, which was based on these reports, New Zealanders attitudes towards the Treaty of Waitangi were set out very clearly.

In 1998 only 5.4 percent of those questioned believed that the Treaty should be strengthened and given the force of law. A quarter believed that Treaty claims should be dealt with through the Waitangi Tribunal “as it is at present”. Nearly 30 percent believed there needed to be greater limits on Maori claims under the Treaty. And 33.8 percent believed the Treaty should be abolished. Only 16.3 percent of those questioned responded positively to the idea of giving Maori special land and fishing rights to make up for past injustices.

When Don Brash delivered his “Nationhood” speech to those Orewa Rotarians in January 2004, his ideas fell upon fertile ground. We cannot be so sure that Collins’ views on separatism will be equally well-received. The NZSV ceased in 1998. For reasons one can only speculate about, academic interest in acquiring and publishing data on inconvenient public attitudes appears to have declined in the new millennium.

A great many of the New Zealanders who participated in those NZSV surveys more than two decades ago are no longer alive. Judith Collins must, therefore, make a big political bet. Have the numbers relating to the status of the Treaty of Waitangi, and to the “race issue” generally, become more favourable to the Treatyists – or more unfavourable? How many New Zealanders have changed their minds? More importantly, how many of them are willing to bet that National’s leader won’t change hers?

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 30 April 2021.


The Barron said...

"Judy, Judy, Judy" - wrongly attributed to Cary Grant

National under Collins could not stay put. The most successful political party in NZ's history, her Majesty's opposition, has become like a slave ship in the doldrums of the middle passage. Like the Captain of the Zong, Judith has decided which group she can do without on board.

National had a choice, they could assess the nations zeitgeist and challenge Labour to command it. Collins knows this would take at least one election loss, but allow Nation to remain relevant for the future. The other choice for Collins is to go right and try to cauterise the bleeding to ACT. Both choices try to bring back former voters, the former a nod to future voters.

National has always has pragmatically self-serving MPs. Populist right based on issues of the perception of race may pull some votes from those that deserted to ACT. National protects the right flank regardless of whether it remains isolated from the mainstream. A handful of list MPs secure their own next 3 years.

Maori and any sense of nation building are cynically cast aside and re-stigmatized. Nothing personal, it is just politics. A National led Government introduces Whanau Ora, but when similar structure is put forward by Labour for Health, it is separatism.

Judith Collins will regret this move. Looking over her shoulder are the ambitious for her job. Most notable are those that are better positioned than her for leading the direction she is taking National. It is a dead end for the party, and a suicide note for her leadership.

greywarbler said...

There seem to be elements of Batman's 'The Joker' in Collins appearance and style.
This is a background to The Joker. Perhaps Collins has been through life-forming experiences like these leaving an indelible imprint. The penitentiary would not apply of course, but which College and University shaped this wily, ambitious leader, and was she ever penitent about anything or considered reformation?

Early Life -
...Batman once noted that he was a well-known hypnotist before he turned to a life of crime.
Criminal Career
Intelligent and creative, yet totally amoral, the Joker engaged in a wide variety of crimes throughout his life and clashed with Gotham's law enforcement—especially Batman and Robin —
on numerous occasions.

As a career criminal, the Joker was no stranger to incarceration within Gotham State Penitentiary. Though he made daring escapes from the institution on several occasions, and managed to get lawfully released from it on several others by feigning reformation, he would always find himself returned to its confines by Batman...

Phil said...

The other big issue is China and I doubt very much the public view National as being more trustworthy in this sphere. I can only see the rise of David Seymour at this point.

Odysseus said...

Things have moved on from the Treaty. The touchstone has now become the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which John Key allowed Pita Sharples to sign in secret and with no public debate in April 2010. That is an increasingly inconvenient truth for National as Labour now moves to implement the document and Maori sovereignty, both of which have their origins in Cuban schools for subversion. Under the new framework, tentatively set out in He Puapua, New Zealand would be governed as a bi-racial condominium between Maori and the rest who are represented by the Crown. Non-Maori had better get used to second class status, which is why their history and the origins of their culture are to be written out of the school curriculum. Only Act is focussed on this emerging anti-democratic travesty. Collins hasn't a clue and National have no principles.

swordfish said...

(1) 2020 Vote Compass:
Q: "How much of a role should the Treaty of Waitangi have in New Zealand Law ?"
A Lesser role 36%
Current role is sufficient 35%
A Larger role 27%

(2) 2014 New Zealand Election Study
Q: "Reference to the Treaty of Waitangi should be removed from the Law. Do you agree or disagree ?"
Strongly Agree 24%
Somewhat Agree 18%
[= Overall Agree that ToW should be removed from Law = 42%]

Neither / Neutral 15%

Somewhat Disagree 15%
Strongly Disagree 18%
[= Overall Opposed to ToW being removed from Law = 33%]

Don't Know 10%

(3) 2017 New Zealand Election Study
Q: "Reference to the Treaty of Waitangi should be removed from the Law. Do you agree or disagree ?"
Strongly Agree 15%
Somewhat Agree 18%
[= Overall Agree that ToW should be removed from Law = 33%]

Neither / Neutral 14%

Somewhat Disagree 20%
Strongly Disagree 22%
[= Overall Opposed to ToW being removed from Law = 42%]

Don't Know 10%

(4) 2017 New Zealand Election Study
Q: "Maori should have more say in all Government decisions. Do you agree or disagree ? "

Strongly Agree 6%
Somewhat Agree 13%
[= Overall Agree that Maori should have more say = 19%]

Neither / Neutral 23%

Somewhat Disagree 27%
Strongly Disagree 25%
[= Overall Opposed to Maori having more say = 52%]

Don't Know 6%

Anonymous said...

"The final seizure of power from the capitalists in Aotearoa will consist of a mass uprising. It will be an insurrection with tens of thousands of workers in the forefront, supported by the vast majority of working people, coupled with uprisings in Maori communities. Because of the developed nature of the capitalist economy in Aotearoa and the concentration of the population in the major cities, we can expect the outcome of the revolution to be decided very quickly - in a matter of weeks or even days. We will not see a protracted people's war along the lines of the Chinese revolution. Instead we will see a rapid mass uprising in the cities, similar to the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917."

From "Towards a Socialist Republic of Aotearoa" by the New Zealand Communist Party.

The far left have a messianic belief in a World to Come, which comes about quickly after the Marxist state is established, or so they think despite all historical evidence to the contrary.

Most of the active "anti-racists" in NZ are communists. Byron Clark (most prominent social media "anti-racist") and Kassie Hartendorp (ActionStation; ran Ihumātao), for example, are both former members of the Workers' Party, one of several hardcore communist offshoots of the NZ Communist Party.

By their own admission all agitation in this these areas, all agitation along cultural or national flashpoints, is for the communists who control those groups an attempt to bring about a civil war or national conflict, which is seen as necessary. Many involved in leading today's "anti-racism" and climate change work, like Joe Carolan, are doing so in order to encourage conflict and eventually a revolutionary moment.

The communists' agenda has penetrated mainstream society and continues to be promoted on the basis of rights, social justice, etc. Most Kiwis, decent and compassionate people, will quickly affirm that they believe in equal rights and social justice - and even agree to take a hit personally in their wallets or in terms of how people of their heritage are regarded culturally - if the whole effort is geared towards making country a fairer and kinder place. But as they state themselves, that's not what the communists want at all. They want bloody sectarian conflict and then the takeover of an authoritarian state. Never the less, those very same communists are often quoted in the media, usually at this or that protest action, claiming that they march to advance the collective good, which has the ordinary meaning to the ordinary person of peace and security.

The media quotes and interprets the statements of communists involved in protest actions as though they were talking within the framework of the ordinary understanding of justice, of fairness, etc. In this way, the media actively helps to conceal from the public the true intentions of the protest leaders they interview but not because of a left wing conspiracy in the media. Most reporters are middle class and fairly ordinary at the end of the day, and share the same understandings as exist amongst the general public. The see people marching and complaining about injustice and assume that the action's leaders expect their demands to be met socially, politically, in the context of the society we presently live in, rather than in one that they believe will replace the present system after the present system has been destroyed.

None of the reporters at Ihumatao asked the true organiser of its logistics and financing, Workers' Party stalwart and born again Maori Kassie Hartendorp, whether she believed the protest action at Ihumatao would in some way help advance a revolutionary environment conducive to civil war and revolution, which would have been a perfectly reasonable question to ask her given that she is a paid up, active and long time member of New Zealand's communist network. But then she was not presented as the protest's leader - Pania Newton was.

Anonymous said...


Why Ihumatao? It was purposefully, very cleverly, designed to inflame a fracture point by the communists - and raise the spectre of private land being subject to occupation and settlement more widely. It was aimed at undermining the treaty process partnership and causing class and racial division.

As such I am not surprised to see the Urewera 17 and critical theorists and communists who organised things in the background then as now like Murdoch Stephens and David Moskovitz so prominent in today's communist front organisations, which are at present merging with government institutions.

David George said...

I don't think JC and the Nats need, or really want to make a big play on this to win election, some fair and reasonable policy would suffice to contrast with Labour. It's a shame there's no reliable surveys on this and people don't always say what they really believe but from my observations and discussions there's plenty of dissatisfaction with Labour's Maori wonderfulness campaign and general largess in their direction. Not forgetting the inexcusable sacrifice of fundamental democratic principles. It's not just Pakeha and many Maoris, our Asians aren't too happy about it either - more so I would say.

As a Kaikohe boy (with a bit of Maori ancestry) I naturally used a lot of Maori words in general conversation. Not any more, my contrarian instincts are aroused by the Stalinesque campaign to gratuitously replace precise and well understood names and words with poorly understood and ambiguous Maori words and phrases. I was reading a school newsletter, well trying to, it was so liberally laced with Maori as to be incomprehensible to anyone not fully bilingual. I was informed by a teacher relative that this is now a government directive. What's all that about? Of perhaps more concern, they are having to incorporate Maori woo-woo into the science curriculum. To what purpose? As if our abysmal and falling language, maths and science educational standards can justify the unnecessary diversion.

National are working on strategy at present, I don't think a divisive and possibly counterproductive campaign from them is on the cards. From what we're seeing that appears to be Labour's speciality.

Geoff Fischer said...

There are two main currents within the New Zealand political establishment. One that is sympathetic to Maori and which stands by the Treaty of Waitangi as the foundation and salvation on the nation and a second that implicitly rests its claim for legitimacy on Hobson's declaration of sovereignty and the state that evolved from it through the wars of the nineteenth century.
The majority of the population of New Zealand intuitively realize that the first option is unworkable, the second unjust, and being unjust, ultimately unsustainable.
Contrary to the current state ideology, people are hankering for a united nation. Not bicultural or multicultural but united - kotahi.
Throughout its history the Colony/Realm of New Zealand has assumed that the people of Aotearoa can be brought and kept together as joint participants in a British outpost in the South Pacific, with a British culture and political institutions.
From the late nineteenth to mid twentieth century that seemed possible but to any politically perceptive person it should be clear that it is no longer the case. That is why Don Brash and the Hobson's Pledge brigade failed in their project. And we should not forget that while at a certain point they may have come close to momentary success, they have failed and they will fail because their arguments are implausible or unconvincing when placed in the real social context of Aotearoa.
The only alternative on offer from the colonialist political establishment is a bicultural/multicultural "Treaty based" system which people understandably fear will divide our people, pit Maori against Pakeha, and leave other ethnic minorities out in the cold.
This is a situation in which political opinion polling, or actual electoral polls, will tell you very little about what the public are really thinking. Presented with a choice between two unworkable proposals they may randomly opt for one or the other but they are not convinced. There is no groundswell of enthusiasm for either a "Treaty partnership" state or for the continuation of a colonial state that is cast in the British mold.
So it doesn't matter what Don Brash, Winston Peters or Judith Collins may do or say. From where they stand, the only way out is through the door of Hobson's declaration of sovereignty on the one hand or through the door of the Treaty of Waitangi on the other. Neither option will stand up to critical scrutiny, neither will be embraced by public opinion, and neither will stand the test of history.

Max Ritchie said...

Whanau Ora was separatism but my approach at the time as “If it works then let’s try it”. It hasn’t worked and it is wrong in principle. The rotten health stats for Maori don’t apply to all Maori and they apply equally to Pacific people and to Europeans with the same problems of obesity, smoking, alcohol abuse and poverty. Those are the problems. Combine that with not accessing health care - for many reasons - and you get a predictable result. Setting up a health system for Maori only won’t change that and it will cost a fortune. Getting the 55% of children in, for example, the Bay of Plenty who do not attend school regularly to do so would be a much better move and would lead to improved health, guaranteed.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I'd comment, but the Barron has said it all. :)

Nick J said...

Barron, I concur on Captain Judith and her gangplank. She is not however an honest broker like Brash. Regardless of the content of his opinions he at least believed them with conviction. Judith by comparison lacks that honesty as demonstrated by her attitude toward compensation to Bain and her antipathy toward Teina Pora. Clearly double standards dont phase her, Oravida. If she tries to do a "Brash" she wont be able to carry it off, we wont believe her. That said I think the vast majority of Aotearoans regard the Orewa speech as passe.

Theres a degree of cynical politics in both Natz and Labour. Im unsure whether we would have got the separate Maori health body from Labour without pressure from the large number of Maori in their caucus. Lets hope it is successful enough to withstand future National government antipathy.

Shane McDowall said...

Judith Collins has the electoral appeal of a sea slug.

My psychic powers tell me she will be deposed as leader of National sometime in the 12 months before the next election.

National will probably lose the next election too, regardless of who captains the Titanic.

greywarbler said...

Anonymous at 6.16 - Communists loom large as bogeypersons in your statements. When a ruling group seems entrenched and bolstered against the people's needs and lives, and virtually throw crumbs to them although need for more is obvious, those who have a spark of principle and vision for humanity seek to form a group for change.

Sometimes there is wild talk, heated discussions which not to be followed through. It is letting off steam as happens with steam trains when boiler pressure is too high. But the boiler keeps going, and drives the train with a huge, weighty burden to a destination. The group letting off steam will sit down and try to work out some action to get change for the better. Your attention is frowningly on the group, with disdain for their purposes and methods and not for their raison d'etre; their desire to improve bad and unsatisfactory conditions. Ihumatao was probably symbolic for Maori as well as a successful intervention to colonial domination.

Now could you think about moving on towards sharing decision-making, stopping cartel-type powers pronouncing edict, to showing respect for Maori aspiration, and how that can be achieved in a way that builds on the present good and moves to widen and improve it. Pakeha can haka at rugby game; like Manuel in Fawlty Towers, 'we learn, we learn'. Maori have been learning for over a century as well, and we need to put the learnings together not fall into ranting about communism. Looking at Cuba where they aren't more awful and dangerous than we are, just people trying to make a life for themselves which wasn't controlled by affluent playboys and sharks from within but particularly from the USA.

greywarbler said...

David George I have noticed the sudden dumping of Maori language into place names, government agency names etc and have no idea what they mean or whether it is a changed system from the past, or something totally new. Labour came in brash with leftism in th 1980s and progress and changed our welfare system because it was something they had learned was 'right'. It seems to me they are doing the same thing again. Matters were improving with language, the proper pronunciation of place names using vowels correctly was happening, there was movement.

There was much work over past decades to improve knowledge of our history. We just needed a revision of our schooling so that Tomorrow's Schools was edited so that we had a national curriculum including a good understanding of our past with all its facets. Local people deciding what is to be learned locally is almost an oxymoron, and the diatribe of 'knowing that there are things we don't know' etc comes to mind. Many people are not curious enough or knowledgeable enough about society and the world to realise that their children need to learn more than they know or can envisage. But Labour has been infected with an evolved, mutant 'wokeness' that kills off rationality and reflection.

You mention the Asian concern at the drive to bring Maori to the fore, overriding democratic measures. That may be a factor in this latest, fervent approach. As free market forces bring large numbers of Asians of various nationalities here, their percentage mounts and dwarfs that of Maori. Immigrant people are questioning our pakeha bi-cultural agreement with Maori; Maori had predicted this would happen. Our NZ structure has been formed on Maori and pakeha agreements as just and right, now capitalist ideas of degrading every structure that doesn't suit money-first and materialistim wants to wipe that; it must not be allowed to triumph. Now ideas that were put forward in this 1997 paper (which I haven't yet read) may have crystallised.

greywarbler said...

Max Ritchie - go further, set up an education system that the Maori leaders of hapu would back and make it open to a parent or parents to be included for some of the time. When the colony was formed and education started Maori were very open to learning. I remember a story where I think a chief turned up with the young children learning their ABC. He said he was like them, at the beginning of learning the language and writing. Unfortunately the narrow-minded colonists wanted to overcome Maori culture and the language. With school disciplining use of te reo by even 5 year olds, with a harsh slap of the ruler on the hand, education became a burden for some and they did not attend.

Now stop treating school as a factory of information which is often simply trivia to someone who finds it irrelevant to the life they know. Make school a place where you can learn how to behave, get on with others, concentrate on tasks, making things and learning ideas and methods and symbolism at the same time. And bring parents in to it also, they could join the children in a cooking class making meals, baking scones, devising their own quick meal from a set of raw ingredients, learning to cook healthy food and enjoying it. The home is say 80% important in children's ability to learn and achieve confidence and self-respect.

And of course, the welfare system must encourage the parents to have work skills, take courses, mothers or fathers to find part-time work and be there for their kids, not at some ordinary job for the sake of it. The more people are keen to try stuff, succeed at it, the better parents they will be, and their children have good role models in their Mums and Dads. It would require a total change in attitude from the disdainful attitude often shown, and encouragement to build a life for themselves from a support base that is not withdrawn at the drop of a hat coming from the government. 'Helpful Support' instead of the name 'Welfare' would be a good move as the nastiness of past decades have dirtied that word irretrievably.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"The far left have a messianic belief in a World to Come, which comes about quickly after the Marxist state is established, or so they think despite all historical evidence to the contrary."

Yes, all 200 of them.

David George said...

With Chris's good grace here is the substance of a new Paul Kingsnorth essay that's relevant to this discussion: The Faustian Fire. Excerpt:

Why is this happening and what is going on? Looked at through a wide lens, it is a deeply weird (not to mention WEIRD) phenomena. What sort of country is ashamed of itself? What people wants to be governed by a ruling class that holds it in contempt? What historical precedent is there for a lasting culture whose story-makers are embarrassed by their own ancestors? How can any culture continue into the future if it is teaching its children a deeply disturbing form of racialised self-loathing?

Defenders of the current moment will usually respond that such accusations are hysterical. What is happening in the West, they say, is a long-overdue ‘reckoning’ with our culture’s past: the empires, the colonies, the imposition of our ways of life on the rest of the world. They’re not wrong about much of that history, however partially they tell the story. We know, or we should, that there were plenty of dark chapters in the Western past. If any culture takes to the high seas with cannons blazing and proceeds to paint half the world red (on the map and often on the ground), then at some point a reckoning will arrive. Actions have consequences. God is not mocked.

But this is not a good enough explanation for what is now clearly a process of accelerating cultural disintegration. After all, plenty of other parts of the world – pretty much all of them in fact, humans being what they are – have dark pasts too, but you don’t see Russia’s cultural elites collapsing into spirals of performative shame over how Lenin and Stalin brutalised eastern Europe or killed millions of their own people (on the contrary, Uncle Joe is very popular there these days.) Japan’s murderous history in southeast Asia doesn’t seem to have led to a desire to dismantle its historic identity, and China is certainly not about to start apologising for the last four thousand years – count them – that it has been engaging in imperial expansion.

No, something else is surely going on in the West, and especially in the Anglosphere, which can’t be explained purely by historical karma. Over the last few years, a new and still-coalescing ideology, which has been gathering steam in the post-modern catacombs of America for decades, has burst out onto the streets and into the studios, and is now coursing through the culture, overturning what was until recently uncontroversial or unquestioned. The energy around it is not that of the self-declared love and justice. It tastes of deconstruction, division, intolerance, hatred and rage.

Whether or not that is true, the useful work now seems to me to be that outlined by Campbell: to conquer death by birth. As Simone Weil explained in the book I wrote about last time, the correct response to a rootless, lost or broken society is ‘the growing of roots’ – the name she gave to the final section of her work. Pull up the exhausted old plants if you need to – carefully, now – but if you don’t have some new seed to grow in the bare soil, if you don’t tend it and weed it with love, if you don’t fertilise it and water it and help it grow: well, then your ground will not produce anything good for you. It will choke up with a chaos of thistles and weeds.

This, in practical terms is, the slow, necessary, sometimes boring work to which I suspect people in our place and time are being called: to build new things, out on the margins. Not to exhaust our souls engaging in a daily war for or against a civilisation that is already gone, but to prepare the seedbed for what might, one day long after us, become the basis of a new culture. To go looking for truth. To light particular little fires – fires fuelled by the eternal things, the great and unchanging truths – and tend their sparks as best we can. To prepare the ground with love for a resurrection of the small, the real and the true.

Kat said...

Divide and rule tactics......lets see how far that goes with the electorate next general election. The nation dodged a bullet in seeing Brash off, can't see the race card being popular again. I doubt Collins will get much past her current support that's if she is still fronting as leader.

David George said...

Judith Collins speech today:
The Treaty of Waitangi is New Zealand’s founding document, and we should consider how we can reflect this in our National Party values. This work is underway.

The Treaty is also a powerful document that provides the context for a strong discussion to strengthen our values. It covers three basic but fundamental values that can already be seen reflected in National Party values.

Article 1, Kawanatanga, establishes the Queen as our sovereign and head of state.

This speaks directly to our first National Party value of loyalty to our country and sovereign.

Article 2, Tino Rangatiratanga, confirms the property rights of all people. It establishes that all iwi, families and individuals have rights over their own land and property. Property rights are again a key democratic principle and core to National party values.

Article 3, Oritetanga, most importantly, states all people have the same rights.

Those three simple concepts – nationhood, property rights and equal rights – are a powerful foundation for a country, and a powerful foundation to consider our National Party values.

The preamble to the Treaty provides the context in which it was signed and should be read. The preamble states that the intention of the Treaty was to promote peace and avoid lawlessness. Again, directly in line with National Party values of national security and strong communities.

Now, it’s important to state upfront that the Treaty was breached, and those breaches – the New Zealand Land wars – have left Maori in a different position today to where they would be had those breaches not occurred. The inequities we see today trace back to the actions of the past.

It’s right that we look to address these wrongs and it’s right that we undertake settlements with Iwi and Hapu impacted by Treaty breaches. We are proud of our track record in settling treaty claims, and our members can be proud of the support you gave us to do that.

But this is not the debate we find ourselves in today. The debate today has moved to: what is the role of the Treaty in our democracy going forward? Did the Treaty bring us together as one people, or split us apart as two?

The Labour Government, in developing its proposed health restructure, has said that we have a Treaty obligation to have separate systems. They are demanding a model where we have separate health authorities – one for Maori and one for everyone else.

Let me be clear, National agrees there is room within a health system, based on need, for delivery programmes that target the needs of Maori and other groups. We have already walked that walk as the National Party, supported by our members. We have delivered and supported kohanga reo, kura kaupapa, and wananga.

But this is not what Labour’s changes are about. Its changes are not based on addressing inequities. Labour has said its changes are about meeting Treaty obligations, and Labour has interpreted Article 2 and Tino Rangatiratanga as requiring Maori decision-making at all levels of the system.

The proposed Maori Health Authority will not only have the ability to commission its own work, but also the ability to veto decisions made by the Government on general health.

Let me say that again, the proposed Maori Health Authority will not only have the ability to commission its own work, but also the ability to veto decisions made by the Government on general health – on everyone’s health.

That is a veto power over $20 billion worth of Government health spending. That is not something that is designed to address inequities.

David George said...

There are two relevant questions here, and it’s important we consider them both. First, is this what the Maori chiefs and Hobson imagined in 1840 when they agreed: we are now one people? And second, is this the way New Zealanders today, in 2021, want to move forward as a society? Do we want separation of governance along ethnic lines?

Maori do suffer from worse health outcomes than other segments of society, this is irrefutable, but this is best addressed by targeted programmes like Whanau Ora.

My view is that separate systems of governance is not what the chiefs and Hobson had in mind, and separate systems will lead to worse outcomes for everyone.

It will mean decisions are slow, fraught and inefficient. It changes the fabric of who we are as a society and it divides our communities.

New Zealand, like all countries, works best when we are one people.

And this is a broader issue than just health. Health Minister Andrew Little has told the Labour Government Cabinet that two systems are needed in Health to meet our Treaty obligations – and Jacinda Ardern’s Cabinet has signed off on this.

Where then does this end, or does it end? If two separate systems are needed in health does that mean two systems are also required in education, justice and resource management?

The Labour Government seems to think we do because it has commissioned work on this in the form of a report called He Puapua. I suggest you all have a read of it.

This divisive government document spells out a clear vision for New Zealand in 2040 under a ‘two systems’ Treaty view. It includes two systems for health, two systems of justice.

There would be Maori governance in resource management. Foreshore and seabed to Maori ownership.

The 2019 document proposes separate Maori wards in councils, which Labour has now done. And, finally – most importantly – constitutional reform to consider matters such as a Maori Parliament or upper house.

I need to say that again, the Labour Government document, He Puapua, contemplates a separate Maori Parliament or upper house – able to veto any decision of the New Zealand Parliament.

So, my message to Labour is this: New Zealand cannot and will not accept the implementation of two systems by stealth.

If Labour believes that the Treaty intended two systems for everything, and that this is the model we want in 2021, then this is a fundamental change to our society. We cannot accept this via a health reform, via Maori wards, and via justice changes.

It has to be a national conversation – one that has honest, respectful and open debate. A debate where every voice is heard. A clear vision for where it leads, and one that goes to a referendum if needs be. It cannot be snuck through.

Labour’s vision for New Zealand will divide us and take us backwards. By contrast, National will present a positive vision that takes us forward.

John Hurley said...

I'm finding it hard to get a comment together on what Collins should do. I think National and the corporates think they will have a handy ally in Maori because a demos is the enemy.
I don't agree with Hobson's Pledge as far as Maori agreed to anything relating to now, but neither did we agree to their terms (whatever they were).
One standard of citizenship I agree with.

What is interesting in a fall in trust in media. Journalists are perceived as part of the system. Atakohu Middleton says (dismissively) "we have Treaty obligations". Kim Hill says "It's in the Charter Dr Brash". No querying the status quo there.

AB said...

"Can Judith Collins Make Don Brash’s ‘Nationhood Soufflé’ Rise Twice?"

Probably not - or at least, the window is closing fairly quickly as time and the associated demographic and social change moves on. Labour of course is giving her half a chance by sprinkling all government communications with Maori language. Which is enough to get the Brashian rump of the electorate fired up - but to me seems pleasant enough but completely ineffectual in terms of making material improvements to the lives of our poorest citizens. That's affluent centrists for you I guess.

It's all boring and depressing. We won't get anywhere much until National has disappeared into the rear view mirror of history - and the centre-right Labour Party can be opposed by a credible centre left alternative. Ain't happening soon though.

Geoff said...

I watched TV3 News tonight(1/5/21 ).

The paid for shrew on TV3 was practically apoplectic with Collins's speech.
"Einstein" Davis ,equally rattled .....but interestingly, not able to deny the substance of Collins's claims of separatism...plenty of bluster..ironically accusing National of "racism " .
Irony alert +++.

Is Davis so cerebrally challenged that he can not see that it is the very apartheid separatism that Labour is proposing, that is in fact racist ??
I say "keep it up Collins " ! This must be thrashed out openly,not surreptitiously sneaked under the radar of a torpid public and "bought and paid for" fourth estate !

Alan said...

There is nothing in the Treaty of Waitangi, Tiriti o Waitangi, that nods towards what we understand Separatism to be. The cultural treasures of Maori, taonga, be they language or other possessions, material or traditional, are accorded protection under one over-arching law of common citizen protection. That was acknowledged by Hobson when he greeted each signatory with 'He iwi katoa'.Now we are one.

It doesn't matter if Hobson was not fluent in Te Reo. His aim was to pull people together at the highest level of law, and that was obvious. It doesn't matter that Maori signatories didn't fully comprehend the implications of shared citizenship. They had experienced the horrors of the Musket Wars and saw a 'coming together' of Maori and Tauiwi as beneficial.

Of course things didn't go smoothly post-Treaty. They rarely do. But injustices have been and are being addressed. However one set of injustices will never be put right with another set of injustices, and that is where we are heading.

The Treaty was about equality in citizenship, not inequality, and it deserves honouring for the clear intent it embraced. The Government's recent performance in removing citizen's rights to call for a vote on local authorities simply awarding seats to Maori is a pretty unnerving step away from any concept of democratic representation, and does not bode well for democracy in this land.

Alan Rhodes

John Robinson said...

It is important to recognise that New Zealand has become a racially divided country. An apartheid system of two unequal races is in place and is continually being strengthened.

All New Zealanders, of all political beliefs, should welcome the suggestion that the National Party may fight separatism and assert equality. This is vitally important and even a socialist (such as myself) should support the move.

It will be a big job to turn this monster around, calling for firm statesmanship, standing above the immediate political fray, with a recognition of both the past sensible actions and the wrongs of both major parties.

Thus, the Electoral commission was right to call for an end to Maori seats and National was right to support that, Labour was right to bring in a modest Foreshore and Seabed legislation and National was right to criticize the remaining differences, Labour was right to refuse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Labour was wrong to extend the remit of the Waitangi Tribunal and to increase the number of Maori seats, National was wrong to bring in an extreme Foreshore and Seabed legislation and to sign up to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A clear admission of that latter wrong will clear the air and provide an assurance that Collins really means what she says. That is essential, or we will all understand this to be just another empty political speech.

Please, force me to vote National next time.

John Robinson

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I'd say that Don Brash's nationhood hasn't risen for a long time, but where dour lot so I won't.

Anonymous said...

Greywarbler, 1 May 2021 at 13:16

I have good reason to believe that these people are extremely dangerous and will participate in political crimes and human rights abuses against their fellow New Zealanders. In fact, they already have.

greywarbler said...

So much talk about theory, so little improvement made, nothing done to change for the better. People who do things talk about the constant meetings that are held where nothing concrete results.

If we look at the problems, apply business efficiency to fix them while treating the people needing the service, affected by the policy, as real clients which was how things neo-liberal started out, we might get something done. But no argufy, bring up any barrier possible, every well-worn cliche' and here we are stuck in the middle of a sort of Bedlam. Why don't all you negative thinkers just shut up and help to choose reasonable ideas and make the systems work, allowing for a bit of tweaking (not twerfing?) and then see what can be achieved.

Odysseus said...

@ Geoff: thanks for watching and reporting on TV3's reaction to Collins' speech for us. As soon as the wailing banshee O'Brien appears I try to change channels before someone throws a brick a our lovely flatscreen. I am pleased to hear TV3 were "practically apopleptic". When the 400,000 or so swinging voters in 2020 eventually wake up to the fact they were duped into enabling a Maori sovereignty agenda by stealth there should be plenty of apoplexy to go around.

The Barron said...

It is obvious that Collins, and many before her, formulate their interpretations of the Treaty of Waitangi for conservative bush lawyers rather any educated understanding. I make this point because the Treaty is both simple and extremely complex. This is a subject I have experience in, but have a reluctance to join this thread the complexity cannot be done justice in a response in a blog and the simplicity is open to misinterpretation. However, as one who has commented previous I feel obliged to contribute.

The first point in which Judith Collins falls on is on which Treaty has precedence. International Law recognizes the understanding of the ceding party. This is the indigenous, and therefore we must look at the te reo version and the understanding of that document by the representatives of Hapu at the time of signing.

Article One is seen as allowing the British the right to govern their citizens within nga rohe of the signatories. It is not unlike other British international treaty clauses which creates an extra-territorial sovereignty. This was often a fort or an off-shore island with protectorate rights over the ingenious ruled lands in relation to other European nations. In NZ, the British were throughout the islands but had no authority over their people. The 1835 Declaration of Independence had the sovereignty of the Northern Tribes recognized in Westminster, and severed as a treaty of friendship. Article One extended this to something akin to a protectorate.

Article Two guaranteed the indigenous continued sovereignty and control of their resources and culture.

Article Three gave Maori equality with the British in regard to British enterprise in NZ, but also gave Maori rights the same as the British throughout the Empire. It also invested in the British Crown the pre-emptive right of purchase of Maori land

There was also a spoken "Fourth Article' which gave Anglicans, Wesleyans and the Church of Rome the same rights as Maori traditional beliefs. In many ways this was made to shut Pompallier up, while also suggesting that Catholicism could be seen alongside paganism.

The Document was poorly worded and manipulatively translated. In the 1835 Declaration, Henry Williams has used the term 'mana' to denote sovereignty. Knowing that Rangatira would not sign away 'mana', he use tino rangatiratanga in Article Two of the Treaty meaning absolute chieftainship (obviously derivative of Rangatira), while in Article Two used kawanatanga, derivative of kawana a transliteration of Governor. This was known to Maori through translation of the new testament in relation to Pontius Pilate, an example in which the Romans ruled through local authority.

Anyway, I hope this helps this thread. I have no wish to enter a debate, just add to the information considered.

Brendan McNeill said...

@David George

Good to see you reading (and quoting) Paul Kingsnorth. His articles are an insightful breath of fresh air.

David George said...

Oh peace! come peace!
we want peace again!
Let us breathe again!
The dead do not seek revenge,
the dead do not mind us.
Brothers, if we stay alive,
leave the past behind us.
Who was guilty? never ask,
plant the fields with flowers,
let us love and understand
this great world of ours:
some shall go their work to do,
some their dead to witness:
may God give us bread and wine,
drink up, to forgiveness!

Geoff Fischer said...

David George
You know that "rangatiratanga" translates as sovereignty and "kawana" is an administrator subordinate to the sovereign authority.
Why then would you repeat the following utterly false statements from Judith Collins.
"Article 1, Kawanatanga, establishes the Queen as our sovereign and head of state.
Article 2, Tino Rangatiratanga, confirms the property rights of all people."
This is dishonest politics. Hobsn's Pledge and Judith Collins think that if they repeat the lie often enough, it will come to be accepted as truth.
If you won't be honest, people of good faith will not be able to enter into dialogue with you. Your choice.

David George said...

Geoff, that was a transcript of part of JC's speech the parts relative to Maori separatism specifically.
I know what sovereignty means and that we've had clear (or at lease de-facto) acceptance of the British monarch as sovereign for over 180 years. Let it go.

David George said...

Thank you Brendan,
yes, I subscribed to Kingsworth's "Abbey of Misrule"; beautiful writing, insightful, challenging and infused with a deep love for humanity. There does appear to be, as he alludes, a movement developing with values that chime with me, something that can't be found in the ugly, partisan social and political discourse we're currently infected with. Love, beauty, truth and a reverence for the divine. Jordan Peterson as well.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"If we look at the problems, apply business efficiency to fix them while treating the people needing the service, affected by the policy, as real clients which was how things neo-liberal started out, we might get something done."

Grey ... We don't need efficiency – business or otherwise. We need effectiveness. There is a difference.

John Laurie said...

The Barron claims to be an authority on the Treaty but mixes up Articles 2 and 3 when he wrongly puts the preemption clause in Article 3.

I think the obvious example of a Governor in 1840, with vast authority, were the British Governors of New South Wales. As to rangatiratanga it is significant that this was guaranteed to nga tangata katoa o Nu Tirani, all the people of New Zealand, as well as to the rangatirw and the hapu. This presumably included kuki and taurekareka and the non-Maori inhabitants as well as rangatira. It is hard to see how every person in a country can have sovereignty. Rangatira were a large proportion of the Maori population. Early editions of the Williams Maori dictionary do not include chieftainship as an English equivalent of rangatiratanga and modern dictionaries continue to translate owner and ownership as rangatira and rangatiratanga. A donkey has his rangatira in the Maori Bible.

I don't see any mention of culture in Article 2 but Article 3 promises that the Queen ka tukua ki a ratou nga tikanga katoa rite tahi ki ana mea ki nga tangata o Ingarani, will give/allow them (Maori) all the tikanga (culture, customs, ways of doing things) the same as she does to the people of England. Certainly many Maori saw British law, with its emphasis on personal responsibility for crimes as better than the prevailing Maori system, where a wrong could be avenged against any member of the offender's tribe. An example of this is when Te Rauparaha went across from Kapiti to deal to a subordiinate chief who had killed a ship's captain, couldn't find the man himself so killed one of his slaves, or when Te Haerehuka deliberately embroiled Arawa in years of war with Ngati Haua when he killed and ate Te Hunga in 1835. There are great advantages in the state's monopoly of violence.

The Barron said...

Mea culpa on the preemption clause. A bit rusty.
Culture is 'ritenga' in Article 2, translates as culture and customary practice.

greywarbler said...

GS You are right but all the same let's try getting some efficiency in with the effectiveness, decide what's good, agree to the main approach, add some extras eg a fish ladder up the side of a dam or such, and get all locally behind it, get the Reserve Bank to make some money available - keep it local and we can decide on our own terms and get it done. It may take longer because we are looking for local labour etc. but we should keep an eye on the local contractors. We will know where they live. No horsing around.

Geoff Fischer said...

David George wrote: "we've had clear (or at lease de-facto) acceptance of the British monarch as sovereign for over 180 years. Let it go."
If you ignore the wars of 1840s, 1860s and 1870s, perhaps, or perhaps not even then. Armed conflict doesn't reconcile with "de-facto acceptance"'
My concern is that some parties to the discussion (including Judith Collins) believe that the facts are immaterial, and that one can go on expressing opinions which fly in the face of the historical reality.

John Laurie wrote: "It is hard to see how every person in a country can have sovereignty."
That is where democracy differs from monarchy. In a democracy, the people are assumed to be sovereign, with that sovereignty being exercised through institutions and by way of a constitution.
So yes, there is a strong presumption of democracy in the concept of rangatiratanga, as well as connotations of theocracy on account of the way in which the word is used in Te Paipera Tapu to signify a divine order based on righteousness, justice and mercy.
Despite what David George claims, tens of thousands of our people persist in rejecting the sovereignty of the Crown, and hold fast to rangatiratanga, and their numbers are steadily increasing by the year. There lies the future of our nation.

John Laurie said...

"te ritenga o te utu" in the preemption part of Article 2?? This translates as the arranging or setting of the price for Government purchases.