Saturday 29 May 2010

Taking The Greens Seriously

Worth Waiting For: The people of South Africa, oppressed for decades by a system which conferred exclusive political, economic and social authority upon a militant ethnic minority, queued in the sun for hours to exercise "one person, one vote". The New Zealand Greens dismiss this fundamental democratic process as "the limited concept of conservative Pakeha that one man, one vote is the only manifestation of democracy possible in Aotearoa".

THE MOST DANGEROUS thing a journalist can do when dealing with radical politicians and parties is fail to take them seriously. The news media is supposed to function as the public’s ears and eyes. If journalists fail to scrutinise a party’s policies for no better reason than they regard them as a joke, then ideas and policies of the most extraordinary and pernicious kind can easily pass unnoticed into a nation’s bloodstream.

The radicalism of Green parties, for example, extends a lot further than criticising consumerism, opposing military aggression and trying to stave off global ecocide. The movement can trace its ideological genealogy all the way back to William Morris and Prince Kropotkin; to the promoters of garden cities, vegetarianism, and post-World War I pacifism; or, in the case of the original German Greens, to the folk-singing nature ramblers, nudist colonies and adolescent sex hostels of the Weimar Republic.

It was precisely this "wackiness" that encouraged chief reporters and news editors to transform the Greens into figures of fun. To be fair, the Greens made it easy for them. Television footage of a troupe of Morris Dancers performing at an early Green Party conference in New Zealand was replayed over and over again.

The message: these people should not be taken seriously; was all too clear. Not surprisingly, other politicians were quick to take advantage of the Greens’ alleged enthusiasm for hemp suits, composting toilets and organic wine. "The Greens love for this planet is quite remarkable", quipped one Labour wit, "considering how little time they spend on it."

But, among all the merriment, some pretty strange stuff was passing most journalists by. At their 1985 conference in Ludenscheid, for example, the North Rhine-Westphalia Green Party called for the decriminalisation of "nonviolent sexuality" between children and adults.

Believe it or not, the idea of consensual paedophilia had won broad acceptance in the radical sub-cultures of Western Europe in the 1960s and 70s. (Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who, as "Danny the Red", became the face of the 1968 student revolution in France, and is now a leading Green Party Member of the European Parliament, openly explored the subject in his 1975 autobiography Le Grand Bazar.) Consequently, the policy was endorsed and included in the party’s comprehensive election manifesto. It’s discovery by a sharp-eyed conservative journalist in the midst of the subsequent state election campaign proved electorally disastrous for the Green Party and its supporters.

In New Zealand, it wasn’t the Greens’ (largely conventional) attitudes towards sexual behaviour that generated moral panic, but their commitment to decriminalising marijuana. Interestingly, the outcry came not from the news media (most of whose senior journalists had at one time or another "inhaled") but from those front-line fighters for Conformity, Conventional Wisdom and the Kiwi Way – school principals. Ignoring his status as a Member of Parliament, conservative headmasters adamantly refused to allow the Greens’ Nandor Tanczos onto the nation’s secondary school campuses.

The United and NZ First parties backed the principals’ stance and, by refusing to serve alongside any party advocating the decriminalisation of marijuana, successfully manoeuvred the Labour Party into excluding the Greens from its second- and third-term Cabinets.

Much more significant than the New Zealand Green Party’s marijuana policy, however, is its almost unqualified support for the key demands of the Maori nationalist movement. Like the German Greens’ willingness to decriminalise consensual paedophilia, the New Zealand Green Party’s rock-solid determination to atone for the sins of the nation’s colonial fathers emerged from the deepest layers of the radical political sub-cultures of the 1980s and 90s.

A willingness on the part of Pakeha leftists to be guided by the Maori nationalist advocates of tino rangatiratanga had by the mid-1980s become the litmus test of authentic revolutionary praxis. As proof of their commitment to the cause of the tangata whenua individuals and institutions were required to elevate Te Tiriti o Waitangi to the status of holy writ. In these matters, the Greens proved to be no exception.

Commitment to the cause of tino rangatiratanga is, however, incompatible with a commitment to the fundamental principles of representative democracy. In pledging to uphold the rights of an indigenous minority, the Greens have rendered themselves incapable of upholding the right of an ethnically undifferentiated majority to pursue a course of action to which the indigenous minority is opposed.

Consider the following Parliamentary speech from the Green List MP, Catherine Delahunty. Responding to criticism of legislation establishing Crown/Tainui "co-management" over the Waikato River, Delahunty declared:

I was not going to take a call on the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Bill, but sometimes the rhetoric around one is overwhelming. I am very excited that we are moving into a more sophisticated era under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and we are moving beyond the limited concept of conservative Pakeha that one man, one vote is the only manifestation of democracy possible in Aotearoa. I stand as a Pakeha, proud to live with Te Tiriti o Waitangi as our founding document, and absolutely committed to finding new ways through the colonisation effects of the past. Only people who do not understand what colonisation means would say that this is not a step forward, and that the co-management that is being proposed is not an incredibly positive model for Pakeha, for tangata Tiriti, for tauiwi katoa as well as for Maori.

Had an Act MP publicly suggested that his party was moving beyond the "limited concept" that "one man, one vote is the only manifestation of democracy possible in Aotearoa" it would have been headline news. Act – unlike the Greens – is taken seriously by journalists, and so are the statements of its representatives.

It is entirely possible, however, that eighteen months from now Act’s parliamentary representation will be reduced to a single seat, and that the Greens and the Maori Party will find themselves in the media spotlight.

As these two contenders bicker and haggle with the major parties over seats at the cabinet table and support for radical social, environmental and constitutional reforms, it is surely in the wider interest of the New Zealand electorate to know that, when it comes to sealing the deal, the core democratic tradition of one person, one vote is a constitutional taonga to which neither the Maori Party, nor the Greens, have declared a serious commitment.

This essay was originally published in The Independent of Thursday, 27 May 2010.


SPC said...

Are the Greens arguing for anything less than one man one vote, or for not being bound by one man one vote? And they do so within the context of the Treaty.

"Mainstream" parties make arrangements with Maori in the context of the Treaty, without saying this is taking democracy beyond one man one vote. That Greens define such arrangements, as going beyond one man one vote, is the only distinction.

Besides the continuance of Maori seats and MMP takes us beyond the one man one vote tradition of conservative Pakeha.

jh said...

Now she is saying:
"Some people think that to embrace a more varied and participatory model of decision making undermines a bitter fought and hard won principle of “one person one vote”. My personal view is that some situations can be resolved through voting and a secret ballot but others are enhanced by dialogue and a commitment to finding an outcome that all can live with."
I wonder who the persuasive individual is who will win everybody over and what sort of issue where a majority roll over so a minority can "live" with the situation.
Sometimes the wisdom is with the crowds.
"A willingness on the part of Pakeha leftists to be guided by the Maori nationalist advocates of tino rangatiratanga had by the mid-1980s become the litmus test of authentic revolutionary praxis. As proof of their commitment to the cause of the tangata whenua individuals and institutions were required to elevate Te Tiriti o Waitangi to the status of holy writ."
and out walked Mr Balance and Ms Commonsense.

James said...

Hi Chris,

I looked up ""adolescent sex hostels of the Weimar Republic" (without the quotes) in Google, and found this, which I think is a nasty covert call to revolution:

Do you have a good link to the German history you're invoking?

Chris Trotter said...

I'm sorry, James, but I haven't been able to locate a link (it's a pretty obscure field!)

Sex hostels for adolescents were but one of the radical projects launched by the largely left-wing inspired "Sexual Reform Movement". The idea was to provide a safe environment for young people to engage in sexual experimentation - far from the censorious gaze of their conservative parents.

Left-wing psychologists like Wilhelm Reich were convinced that sexual repression and political repression were inextricably intertwined (if you'll pardon the pun ;-) which meant that political emancipation and sexual liberation would have to go hand-in-hand.

The best source I can offer for a history of unorthodox sexuality in the Weimar Republic is:

Gordon, Mel., Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of the Weimar Republic. Feral House, 2000. ISBN-10: 092291558X

In many ways the social history of Weimar Germany (1919-1933) anticipated the cultural upheavals that swept through Western society beginning in the mid-to-late 1960s.

A great deal of the popular support for the Nazis came from older Germans who found the revolutionary shifts in gender relations and the more open discussion of sexual matters that followed the collapse of the deeply repressive Wilhelmine social order utterly unacceptable.

The rise of the Christian Right in the United States parallels in many respects the cultural backlash in Germany (especially in the Catholic South) that created the conditions for Hitler's rise to power.

I hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Why Mr Trotter, do you really not see that it is the exact same collectivism that you recently announced is magically only endemic in that different species of creation known as the 'Rich'?

I actively do petition against this 3d entrapment or it's specific two dimensional graphical distinctions. For such is the persuasive power in dominion at this time, while it does no one any good in the direct address of it's workings, this doesn't mean it has no no consequence on the appetite when feed.

There will be greener pastures given where there is enough for everyone (as there could be now), but only for everyone possible who have had enough.

Victor said...

I had many counter-cultural friends in West Germany in the 1970s. They were not unlike their contemporaries elsewhere in the world. However, their revolt against received morality tended to be rather more determined and didactic than elsewhere.

This was partly due to an understandable and admirable desire to distance themselves from their country's horrendously authoritarian past. Many of my German contemporaries had gone through painful processes of questioning their parents and their records and had often been deeply affected by the experience.

But it was also a reflection of that urge towards abstraction and pseudo-profundity that has often been noted in the German intelligentsia. To quote (inexactly and from memory) Germany's most quintessential coffee house intellectual, Karl Marx: "The Germans turn hats into ideas, the English prefer to turn ideas into hats".

The otherwise excellent German education system also encouraged a certain disconnect from workaday reality by allowing students as long as they liked to take their degrees.

The German Greens sprang from this milieu, as did some truly wacky ideas on sexuality, which, as you rightly point out, had antecedents in the Weimar period. Another off-shoot was, of course, the 'Baader-Meinhof Gang'.

Paul said...

I reach for my revolver whenever I read a sentence that begins, "only people who do not understand..." The arrogance of some on the left is astounding: it is not that the opponent disagrees but that the opponent does not understand.

I was also dismayed that so many progressive people marched up Queen Street in favour of unelected Maori seats for the Super City. Next they will be demanding we have Aldermen and a House of Lords.

Anonymous said...

"Had an Act MP publicly suggested that his party was moving beyond the "limited concept" that "one man, one vote is the only manifestation of democracy possible in Aotearoa" it would have been headline news."

Uuuuummmm, I haven't checked David Garrett's latest speeches Chris, but one Act party member has called for exactly that:
"I am saying that in a true democracy, if you don't actually pay more tax than you take in benefits then you shouldn't vote. [Cactus Kate's blog, 'Poorly Hung Parliaments', 8 May 2010]"

That aside, there is nothing in your quotes of Cath Delahunty's that suggests an overthrow of democracy per se - she is just asking that people consider negotiated/consensus resolution of problems affecting minorities (in this case, Maori). That avoids the frustration minorities would otherwise feel at being permanently outvoted - such tensions could lead to anger and crime, whereas co-management and negotiation can ease such tensions.

Of course, there are tensions of their own in consensus politics - where does the attempt to reach consensus end, and nagging & bullying to get agreement start? It can be a wafer-thin distinction...

There are issues around a Treaty based future for NZ though - while Treaty settlements are mostly just property rights deals (for stolen land, etc, as dead relatives are hard to compensate for - ya can't bring 'em back to life!), the non-Crown Treaty signatories are ethnically defined, which is problematic (quite apart from what you see as tino rangatiratanga and how far the Treaty preserved that).

The question is - if an indigenous people have greater political rights than migrants (from the Treaty, int'l law, or some other source), can you have democracy?

Subsidiary questions arise, like how do you decide if someone is Maori, or of a specific iwi or hapu? Whakapapa is essentially blood quantum, which diminishes with intermarriage, meaning hapu members eventually lay claim to belong to that hapu due to one ancestor of 128 or more coming from that hapu. The flaky get-around in the census of 'self-definition as Maori' doesn't work when perverse incentives arise, like financial benefits that accrue to members of hapu (ie if a 100% pakeha like me can claim to be Tainui and get a scholarship, or other grant or benefit, what's to stop me other than whakapapa?)

It may be that Treaty rights end up being simply the right to have culture (language, arts, music, architecture, etc preserved/supported) and separate voting rolls for Maori to ensure their voice doesn't get swamped. Preserves one person, one vote, and treats all citizens the same, but supports bicultural history.

Why should Maori get separate electoral rolls? They shouldn't - if they had chosen to allow all those migrants in over the last 170 years, who diluted Maori votes. But of course Maori didn't choose - they had mass migration imposed on them, which is why their voice & vote needs some protection from assimilation.

Oh, and for non-Treaty signatories, why not offer them the chance to append their signatures to the current Treaty? They won't do it until the contentious aspects of the Trearty above are resolved, but it keeps a unitary state (though beware that concept - Suharto anyone?).

Sorry - lot's of jumbled thoughts there. Good issue to tackle further, but please no dog whistles ;)
Mad Marxist.

Victor said...

I must say that, as an immigrant to New Zealand in the 1980s, I was struck by my lack of common language or understanding with those with whom I had expected to find common ground, viz. the liberal-left.

They were against democracy, against multi (as opposed to bi)culturalism and apparently against the notion that "a Man's a Man for a' that". Instead they cleaved to a kind of penitential neo-feudalism

At a practical level, though, I agree with JH that "some situations can be resolved through voting and a secret ballot but others are enhanced by dialogue and a commitment to finding an outcome that all can live with."

The challenge is to work out which sort of situation is which.

James said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks. From "Sexual Reform Movement", I found discussions of socialists' role in promoting contraception in Germany, and I presume that the sex hotels were a space for practicing that.

It occurs to me that mass-production technology and the export of manufacturing to China mean that the English-speaking world is relatively immune to a child-bearing strike. What would it be vulnerable to? Possibly a borrowing strike, because of fractional reserve banking.

Chris Trotter said...

To Victor:

I understand completely your confusion re. your first encounters with NZ's liberal "Left".

A lack of philosophical rigor and ideological discipline - fostered I'm sad to say by the Labour Party's "broad church" approach to left-wing politics - allowed a huge number of well-meaning New Zealanders to be seduced by the Maori nationalists' potent admixture of mythology, sentiment and out-and-out guilt-tripping.

In many parts of academia and the civil service, the nationalists' pitch has hardened into unchallengeable dogma.

I have to confess, however, to having much less sympathy with your views on "consensus".

As an antidote to your easy-ozy tolerance, I would reccommend the famous 1970 feminist essay "The Tyranny of Structurelessness" (just type the title into Google).

"[D]ialogue and a commitment to finding an outcome that all can live with" works well where you have a group of people who share a solid base of core values and have undertaken to abide by the rules of consensus-based decision-making (CBDM).

Absent these commitments - i.e. in the hard, cold world of adversarial politics - CBDM simply doesn't work.

The reason why it doesn't work is easy to see if you just think about it for a moment.

All that's required for the system to break down is for the majority/minority who do not want to make decisions in this way to simply refuse to accept any and all decisions not put to a vote.

The only way to get around this tactic of using CBDM against itself is to revert to some sort of voting system - which rather defeats the purpose!

Chris Trotter said...

To James:

Not sex "hotels", comrade, sex "hostels". BIG difference ;-)

Nick said...

To Victor: Thank you for "penitential neo-feudalism", best description I have heard of the liberal left's (and right's) attitude to righting the wrongs of the past through selective rectification.

To Chris: Big hand for challenging the sacred cows of NZ race relations from the 1980s on. I dont always agree with the detail of your arguments, but the overall principle of democracy you always represent regardless of the political fall out. Thats really brave.

The person I think about with regard to race relations in NZ who understands it best is Ranganui Walker who once said that the issues of race in NZ would be sorted out between the bed sheets. My fear is that the progeny of these unions will look enviously on to a feudal priveleged class of Maori aristocracy, the creation of the Treaty claims process. They will ask why these "Maori" have a greater birth right than themselves as "Maori"?

jh said...

The Greens have made a rod for their back by thinking they can make the Treaty work in our modern state. As demonstrated by this post by Kevin Hague:

One of jh’s themes has been dis-satisfaction with the Green Party for not being specific about the outcomes of our policy in relation to the Treaty. “What, specifically, will this country be like if we go down this course?”. It’s a question I have heard many times over the years, and it usually speaks from a position of fear and insecurity for Pakeha: what if I’ll be worse off? or even what if there’s no place for me?
I want to acknowledge that actually we are asking people to do something (and we are doing it too) quite different from what we usually ask with our policy. Normally we have a very clear idea of the outcome we are seeking, and establish a policy to reflect how we will get there.
But the Treaty is different. The words all have the potential to sound pretty hammy, but fundamentally the outcome being sought is a process: the process of absolute good faith negotiation, in which we Pakeha engage from a position of honour – acting ethically and morally.
That process involves courage because we don’t know the outcome (and because we know we have it pretty sweet just how things are, let’s be honest). It is pretty scary, but it’s also pretty damn exciting!

For her part Catherine Delahunty holds great store in the benevolence of Maori culture as in:
“I explained that as a Pakeha I had a very limited relationship with the foreshore and seabed but “loved the beach” generally. This did not compare well to the 1000 years of whakapapa and site specific responsibilities that Betty and her hapu maintain to this day.

Chris Trotter said...

Couldn't agree more, JH, it's comments such as these which make the Greens so very hard to take seriously.

No one in their right mind would embark upon serious constitutional reform without some sort of road-map - and a guarantee that whatever destination is finally decided upon must ultimately be endorsed by a clear majority of the population.

As for Catherine Delahunty's 1,000 years: it's just a further example of willfull Green ignorance.

The earliest human settlement in these islands dates back - at the most - to the 13th Century.

Nothing was here 1,000 years ago except rocks, plants, insects, birds - and a very small bat.

Victor said...


Thanks for pointing me in the direction of 'The Tyranny of Structurelessness". One of the pleasures of Bowally Road is that occasionally you get a new and valuable insight on an issue of significance. This was one such occasion.

Yes, I agree, with you and Jo Freeman about the virtues of formal structures and processes. However, I still think there are situations in which an informal search for consensus is more appropriate. It's a matter of horses for courses.

I would certainly agree that, in New Zealand, we tend to err on the side of woolly consensus building when we should be seeking open and structured debate. I presume that's how the absurd, reactionary concept of Tino Rangitiratanga entered the ideological mainstream.

Having said which, I'm also conscious of living in a country where an indigenous population, driven to the edge of extinction by the onslaught of colonialism, has, against the odds, undergone an unparalleled physical and cultural revival.

One of the greatest challenges facing us is to protect and further this revival within the structures of a free and democratic polity and without renaging on the principle of social justice for all.

I'm sorry if that sounds a bit pious and inflated. It's getting late

Chris Trotter said...

To Victor:

I'm glad you enjoyed Freeman's essay - a classic contribution to this debate IMHO.

And, of course, you're right. It is very much a matter of horses for courses.

Most organisations - especially at their upper levels - prefer to operate on the basis of building a consensus rather than taking votes.

Indeed, an insistence on voting (proof positive of factionalisation and distrust) generally indicates serious problems in an organisation.

But, it is, as I have said, a very arrogant expectation that consensus-based decision-making (CBDM) should operate outside the context of deliberations involving like-minded people pursuing common goals.

As Paul notes above, this arrogance is manifested most starkly in the accusation that those opposed to a course of action favoured by the advocates of CBDM simply don't "understand" the issue.

Instead of confronting their opponents honestly in straightforward political debate, the advocates of CBDM typically attempt to re-frame the disputational context into one which casts them as the intelligent and well-meaning bringers-of-the-Truth struggling to deal with the representatives of irrationality, ignorance and bigotry.

The Soviets did this too. If you dissented from the Soviet system - which was clearly the most progressive, free and rational political system on the planet - then you must, ipso facto, be mad and in need of long-term psychiatric care in a KGB-run mental hospital.

But what really made me laugh this morning, Victor, was the quarter-page ad' in the NZ Herald urging the Greens membership to support an amendment to the party's constitution limiting the power of the Executive to re-order the Party List.

Clearly, consensus-based decision-making has its limits!

Victor said...


I think we have achieved consensus

Anonymous said...

The Greens were all for proportional representation when it was in their interests.

Support for one-vote, one value would seem to be a basic quaification for membership of the left or being a progressive.

Two chamber parliament with each house elected different electoral systems such as proportional representation along with federalism are usual designed to have larger, not smaller numbers of people participating. Federalism also gives vent to political diversity and minority representation.

There are many ways to give greater greater voice and protection to minorities while preserving equality under the law and in the ballot box.

Victor said...


I've long thought that, with bicameral legislatures, there was a strong argument for electing the lower house through an undiluted list system to reflect the 'General Will'.

In addition, you could have an upper house elected through STV. This would ensure strong regional voices, whilst still ensuring the fair representation of the people.

But I don't think you could sell the notion of a bicameral parliament to a public that thinks we have too many politicians already and regards list MPs as vaguely reprehensible.

paul scott said...

Chris says :

“it is surely in the wider interest of the New Zealand electorate to know that,
when it comes to sealing the deal,
the core democratic tradition of one person, one vote is a constitutional taonga to which neither the Maori Party, nor the Greens, have declared a serious commitment “

This is true, starting with Rod Donald who successfully introduced two different votes for each person.
Both Maori and Green have never accepted that they do not have a superior
and privileged voting base.
Maori require representation within democracy over and above their vote, and Maori has been successful in this quest.
Green on the other hand have diminished the value of their voting base every time they reach Parliament.

Chris notices this tendency and he says :

“Much more significant than the New Zealand Green Party’s marijuana policy, however, is its almost unqualified support for the key demands of the Maori nationalist movement.”

And there we have it , Green political is wasted in a sycophantic acquiescence to
left wing politic, without representation :
but Maori is grossly over represented.

Which leads us back to the picture Chris has shown here, a long line of people like me who want New Zealand to be a free and prosperous country.

Carol said...

I am puzzled by all these criticisms of our MMP system as being undemocratic. For me it feels like the most democratic system that I have ever voted in, having always voted when living in either NZ or the UK.

I understand "true" democracy as being when all citizens have a voice in the governing of the country (and when it's not just the voices of the dominant blocks that get heard & have mostinfluence). Under the FPP systems it always felt like I had a very weak and limited voice. I have found voting a frustrating exercise, as it usually amounts to voting for the least of evils, as neither of the 2 choices strongly repepresented my views.

With MMP, the electorate vote usually goes the same way- in my electorate anyway. The list vote gives me the chance to vote for a party that is closer to my views. And yes, I have voted Green.

I'm trying to work out why people see this as undemocratic. I don't agree with all the Green bashing. But for sure they don't fall in line witht he views that have dominated in either of the 2 main parties, which provide the limited choice I get in FPP. I'm puzzling over the views here because I don't understand the criticisms.

However, at the moment, I can't help but wondering if people who felt most represented by one of the 2 main parties, now don't get the same support from those of us who don't strongly agree with their party's line. ie we now get to challenge their not fully representative dominance.

And to me the Greens have not been some whacky alternative so. e.g. Marijuana is a side issue, and one that I don't have strong views on either wayI agree with their support of some Maori issues, especially over the Foreshore & Seabed, which was a major betrayal of the Maori electorate by the Labour Party. And the Greens often voice a mosre truly left wing alternative, when the Labour Party pulls even further towards the centre and incorprorating many neo-liberal policies.

The Greens have a voice in parliament that would not otherwise be heard. I don't think that so far, they've had a very dominant influence. The Maori Party are getting to have a say for their constituents, after having been marginalised and betrayed for so long (and they have been further betrayed by National, showing the MP the most dominant parties will always restrict the Maori influence, and keep it relatively marginal. However, I'm glad they are getting more of a say than they have in recent times.

I need to ponder more on this, but this is my most immediate response.

bliss said...

Chriss is being very naughty and deliberately misinterpreting CD's point.

"One person one vote" is a fine principle for elections, and there is no place any Green MP or member has said it is not.

But democracy is much more than elections. One of the ways democracy is weakened is by making people think it is just elections.

The joint management of the Waikato River is not being done on one man one vote basis. Maori population in the Waikato catchment is less than the non-Maori. But never the less it is a good way of manageing the situation we find ourselves in. Where the majority population got there, historically, with lies and war. And now are feeling stink about it.

Chriss has a weakness on Maori issues, and with the Greens. Shame it leads him to be so disingenuous.


Chris Trotter said...

To "W":

What constitutes disingenuousness, W, is trying to spin your way out of CD's unequivocal dismissal of OMOV as the obsession of "conservative Pakeha" - a group of New Zealanders which she describes variously (and in Te Reo) as "strangers" and "aliens" in their own country.

It is also, I would venture to say, "disingenuous" to devote not a word on your party's website to the extraordinary spectacle of Green Party members having to take out ad's in the newspapers to ensure that democratic selection procedures prevail in the drawing up of the Greens' Party List.

Perhaps it's not really the most appropriate time to be upbraiding others for their "weaknesses" "W" - not when your own are on such dramatic display.

Victor said...


I think you'll find that the majority of the population of the Waikato catchment area got there by emerging from their respective mothers' wombs some time between 1930 and the present.

People are people and not racial-biological specimins.

Anonymous said...

Indigenous issues about national resources coming from the POV of drawing definite points of retribution on a time line deemed by guilt of "lies & war" of one party onto another is crazy when being done in the context of a completely different time & people ( original landing parties/settlers & natives. ) from generations ago.

What about the grievances of diff. Maori tribes against each other then before the colonial explorers & the tribal "lies & war" of their own bun fights? By the logic of retribution in this case, if no treaty then no wrong doing and we can ignore that part of history, even though treaties are far more civilized than policies of extermination or blatant slavery ( n what of the mori ori culture? Did not the maori culture basically eliminate it from NZ? I'm just asking here n makes no diff. to my points).

Also is the experience in other countries of such 'tino rangatiratanga' type agendas, not just a different process of global financial oligarchs ending up owning sovereign natural resources that otherwise in political context would have been out of bounds?
Does the experience on other countries of such agendas not show that the newly minted political class of the indigenous cultural crusaders end up owning Casino complexes etc in the trade off while the private slave labour prison systems swell with a dis-proportionate number of their racial identification?

Like many other Green political innovations, an increase in the prison ranks is the end result of this one, even if there is a degree of excitement involved in not knowing what you are doing. So what really is the attraction of such excitements one may wonder?

Anonymous said...

What sort of bat was it?

jh said...

Catherine Delahunty sees Maori culture as leading the environmental movement:
It is remarkable how many public toilets and landfills have been built on waahi tapu and food gathering areas. It’s almost as if the city fathers (and I use the word advisedly) wanted to send a message that “we shit on your culture”.

All over the country from the bay opposite Te Tii marae at Waitangi, to the kaimoana beds at Turanga nui a Kiwa, from the sewage ponds at Whaingaroa to the pipi of Whangamata, from Moerewa waterfalls to Whangarei harbour, human waste is being dumped on traditional food sources.

In the numerous local campaigns to clean up this habit the enduring leadership has come from tangata whenua and those environmentalists willing to be aligned with them.

Pakeha culture is a basket case however:
But in 2007 we still cannot look to the majority of Pakeha to fight the ongoing corporate globalisation of Aotearoa, not if it means publicly standing alongside Maori. Our roots are still too deeply embedded in the privileges of colonisation. It is like a tapeworm in our guts, which causes us to hunger for capitalist consumption and dominance even though it’s killing the planet, our well being and our humanity.

She sees hope however:
It is not rocket science that Pakeha may be a minority by the late 21st century. It is to be hoped that tangata whenua will be the largest cultural grouping in their own country again. However all the demographic changes will be a change for the worst if Pakeha cannot come to terms with being a minority culture. Our attachment to Westminster democracy has been based on our majority status. Will we find to our horror that minorities in such a system are overruled and undermined? Will we react by supporting more truly equitable and culturally diverse methods of decisionmaking, based upon Te Tiriti, or will we build a fortress, clinging to wealth and power behind barbed wire and guard dogs?

Anonymous said...

Russel Norman speech from this weekends AGM:

'John Key’s Government wants to balance GDP growth and environmental degradation.

This year, a bit more dairy intensification and mining balanced by a few more polluted rivers and desecrated National Parks; and the same again next year.

His idea of balance, of environmental destruction traded for GDP growth, is an economic and environmental dead end...'

Peter Salmon said...


an interesting post and a good debate. I found it very interesting and informative

Danyl Strype said...

Kia ora Chris

Firstly, in your reply to Idiot/ Savant some months ago you rightly criticise the tendancy to distort and mock other people's unenlightened views, rather than engage as equals in debate over a principled disagreement. Conflating legalised paedaphilia with opposing the persecution of cannabis users, or challenging the dispossesion of tangata whenua, is a filthy smear with no rational basis, and erodes the credibility of everything else you say. Shame on you for ignoring your own advice, and resorting to this kind of gutter commentary.

That whacky counter-culturist Abe Lincoln said, "No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent." Now people might consent to use a voting process to reach a given decision, and that's fine, but in your determination to fetishise 'one man, one vote', you redefine democracy in Aotearoa as the unquestionable right of the paakeha majority to push their views on the tangata whenua minority. If 'might is right', why bother with voting at all? Why not just hand everyone a gun, and whoever is still standing when the smoke clears gets to make the decisions? Why not 'one man, one gun = democracy'?

Where "the greater good of the greater number" takes precedence, this is not democracy - it is communism (in the historical, not the ideal sense of the word). Subjects of communist super-states regimes were able to vote for Party offices, that didn't make them democracies.Democracy is not fundamentally about voting for representatives at all.

Lincoln expressed the central ideal of democracy as "government of the people, for the people, by the people". I suspect he would turn in his grave to hear the word 'democracy' applied to today's corporate super-states, with their increasing centralisation of power (Supercity, sacking of ECan), criminalisation of dissent and privacy (Operation8, Search and Surveillance Bill), and unprovoked invasion of neighbours, murder of their people, and theft of their resources (Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq etc). There is nothing undemocratic about government of minorities, by minorities, for minorities. If there is, we better dissolve the NZ state and join Australia as quickly as possible, or better yet, dissolve all states and have the UN unilaterally govern the whole world.

It's all to easy to preach 'one law for all' and 'equality under the law' from a privileged position behind a keyboard. I challenge you to take your claims to the marae, and debate them with members of tangata whenua who know their own local history, customs, and language, going back hundreds of years.

I challenge you to go to Parihaka, and tell the iwi there they freely sold their land to paakeha and gave up their sovereignty to the NZ state in exchange for the benefits of 'modernisation' (ie colonisation). I challenge you to go to Arahura and tell the Kaati Waewae they gave all the pounamu to the NZ state when the northern chiefs signed Te Tiriti. I challenge you to go to Te Urewera, and tell the people there that the suppression of their Tuhoetanga, and the theft of their homes and food sources, can be retrospectively justified by one act of hospitality to a group of neighbours during a time of tumultuous warfare.

I challenge any of the commenters on this thread who remain blind to their paakeha privilege, to watch the documentary October 15. Then, go tell the people of Ruatoki that the suppression of tangata whenua is only a vague memory of a distant past, not a current reality of continuing colonial occupation and arrogant self-justification by its beneficiaries.

Ki te tuuoho koe, me he maunga teitei.

He mihi wero

John Hurley said...