Canada v. NZ
Canada could be a model for our bilingualism, I have been thinking recently, as they have a genuine commitment to it. Having two languages sitting equally side by side on documents, notices etc. seems a natural, non-threatening, normal reality to an English-speaker (such as myself)... but on persusing the official government sites the aesthetic sensibilities gave way to more concrete and banal matters: Canada seems to be in a bit of a state. Maybe that's just what the Federal position is? Or maybe it's worse if the Provinces are included?
Canada has aboooot 30 million souls and a C$189b (NZ$230b)federal budget - a whopping 19% of which goes on interest payments on their C$500b (NZ$610b) debt! Ouch. NZ has NZ$35b govt. debt and it takes only 5% of our budget last time I looked.) So, their federal debt on a population basis, is twice ours. Something that Cullen can be smug over next time he meets any delegation from Canada.
The other interesting thing, one of many (eg. Quebec amongst other things it insists on doing independently is it collects federal income tax by it's own tax dept!), but the one that stood out to me was the treatment of the natives compared to us, especially in view of the specious 'Maori are privileged' blah blah blah carping one so often encounters.
The important thing is the Canadian recognition of what we would variously call mana whenua and rangatiratanga ie, jurisdiction and territoriality. The US has always had a fully formed understanding and application of self-rule by Indian tribes which fits in well with the US republican tradition of a fairly radical (by our standards) de-centralised, intensively democratic, autonomous status of communities. Canada has moved in the same direction. NZ of course continues the colonial integration model of suppression and central control. The US after destroying traditional Indian authority in a land grab/ethnic clensing still had the principle of recognising their rights of self-determination and jurisdiction, customary law etc. despite their confiscations and Treaty violations. Colonial/immigrant paranoid control-freak reactionaries in this country can't even permit Maori to have that dignity such is their avarice and cultural insecurity.
The Labour government's tokenistic, Pakeha-ised, notion of allowing local councils to establish Maori wards could be seen as a half-arsed step towards self-government; but it is exactly the opposite. It is designed to fail, designed to keep Pakeha at Maori throats and Maori at each others. By lumping all Maori, regardless of their status in an area, as one exclusive group upon Pakeha (govt. determined) boundaries it undermines any real Maori sense of self-determination and rohe. It's an old theory: smash "tribalism," (bonds of kinship, group property, customary practices etc.) and you create brown Pakeha willing to assist in the wholesale despoilation of the land. By giving Maori with no land, historical or family interests in an area the same rights as Tangata Whenua it is another weapon against "tribalism." It is a Pakeha solution to a Pakeha "problem" (the problem of finding themselves generic mascots) with a trail of opportunistic Maori willing to go along with it for their own self-interest and the ignorant. It was never going to work - and nor should it.
In the context of the above rights of self-government, putting dollar figures is secondary, but Canada spends C$9b of it's federal budget for "Aboriginal and First Nations Peoples" as they are defined. That's 5% of the total budget (for 2% of the population). Now this doesn't mean anything by itself. It could be they lump all services to these people together rather than through mainstream services, it could be patronising and ineffective, controlled by corrupt local officials, controlled and sapped in the capital by non-Aboriginal bureaucrats and so forth. It could be that the position of natives in Canada is so bad that they need more, or that there is an irrelevant segregation of funding, or it could be that the Provinces give less or more proportionately than the federal govt. I find it interesting only because of the situation here.
Keeping in mind the Crown's firm figure of $1b as the total, final, maximum quantum for all "historic" Treaty of Waitangi land settlements (it must be up around half that by now), we have Canada's annual federal budget of equivalent NZ$1.5b. TPK/Vote: Maori Affairs is $170m last year. That's quite a gap even if it may be comparing apples with oranges.
That's the problem with the Crown consistently offering 1-2% compensation every two or three generations or so. It isn't fucking acceptable! That's why the "problem" isn't going away and is not "historic" but live. Can't the Crown pretend they're white and pay 100% and not have any more problems? - sort of why there isn't large class action Pakeha greviences - they get sorted out properly and speedily. Even with huge budget surpluses they have not offered anything more. If they had a $5,000b surplus they would still be insisting Maori deserve 1 or 2% while someone who is white, or foreigners are entitled to 100% plus costs, interest etc. Isn't that right? The presumption is that that is how white people want it - the trade off being bitching at each other forever and the govt. or the party who wants to be the govt. being able to use the race card to win elections by scaremongering.
At some point Pakeha are going to ask themselves the logical question about the Holy Myths (of the type ranted in Brash's Orewa I speech) of:-
1. "We can't let the Maoris get high expectations," and
2. "We can only attempt to try to offer some symbolically, token gift in lieu of redress".
1 really is "We Pakeha can't afford..." And not just that a bigot doesn't want 1 cent going to someone that isn't white, but that his massacring, looting, raping, ethnic clensing, land-grabbing ancestors are being besmerched or that that sort of person is who the immigrant appreciates. And even further, that by being nice in any way, by showing in real terms any measure of sympathy or understanding will lead to a revolutionary Maori radical uprising or coup d'état!
2 really is the mechanism of implementing 1. It acknowledges the wrong but only on condition that it in effect stays wrong. Many "liberal" people who may think of themselves as pro-Maori may fall into this category. Whereas 1 could be painted as a bigot, 2. could be merely patronising. On the anti-confiscation Hikoi I recall vividly over-hearing a middle class, Pakeha, female lawyer saying "Well even if it isn't their's it's how they feel about it." Part of me wanted to slap the little bitch of course, but that would have been rather out of keeping with the spirit of the event. How they feel about it! That was her level of understanding - no analysis of the actual legal issues or historical issues - no, it's just a "feeling" - how utterly patronising. And it is that sort of patronising "feeling" in that class of people that leads them to think that an equally patronising solution is possible: You feel your land was stolen and you feel half your family was wiped out, here's a tiki I made out of recycled plastic to make you feel better and an apology from the nice man from the government will make you feel better too - that's enough isn't it?
The logic probably has to be stated clearly since we are still in Rhodesia mode and it still hasn't dawned on everyone yet that people should be treated equally.
If those Maori expectations are only as high as Pakeha expectations, and Pakeha expectations deserve to be met, and Pakeha acknowledge and uphold the principle of racial equality of justice and fairness and that this should not just be attempted or be symbolic but should be real and meanigful and concrete to be durable and honourable and mutually respected, then it follows that Maori should be treated equally, and equally = 100%; not 0.1% or 1% or 2% but 100%. Pakeha would not, and should not expect less than 100%, and should expect Maori support to achieve 100%. It's all very simple, but it is not we have in this country today.
I don't know the answer to "how much" is 100% either. But I believe any settlement should be a more comprehensive package than just a monetary allocation and could even be the way toward a republic.