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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The negative egalitarianism of Don 'Maaaaaori get too much' Brash

"Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well housed, well warmed and well fed."
Herman Melville

Don Brash is casually racist the way that drunk older uncle whom you only see at Christmas dinner once a year from the provinces is casually racist. His 'Maaaaaaaaaori get too much' routine is a well worn path of garden variety bigotry, the genesis of which is outlined in the Hollow Men doco free on line.

The reality that the right wing try and hide is that Don knows full well that his 'Maaaaaaori get too much' race baiting is an outright lie. I'm not just talking about the counter that there is nothing more unequal than equal treatment of unequal people, Don and National KNEW when they released his infamous Orewa speech that his 'one-law-for-all-Maaaaaaaaaaaori-get-too-much' position was an actual bare faced lie.

From page 90 of the Hollow Men emails...

The speech gave a sole concrete example of Maori privilege. This was the Nelson-Tasman Public Health Organisation (PHO), which, it said, 'is required to have half the community representatives on its board representing local iwi, even though the number of people actually belonging to those loval iwi is a tiny fraction of the population covered by that PHO'.

The interesting thing about the example is that the staff in the National Party leader's office knew that the Nelson PHO was not typical. They discussed the risks resulting from this 'one good example' in fact being an exception. But it still went into the speech and no effort was made to explain that most PHOs are different and that their structures are decoded by local GPs and other representatives, not by government requirement.

Having generated public reaction and outrage from the subject of race-based privilege, Brash's staff found themselves being asked by journalists for evidence and examples of the supposed widespread abuses. You might imagine that the staff would be eager to hammer home the most powerful allegations in the speech. Instead, the internal communications show them urgently trying to bat enquiries away. The power of the speech had come from emotional lever pulling and button pushing, not factual accuracy. As soon as the media started asking about the facts, the staff started dodging and ducking.

For instance, a couple of weeks after the speech, Brash's media staff received an email New Zealand Herald reporter Ruth Berry who was writing a backgrounder on 'race-based funding'. She asked National to say what it meant by this term and to name the top 10 examples of race-based funding which it would prevent. Instead of being pleased, Richard Long was immediately defensive. He forwarded her email to Peter Keenan and Murray McCully saying, "Can you confer? We need to come up with a credible holding answer for these, that will avoid "National gone to ground and can't answer" type articles. The DomPost is doing similar, as you are aware.'

Long proposed that they say the information was not yet ready or available - 'Something along the lines of this week we commissioned the first in what could be a series of professional reviews of legislation to judge the full extent of the infiltration and what needs to be done to remove/correct etc. This will not be hurried and we are not prepared to address this in a piecemeal fashion.'

Media assistant Phil Rennie chipped in that they needed to talk the media out of expecting that major examples of race-based funding existed. 'Isn't the point though not the amount of money,' he added in an email, 'but the principle, and the resentment that this racial differentiation creates? We need to dampen down media expectations that we are going to uncover big monetary figures.'

National knew their 'Maaaaaori-get-too-much-one-law-for-all' rhetoric was a lie and they had a set disinformation campaign to throw mainstream media off scent if they started questioning the veracity of this dog whistle. We know this because the Hollow Men emails clearly catch them out discussing how to lie to the media over the 'Maaaaaori-get-too-much-one-law-for-all' race-baiting .

Don is simply dusting off his race based privilege dog whistle from 2004 and repackaging it as 'one law for all' and is playing the same media strategy.

Brash claims he rolled Hide because Hide wasn't focused enough on economics, yet all Brash has done is rant about Maori not being special and one law for all.

Those who voted for Labour in 2005 and National in 2008 have to ask themselves what a Key-Brash Government would do. The big blue tent strategy of feigning moderation is over, and moderates who supported Key have to understand that a vote for John is a vote for Don.



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