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Monday, August 08, 2011

Unfair penalties

DPF's musings this morning on Act's social liberalism deficit is amusing. Not because the internal tensions that have always existed within the Act party between conservative and liberal are funny, but because of the wonderful conclusion he comes up with:

Wouldn’t it be great I thought to hear Don Brash say something along the lines of “Yes we are going to get rid of the Maori seats, because race based seats are wrong – but we are also going to decriminalise personal use of cannabis, as our current drug laws unfairly penalise young Maori”.

Do you love his logic? (And let's be generous and call it logic).

So, the reason to decriminalise drugs is so that Maori can get the same lenient treatment as Pakeha? Really? I thought it was about freedom to determine one's own actions as long as it doesn't negatively affect others, but no - it's about racial equality, apparently. And coming from Act - after that awful race-baiting ad - it would never ring true. But that's not the silly bit I want to focus on, it's the corollary (and let's be generous enough to use that word to link it back to logic) of his argument: that policy should be based on not unfairly penalising Maori.

Glad he brought that up. The reason the Maori electorates exist in the form they do is precisely because if they did not it would unfairly penalise Maori. Abolishing the seats would also unfairly advantage Pakeha and magnify the marginalisation of Maori.

The seats exist to offset the other unfair penalty of not having the Treaty of Waitangi honoured by the Crown. The seats were created at the same time the NZ government had embarked on a war against Maori and had abrogated the Treaty - as a gimmick to placate the Colonial Office for having done so.

Maori that wish to represent Maori as a Maori have never been elected in a General/European seat. The closest to it was Sandra Lee's 1993 victory in Auckland Central over Richard Prebble, but that was a unique set of circumstances (and under Alliance banner rather than as a Mana Motuhake member) and such a feat has not been repeated. It is that FPP system (and MMP with a 5% threshold) that is unfair to Maori and electoral history is testament to that. To abolish - for Pakeha to abolish - the Maori seats would be to unfairly penalise Maori.

5 Comments:

At 8/8/11 7:30 pm, Blogger Anonymous said...

The seats were created at the same time the NZ government had embarked on a war against Maori and had abrogated the Treaty - as a gimmick to placate the Colonial Office for having done so.

Everybody seems to believe the Maori seats were meant to benefit Maori, it is not true. It is disturbing the lies NZers tell about their history. The Maori seats were created because Maori outnumbered Pakeha in some number of electorates and if they had been allowed to vote in general seats they would have been able to gain real political power. Maori were relegated to special seats precisely to prevent Maori having fair representation. It's poetic what was meant to unfairly penalise and marginalise Indigenous people can now be used to empower their descendants.

 
At 8/8/11 7:31 pm, Blogger Anonymous said...

The seats were created at the same time the NZ government had embarked on a war against Maori and had abrogated the Treaty - as a gimmick to placate the Colonial Office for having done so.

Everybody seems to believe the Maori seats were meant to benefit Maori, it is not true. It is disturbing the lies NZers tell about their history. The Maori seats were created because Maori outnumbered Pakeha in some number of electorates and if they had been allowed to vote in general seats they would have been able to gain real political power. Maori were relegated to special seats precisely to prevent Maori having fair representation. It's poetic what was meant to unfairly penalise and marginalise Indigenous people can now be used to empower their descendants.

 
At 8/8/11 8:28 pm, Blogger Frank said...

Let's be under no illusion, here.

The right want to get rid of Maori seats because they can't win them. If they were safe-National or safe-ACT seats, then Farrar and his right-wing colleagues would be lining up to defend Maori seats.

Much like MMP, really. The right don't like MMP because it doesn't give them unbridled power.

The right simply don't like to share.

It really is that simple.

 
At 9/8/11 10:35 am, Blogger Arto said...

Lol! The Maorie's were supposed to be an extinct race delegated to museum pieces, so that the Maori wouldn't matter by now!

 
At 9/8/11 6:47 pm, Blogger Anonymous said...

I forgot to say, voting rights were actually a gimmick to placate tribes who had signed the treaty and were fighting on the side of the colonists. At that time Maori still owned a lot of land and had guns to defend it so had to be placated. It's a shame really, if Maori had ignored the treaty like the pakeha settlers did they could have won Even today the Maori seats could be seen as a gimmick in substitute for sovereignty promised by the treaty.

I don't mean to be pedantic for the sake of it, I think it is important that even people who suppport indigenous rights still accept the colonial narrative. That's how I learnt at school too, NZers should honour the treaty to do something kind to benefit Maori because they're liberal and generous. That's not reality, it is another colonial myth.

 

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