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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Con census

The census figures are out.  No surprises that the mass immigration programme of successive NZ governments - which also suffices for an economic policy - has reached a point where a quarter of the resident population of this country are foreign-born migrants.  Such an obvious colonial demographic has not existed since the war.  

By this measure an outside observer (there are scarcely any domestic observers with any thought or concern we live in a perpetual state of economic, social and political colonialism) would be struck by the glaring unsustainability of that project.  How is importing 30,000 - 50,000 people every year for the last twenty years developing the nation, if not developing it into something that reflects the values, habits, culture and language of the origins of the migrants rather than the population of indigenous and locally-born?

The ability for any country to absorb this proportion of migrants without itself changing is impossible.  Any ability of government to influence or moderate such change in a modern liberal nation state is limited.  The NZ government has dealt with this problem by claiming (on behalf of the entire population) that they want this change, that it is inevitable, that it is necessary, that we are dependent upon it, that it is proof of modernity and that as long as most of them can speak passable English there will be no worries.  As conflicts in other nations with similar issues have demonstrated once the migrant communities have been established on the basis that they are able (and indeed encouraged and expected by both central and local government) to keep behaving as foreigners and retain their myriad differences this necessarily erodes any prospect of integration with the existing community and often leads to more overt conflicts than just some cross-words at a bus stop.  

That politicians, academics and the rest of civil society are almost uniformly, ideologically, committed to the permanency of large-scale immigration is something of a testament to how this elite have themselves benefited from it (through increased business and increased house prices) - and that this group because of their position as Europeans at the top level in a colonial situation have calculated that the non-European migrants pose no immediate threat to their position.  Fiji and Kanaky (New Caledonia) are probably the more relevant examples in our region than Australia to highlight what happens when a European power uses immigration in a gross fashion - in the case of Fiji the importation of Indians for solely economic purposes.  We know how that worked out for Fiji, meanwhile in typical French fashion they are refusing to leave their New Caledonia colony by dragging out the process.

But perhaps the Israeli state is a closer example to how the NZ state has operated if we want to understand how the impact of population displacement in the NZ political system has benefited the settlers.  As the Israelis are acutely aware the population figures between the total non-Arab population (ie. Jews, but also others who are not Arab) and the Arab population is crucial to the viability and existence of the Zionist entity.  As long as the Arab inhabitants are under 20% the system is stable, but above that it becomes wobbly as Arab political parties become more likely to be included in coalitions and seek concessions undermining the Zionist character of the regime.  Similarly the NZ system will become unstable if Maori reach 20% and unviable if it looks like Maori will ever reach a majority.  The pressure for the return of the vast tracts of seized Maori land, compensation, and demands for substantive cultural and linguistic rights will be overwhelming and NZ as we have known it will be dissolved.

The mass migration programme ensures this will not happen.  The Maori population is static at barely 15% of the total and will remain so if it continues... as planned. 

The reason the Maori seats have not increased beyond the current seven is not because of the loss of Maori to Australia, or because Maori are not moving off the General Roll and onto the Maori Roll, but because migration adds at least one extra General Electorate every term.  The natural increase in the Maori population could never match 30,000 - 50,000 immigrants year in and year out and therefore Maori are receiving proportionately less representation than they otherwise would because of it.  Contained, marginalised and in a subject position, Maori do not even have the guarantee of a super-majority enjoyed by other electoral legislation - the European settler inheritors hold a sword of Damocles over this and parties in the past have threatened to strip this out. 

The Maori seats were established by the settler parliament to contain Maori to a minimum level of representation that the Colonial Office would agree was not in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi compact - and thereafter the seats were justified by the settlers as existing instead of having the Treaty terms implemented.  The same sort of token approach to native representation was taken in some other British colonies such as Rhodesia.  Very little has changed in the scheme of things.


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