DON BRASH: SHOULD WE HAVE A REFERENDUM ON THE TREATY? A couple of days ago, K Gurunathan – described as a former mayor of Kapiti – had an article in Stuff under the heading “ACT’s Treaty referendum: a bad idea, and even worse timing”. In the article, he noted that former Prime Minister John Key had ruled out the idea of scrapping Maori electorates, even though it had long been National Party policy to do so, on the grounds that doing so “would be an incredibly divisive thing to do to New Zealand and New Zealanders. Do you really want to rip a country apart? I’ll tell you what would happen – hikois from hell.” Then Mr Gurunathan noted that “Green Party leader James Shaw warned there could be wide scale disruption leading to violence if ACT’s Seymour is successful in getting National’s Christopher Luxon to agree to his referendum on the Treaty. Te Pati Maori president John Tamihere added that if Maori were backed into a corner it would spark a civil disobedience movement that would shut down the country’s major cities.” What on Earth has David Seymour proposed to prompt such strong reactions? He has simply drawn attention to the fact that there is a huge amount of confusion about what the Treaty of Waitangi actually provided, with an increasing tendency for governments to interpret it and its so-called “principles” as conferring different political rights on those New Zealanders who chance to have a Maori ancestor than on those who don’t. Yet the actual text of the Treaty, whether in English or te reo, is very short and very simple – only a single page in length. Its three simple clauses involved Maori chiefs surrendering sovereignty to the Crown, being guaranteed their property rights, and being granted the rights and privileges of British subjects. (And arguing that chiefs did not understand that they were surrendering power to a higher authority is impossible in view of the speeches made and recorded at the time, and subsequently made at a conference of chiefs in Kohimarama in 1860.) Much legislation in recent decades refers to the “principles of the Treaty”, but Parliament has never tried to define those principles. The result has been that the courts have felt free to interpret those principles as they have felt inclined, suggesting in particular that the Treaty established something “akin to a partnership”, even though neither the word “partnership” nor any synonym for “partnership” appears in any of the three short articles of the Treaty. So David Seymour has suggested that Parliament should debate what the Treaty means and, having had that debate, should ask the country to confirm the meaning by means of a referendum. In a statement issued ahead of the election explaining why ACT wants a referendum on the meaning of the Treaty, he commented: “No society in history has succeeded by having different political rights based on birth. New Zealanders came here to escape class and caste and apartheid. “All of the good political movements of the past four hundred years have been about ending discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex and sexuality to treat each person with the same dignity. We are the first country in history that’s achieved equal rights and has division as its official policy. It’s nuts. “The Treaty Principles Act would be short but decisive. It would define the Principles of the Treaty as:
1. All citizens of New Zealand have the same political rights and duties. 2. All political authority comes from the people by democratic means including universal suffrage, regular and free elections with a secret ballot. 3. New Zealand is a multi-ethnic liberal democracy where discrimination based on ethnicity is illegal. “For the avoidance of doubt, these principles prevail over any contradictory enactment by Parliament, or finding on the matter of Treaty Principles by the Courts.” I find it hard to see any rational reason for opposing such a referendum. Surely not the threat of civil disobedience by those who feel that that interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi threatens their own selfinterest? Of course, there is nothing about such a referendum which would reverse or put an end to claims against the Crown for historical abuse, and nor should it. But if such a referendum were passed it would end once and for all the nonsense that those who chance to have some Maori ancestry – now always with ancestors of other ethnicities too of course – have some preferential right to anything. Logically, there would be no basis for Maori electorates – which were established for just five years in 1867, and which the Royal Commission on the Electoral System said in 1986 should be scrapped if we adopted MMP – no basis for separate Maori wards in local government, no basis for a separate Maori Health Authority, and so on. Might this lead to the sudden disappearance of Maori from positions of power and influence? Of course not. We don’t know the final shape of the new Parliament as I write but it is only a couple of years ago that the Leader and Deputy Leader of the National Party were Maori, as were the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, the Leader and Deputy Leader of New Zealand First, the Co-Leader of the Greens and the Leader of ACT, with only one of those seven people being dependent on a Maori electorate to get into Parliament. To imply that without Maori electorates Maori would be deprived of a voice in Parliament is condescending nonsense. I hope that John Tamihere, who was himself a Minister in a Labour Government some years ago, would not do anything to encourage civil disobedience – indeed, would do everything in his power to encourage obedience to the law – if David Seymour’s referendum were to go ahead. But the longer New Zealanders go on pandering to the radicals who are demanding superior rights based on ethnicity the more difficult it will be to put the country back onto a democratic path. As negotiations to form the next Government get under way in earnest, let’s hope that a referendum to define our political rights beyond any shadow of doubt is firmly on the agenda. Don Brash 31 October 2023 -------------------------------Julian Batchelor’s commentary -------------------------Agree with you 98% Don. I wrote THIS paper saying much the same as you have written, but you are far more eloquent. So where is the 2% difference? Historical grievances have been settled long ago, in the 1950’s to be precise.
Author Mike Butler puts like this: “During the 19th century, most land in New Zealand was sold by its Maori owners to the government. Maori sovereignty radicals say it was “stolen” but, apart from 1.6 million acres that were confiscated after the 1860s conflicts, and the land that remains in Maori customary title, nearly 66 million acres (the entire land area of New Zealand) was actually sold. Claims about land sales before 1840, about sales between 1840 and 1865, and sales through the Native Land Court, amount to claims for more money for those old sales.” (Innocent Nil Debit, Mike Butler, Limestone Bluff Publishing, p199) What about land confiscations? Sir Apirana Ngata (right) puts this to bed as well when he states: “Some have said that these confiscations were wrong and that they contravened the articles of the Treaty of Waitangi. The Government placed in the hands of the Queen of England, the sovereignty and the authority to make laws. Some sections of the Maori people violated that authority. War arose from this and blood was spilled. The law came into operation and land was taken in payment. It was their own chiefs who ceded that right to the Queen. The confiscations cannot therefore be objected to in the light of the Treaty” (Sir Apirana Ngata. The Treaty Of Waitangi. An Explanation. pp 15-16) Author Bruce Moon sums up nicely when he says ““Loud assertions today that land was “stolen” or “dispossessed” are hypocrisy – a mockery of the truth.” (Bruce Moon. Twisting The Treaty. A Tribal Grab For Wealth And Power. Tross Publishing. 2013. p 37) On going ‘Treaty Settlements’ are an absolute rort. How come I know it, you know it, and even activist Maori know it but it still goes on? Activist Maori can’t believe their luck that politicians are so gullible, so historically ignorant, and so easy to bully and intimidate. They cave at the slightest whiff of conflict, as Key did. Look at the fear in Key’s eyes in THIS video clip. To activists, we are push overs, easy beats. We retract and curl up into the fetal position the moment we hear them call us ‘racist!’ For them, taking cash and assets from “white man” is as easy as taking lollies off a baby. So activists push on relentlessly and gleefully, bluffing and threatening, lying and intimidating, delighting to screw us all over, plundering our cash and assets, rubbing their hands together and laughing, all the way to the bank. They are sublime actors, feigning being grieved and wounded.
Our gullibility has opened the door for activists to take us to the cleaners. Study, for a moment, the picture on the right. Meditate on it. Do you get it? The great curse of Kiwis is their gullibility. It’s got us into terrible trouble. Let David Seymour’s referendum be the last stop for this cursed gravy train. That train has been chugging along for 180 years. Literally billions of dollars have been shovelled into the fire box to keep it going, but to what end? What’s been the result? The birth of three things: division, apartheid, racism. The collapse of two things: democracy and equality. The creation of an insatiable greed among elite Maori to demand more billions. The birth of ‘I am entitled’ and ‘you owe me’ attitude among Maori in general. The loss of the minds our under 40’s who been systematically and deliberately brainwashed with historical misinformation and propaganda. Now many young people are ashamed of being white. The corruption of our media and our judiciary. The appaling downgrade of our universities. The decimation / corruption of the true meaning and intent of the Treaty. The loss of our forests and fisheries, and soon our entire coastline. Our water is sure to follow. And more. All this is slowly awakening the anger and the ire and the fury of a growing number of politically savvy discerning Kiwis who know exactly what is going down - a coup by stealth, no less. It’s an absolute disgrace. Our once beautiful nation is being incrementally taken over, destroyed, plundered. We don’t just see it, we feel it. And the feeling is bad. Very bad.
Bugger them. And by ‘them’ I mean activist Maori and history ignorant cowardly limp-wristed politicians, like Key and Luxon, who hide their cowardice behind “We don’t want to create division.” OMG! As if we can’t see through this veneer. The former are criminals, the latter pathetic pussies, all of them. Except Seymour. He is a hungry lion on the loose. It’s either a successful referendum or we degenerate into becoming the Zimbabwe of the South Pacific. If radical Maori mobilise 10,000 to protest (as John Tamihere said they would), we’ll mobilise 100,000 to support David. Whatever they can muster, we can muster more. They are 14%, we 86%. We are 6x them in number so it ought to be a cinch. Let a show of solidarity and strength by the 86% terrify Luxon. Shock and awe. Being a coward, he’ll buckle to big shows to strength. Bring it on. Feed the lion. Let’s get in behind him. We can’t just write about it. We have to show it. Let the 86% rise and make a stand. This is our moment. As a nation, we are on the brink. Our country is called New Zealand. We are not Aotearoa. We are all New Zealanders. P.S Surely, Luxon is intelligent enough, and perceptive enough, and politically astute enough, to see what is CAUSING the division? As it stands, he is demonstrating that he can’t see, that he’s not intelligent, not perceptive, and not astute. An analogy? It’s like a doctor examining someone and seeing that they have cancer. But the doctor does not want to upset the patient, the person with cancer, for fear of creating trouble and trauma. So he says to himself “I will just keep the peace, the status quo, and say nothing.” Meanwhile, the person with cancer slowly dies, because the doctor refuses to face and deal with the cause of the death, this being the cancer. Is this how a responsible doctor would act? In the same way, is this how a responsible PM would act with the respct to division, apartheid, and racism which are now rampant in our country? You know the answer.