Char­ac­ter test for John Key

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

If John Key is the hon­est, prin­ci­pled politi­cian many Ki­wis have as­sumed he is, he’ll be work­ing hard to per­suade his sup­port­ers that two cur­rent is­sues should stay sep­a­rate.

One is what he should do about the Fore­shore and Seabed Act, which put Labour so badly off­side with many Maori a few years ago.

The other is how he should re­spond to the idea that Maori be guar­an­teed at least a cou­ple of seats on Auck­land’s su­percity coun­cil.

The temp­ta­tion for him will be to see the two mat­ters as con­nected, with one as a trade­off for the other.

He could ar­gue he’d be do­ing Maori a favour by re­peal­ing the fore­shore law – and Rod­ney Hide and his mates a favour by block­ing au­to­matic Maori rep­re­sen­ta­tion on the Auck­land coun­cil.

Mr Key could pre­tend he was be­ing even­handed by shar­ing out the good­ies – one for the bros and one for the red­necks.

And what, he could ask his sup­port­ers, could be fairer?

But that would be the easy way out, and a dis- hon­est one at that.

Re­peal­ing the law wouldn’t be a favour for Maori. No­body, not even Labour – who stuffed it all up to start with backs the orig­i­nal leg­is­la­tion. It was a clumsy, pan­icky re­sponse to the fuss prompted by Na­tional and mo­rons in the main­stream me­dia about ac­cess to beaches.

And now it’s in the in­ter­ests of all to sort the mess out, not as a spe­cial priv­i­lege for Maori – which it isn’t, but for the sake of jus­tice and our coun­try’s sel­f­re­spect.

I have no doubt Mr Key will be watch­ing pub­lic re­ac­tion to Win­ston Peters’ rants about the fore­shore is­sue be­ing cap­tured by Maori ac­tivists.

How­ever po­lit­i­cally tempt­ing it must be for him, it would be morally wrong to paint a re­peal of the fore­shore law as a vic­tory for Maori, and one that had to be bal­anced by a loss in the make-up of the Auck­land coun­cil.

Ul­ti­mately his be­hav­iour over th­ese two is­sues will tell us a great deal about his char­ac­ter and sense of jus­tice.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.