Don Brashes aside his crit­ics at meet­ing

Rotorua Review - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - BENN BATHGATE

The Maori best friend (three men­tions), Martin Luther King quotes (four), white priv­i­lege and geno­cide (one each).

To say the visit of po­lit­i­cal lobby group Hob­son’s Pledge to Ro­torua sparked some strong de­bate would be some­thing of an un­der­state­ment.

The group cam­paigns against what it be­lieves are racially based laws and poli­cies, ar­gu­ing for the abo­li­tion of Maori elec­torates and clos­ing the Treaty of Wai­tangi Tri­bunal, among other poli­cies.

Spokesper­son Casey Costello was first to ad­dress the small but mixed au­di­ence at Hen­nessey’s Ir­ish Bar on Mon­day night.

Costello in­tro­duced her­self as Nga­pui and An­glo-Ir­ish, but ‘‘what­ever my his­tory, I’m first and mostly a New Zealan­der’’.

‘‘Maori are not pre­dis­posed to suc­cess or fail­ure due to their ances­try,’’ she said.

‘‘We’re fre­quently told there is no op­por­tu­nity for Maoris. This has to stop, just stop the ex­cuses.’’

Former Na­tional Party leader Don Brash then spoke, of­fer­ing his sup­port for the Treaty of Wai­tangi.

‘‘An ex­tra­or­di­nary doc­u­ment for its time, noth­ing like it hap­pened any­where else in the world,’’ he said.

He said past wrongs, es­pe­cially around land con­fis­ca­tion, should be com­pen­sated. There were caveats how­ever.

‘‘We have cre­ated from this Treaty a monster,’’ he said.

‘‘Once these set­tle­ments have been done we should move for­ward as one peo­ple but we aren’t do­ing that.’’

Brash ar­gued that in sign­ing the Treaty, Maori had ceded sovereignty, not en­tered into a part­ner­ship.

‘‘When you sur­ren­der to the Queen it ain’t no part­ner­ship.’’

Brash also took aim at Maori elec­torates, say­ing they should have been scrapped in 1893.

‘‘There are many Maori in Par­lia­ment and they got there not be­cause they’re Maori, but be­cause they’re good. . . Maori don’t need mol­ly­cod­dling.’’

A lively ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion fol­lowed, with force­ful ar­gu­ments both for and against a num­ber of the is­sues raised, with dis­cus­sion of the Treaty prov­ing es­pe­cially heated.

There was a sole pro­tester out­side the event too.

‘‘I don’t like racism,’’ said Frances Louis.

‘‘I said to Don, pull your boys’ heads in.’’

BENN BATHGATE/FAIR­FAX NZ

Find the word ‘part­ner­ship’ in the Treaty of Wai­tangi and Don Brash has $1000 for you.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.