I get Hone Harawira’s anger over National’s pandering to rednecks over the Foreshore and Seabed new legislation. That was the same anger that led to the Maori Party being formed in the first place (ironic that they’re voting for the new law). But I can’t abide by the racist language and actions he resorts to.
ACT’s campaign to get a clause in the new law that explicitly says access to beaches must be free, despite the fact that this was already obviously the case in the Bill, was a dog-whistle to redneck New Zealand (the Paul Henry-ites). The dog-whistle went: those lazy, greedy Maori are going to take away your beaches and then charge you to have a swim.
I can understand Harawira’s anger at that. I’ve had a gut’s full of the political Right nurturing Pakeha racism. They’ve been at it a long time, of course, but it has been worse in recent years, ever since Don Brash’s cynical and divisive Owera speech.
But none of that gives Harawira the right to paint all Pakeha with the brush of the racist Right. Duncan Garner reports that yesterday at Parliament Harawira “refused to speak to Pakeha journalists today – and refused to speak in English.”
Of course, Harawira can choose to speak only in Maori if he chooses and to whom he chooses. But his actions can only be taken as a slight to all Pakeha, and come on top of his comments about not wanting his daughter to date a Pakeha and ‘white mofos’-gate. I’ve had a guts fill of these race-based slurs.
I’m not going to get on my high horse about this – it’s not like Harawira said to the Prime Minister that all non-white Kiwis aren’t real New Zealanders while the PM giggled. Harawira is engaged in a political battle against Pakeha racists but he has it wrong when he lumps all Pakeha with the racist Right, and he risks becoming as bad as the racists he fights.
PS. I wrote this last night. This morning’s Herald suggests that the Maori Party might drop its support for the new Foreshore and Seabed legislation. I hope they do, because it is simply inadequate. But I’ve got my hopes up too often (ETS anyone) to think that Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples won’t sell out again.