Paora Goldsmith, who last hit National headlines for botching up National’s alternative budget, has again hit the headlines and for the wrong reasons.
On Saturday he said publicly that Colonialism was on balance good for Maori. Wholesale loss of their land and other Taonga, wars, rape and pillage, and the near demise of Te Reo Maori and Te Ao Maori were balanced by other events.
Paora said this:
National’s education spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says while colonisation may have been “traumatic” for Māori, overall it has had a positive effect.
Speaking to Newshub Nation on Saturday, the National MP was asked about an opinion piece from 2019 discussing colonisation in which he wrote, ‘Did the good outweigh the bad? Surely, we have to say, yes.’
Asked if he thought the good has outweighed the bad specifically for Māori, the National MP replied: “The reality is that New Zealand was isolated from the rest of the world for centuries and at some point it had to reconnect with the rest of the world. And that happened in the 19th century was always going to be a very traumatic experience.
“But with it came all sorts of wonderful things, such as literacy, such as the freedoms and democracy that have come through… I think on balance it has, yes.”
Earlier this year he suggested that the new draft history curriculum should be changed so that our kids should learn about business history and less about colonialism. I can see why. If our younger citizens are not taught about the horrendous effects of colonialism then they may also think that in a two sides to every argument sort of way there is indeed a benefit to colonialism.
And fancy a historian advocating that less teaching of history was a good thing. It is almost as if he thinks there would be a political benefit for some of our population’s understanding of our history being dumbed down.
There is one group that surprisingly have not supported his views, the National Party Caucus.
From Radio New Zealand:
There was little support from within the National caucus for Goldsmith’s position.
“I don’t know that I would say that, but I do think that New Zealand today is significantly better than many other countries,” leader Judith Collins said.
She said while “most colonised people don’t feel that colonisation works well for them”, she was proud of how New Zealand had fought very hard to come together.
National MP Matt Doocey said it had to be accepted that “colonisation has had some negative impact on Māori”.
Todd Muller said it was “on balance, a very brutal time for Māori”.
Christopher Luxon was unequivocal that “colonisation was not good for Māori as we saw with breaches of the Treaty and we saw with Land Wars as well.”
Labour was more blunt. From teaomaori.news:
Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis says, “He’s totally wrong. He’s a living, breathing example of why we need to teach history in New Zealand schools.”
Goldsmith’s view is under fire from the government and, more notably, dividing the opposition.
Peeni Henare called Goldsmith “koretake,” while Todd Muller said, “Was colonisation good for Māori? I have a different opinion from Paul.”
But there was one New Zealand politician who thought that what Paora said was just fine. Yep he who has danced with the stars and is willing to twerk with anyone:
“I think there was always going to be an impact when New Zealand reconnected with the world,” [Act leader David] Seymour said. “That’s not saying that it’s justified, it’s about balancing everything that’s happened.
“The question is on balance, has colonisation been a good thing, and the answer is yes, because New Zealand is one of the most successful societies in human history to grow up in today,” he said.
When asked how Māori dying seven years younger than non-Māori was good for them, he said it did need to be improved, but framing everything in light of colonisation was not going to solve it.
When asked what the benefits of colonisation were, he said parliamentary democracy and the court system.
If you ever wanted a clearer example of Trumpian racist dog whistling then this is it.
Shame on them. And good on some elements of the National Party for refusing to support use of the dog whistle.