Written By: - Date published: 9:08 am, September 30th, 2016 - 139 comments
Categories: don brash, Maori seats, MMP, national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: hobsons pledge, Treaty of waitangi
Hobson’s Pledge (or is that choice) has emerged. Stock photographs aside they appear to comprise older folk mostly wealthy white males who are upset at the thought that Maori should also enjoy privilege. White privilege yes, black privilege no.
They bring out the same old tired arguments from the past few decades. They seem to think that Maori somehow enjoy privilege the rest of us, especially rich old white males, do not.
So how is that privilege looking?
Well Maori rates of home ownership is plunging faster than that of Pakeha. Maori rates of poverty are approximately twice that of Pakeha. Maori account for half of all people in prison despite only constituting 15% of the population. And in 2013 life expectancy at birth for Pakeha was 7 years greater than that of Maori. In statistic after statistic Maori are doing worse than Pakeha.
So putting to one side from home ownership, poverty rates, incarceration rates and life expectancy in what areas does Hobson’s Pledge think that Maori enjoy privilege?
Well they want to remove any RMA requirement to consult with Maori, they want to get rid of Maori electorates and they want to take away any say that Maori have in water allocation.
They trot out a bunch of superficial cliches such as there should be equality under the law, that Maori ceded sovereignty to the Crown, and that the Treaty of Waitangi did not create a partnership nor did it create any principles.
My first response to them is they should read up about the Treaty and understand what it contained. Article one ceded Kawanatanga or governance to the Crown. Article two guaranteed to Maori Tino Rangatiratanga of their lands villages and other Taonga. If Maori were to have ceded sovereignty then the phrases should have been transposed. But then Maori would not have signed because it is clear from the history of the time that they wanted to retain sovereignty.
My second response to Hobson’s Pledge is to read up about the history of the breaches of the Treaty. There are many, many sad and depressing cases and the “Treaty Grievance History” actually involves the Crown analysing the history, identifying the breach, understanding the loss and trying to repair modestly the damage in case after case.
One case involves Ngati Whatua. I previously wrote this very brief summary of their treatment which glosses over the history but gives a sense of what has happened.
And if you really want to get upset then a brief reading of the history of Okahu Bay will achieve this as long as you are human. The original problem was that the Maori Land Court awarded the Bastion Point land to 13 individuals, despite there being a hapu of over 100 that owned the land. Tribal control of the land was lost. Then to really kick things off the Government took land at Okahu Bay and built a sewer pipe across the beach in front of the Ngati Whatua village. It discharged raw sewage from Auckland into the bay, which at that time was the only access to the papakainga. The sewage outfall was unhygienic and highly offensive, it polluted the hapu’s shellfish beds, and it turned the village into a swamp in heavy rain. Many people left the village and the hapu broke up.
The equivalent situation would be if the authorities said that Peter Shirtcliffe’s land holdings actually belonged to someone else and let them sell the land and keep the profits. Imagine what the response would be.
As for the Maori electorates I believe they fulfill an important role. They maintain representation and diversity and recognise Maori’s special status in Aotearoa New Zealand. In an MMP situation they do not distort the democratic will. It is not as if the electorates are controlled by puppet parties whose only role is to skewer proportionality to the right.
And water? The treaty did preserve to Maori unqualified exercise of their chieftainship over their lands, villages and their Taonga. And water is clearly a Taonga.
I said this a couple of years ago and it seems just as relevant now. Lets get real here. We are going to have an intense negative debate about uppity Maori seeking privilege and the loudest voices against them will be the defenders of existing privilege. When you get to understand what is going on the problem is not that there may be privilege, just that there may be competition.
Funny how the #HobsonsPledge crew think a thing Hobson said during the signing of a document carries more weight than the actual document.
— Stephanie Rodgers (@bootstheory) September 29, 2016