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Is there something wrong with Judith being white?

Written By: - Date published: 8:17 am, May 28th, 2020 - 134 comments
Categories: Dr Deborah Russell, Judith Collins, paula bennett, racism, racism, todd muller, uncategorized - Tags:

On Tuesday of this week Tova O’Brien collated this news piece to review the events of the day which included National coming under fire because its front bench were all white, hurried discussions of which were the Maori MPs and where were they placed, the startling revelation that Paora Goldsmith was a member of Ngati Porou, his denial in real time, his explanation, Muller and Kaye doing stunned mullet impersonations at the revelation, Paula Bennett being asked about Goldsmith’s alleged Maori heritage and pulling this face …

… Nicola Willis thinking that Simon Bridges was still leader, Winston Peters and Shane Jones poking fun and then withering political analysis by Tova.

The film is a piece of art, high drama merged with the Thick of It.  This film review by Hayden Donnell at the Spinoff is blisteringly funny.  He describes the film in these terms:

The report from O’Brien is an exhilarating, absurdist, dark comedy. A chaotic human drama unfurling over the course of a few hours, with almost all the action centred in a single red-carpeted corridor. Though the story is just a couple of minutes long, it runs the full gamut of political emotion.

I won’t wreck it by quoting highlights.  The whole piece is laugh out loud funny.  Go and read it.  Well done Hayden.

Judith Collins makes a cameo appearance.  And does what a responsible member of the front bench should do on this most trying of days and talks about National’s commitment to diversity.  Nah just joking she asks this question:

is there something wrong with me being white?

Of all the click baitable comments that could be made at a time National is under the hammer for having a totally white front bench this is extraordinary in its destructive power.  It keeps the issue in the media for another day and lets me write this blog post.

Because the question is a variation of the expression that is offered by white supremacists.  Like Lauren Southern.  Remember her?

It has also been used in neo nazi campaigns in the United States, and appears to be a counter to the Black Lives Matter movement.

You would think that after Todd Muller’s difficulties with his MAGA hat the National Front Bench would steer clear of statements with racist overtones.

But wait there is more.

Yesterday this happened.  From Jane Patterson at Radio New Zealand:

Tensions flared over race relations again today at Parliament with outspoken National MP Judith Collins saying she was “sick of being demonised” for her ethnicity.

National’s been under fire for not having any Māori MPs in its top twelve, in the new line-up revealed on Monday.

Yesterday Collins pushed back, asking reporters if there was “something wrong” her with being white.

Today during a hearing of Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure committee, she reacted to questions being asked by Labour MP Tamati Coffey about the treaty partnership and government procurement.

“Oh Jesus Christ, stupid questions”, said Collins, with the committee chair Labour’s Deborah Russell chipping in calling it “a white girl comment – crikey”.

“Oh no”, shot back Collins,”it’s actually someone who is utterly sick of being demonised for my ethnicity thank-you very much.”

Peeni Henare gave an outstanding speech in Parliament yesterday afternoon targeting Collins comments.  Zane Small in Newshub reports these comments:

In his speech, Henare suggested Collins does not know what it is like to be marginalised.

“When Ms Collins is more likely to live in poverty, to end up in prison, to be stopped to have her bags checked in a shop even though your Pākehā mates are not, then, maybe she can claim to be demonised for her culture.”

He said Collins, “like her leader, are blind to the real Aotearoa the rest of us live in”.

Maybe Collins really believes that she is being marginalised.  Maybe this is not an attempt to keep a story highlighting National’s problem with diversity alive for days on end.  Whatever the motivation her recent contributions are not helping and if Todd Muller had real power he would do something about it.

134 comments on “Is there something wrong with Judith being white? ”

  1. You would think that after Todd Muller’s difficulties with his MAGA hat the National Front Bench would steer clear of statements with racist overtones.

    I don't think Judith Collins gives a shit what the party might want her to say. Like Tariana Turia, she's not remotely ashamed of what she is.

    My own response to The Spinoff's tweet promoting this story was "Won't somebody please, please think of the wealthy lawyers," but the fact is we're not her target market and her response will go down very well in that target market. The bigger a fuss the left makes about her comments, the stronger she looks to her intended audience.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Do you think it is a winning tactic though? Brash ran a racist campaign in 2005 and lost thanks to a groundswell to Labour in the urban areas. Key was very careful to paint himself as a moderate and to make National’s caucus look diverse.

      Collins may be shoring up support within the party but I can’t see it winning an election any time soon.

      • Robert Guyton 1.1.1

        I don't believe her support within the National Party will be "shored up" by that sort of contrived petulance; it's not an attribute even the worst of them would want in a leader, given the discomfort they are seeing in their Trump-cap-coveting leader of 6-days. Collins is performing for those outside of the Nat caucus in an attempt to both become more popular and drag more fundamentalist votes to the party. Expect more of this in the next few months, but let's not amplify her effect by jumping at each shadow. As I have done twice here already smiley

        • mickysavage

          I suspect you are right about the motivation but I think her actions are more damaging to National than helpful. Hence my post!

      • Psycho Milt 1.1.2

        Oh, I think it would be a deranged tactic if Muller were to try it, sure. But Collins doing it is different – the more liberal of the potential Nat voters will just go "Oh there's Judith being Judith again" and not be put off the party by her comments, so there's little danger in it from that quarter. However, there's a lot more people out there than we tend to think who share Collins partisan enthusiasm for her own ethnic group, and those people will be encouraged by her comments. I think she's smarter than people give her credit for.

      • weka 1.1.3

        I see it not as about wining an election but building a sociopolitical culture that suits National medium and long term, one that enables more dogwhistling around race and Trumpian politics.

        I also would guess that she's just sick of the politics around anti-racism work and so it's a natural position for her. Agree with PM below that she can get away with it.

        • mickysavage

          I think you are right and progressives could ignore her and see if that works but from the looks of America it is the last thing to do. My preference is to call it out, simply but directly.

          • weka

            I think so. Definitely needs to be named and not left to stand. I don't feel like the left has a good response to the Trumpian stuff yet though. It seems like we've got a reprieve with Ardern, but the dirtypol crews are still working away on their project.

            • Incognito

              Ardern leads by example, being kind, inclusive, non-polarising/divisive, and makes decisions and judgments based on best available evidence. Trump leads by opposing and attacking, being aggressive and domineering, othering and excluding, polarising and divisive, and makes decisions based on gut/animal instinct that fly in the face of facts and evidence.

              I don’t think it is (good) enough to call out ‘wrongs’, simply but directly, sorry Micky. At the same time, you need to provide and control the narrative and frame it in terms/values of and embodied by Ardern, for example, and avoid framing it in Trumpian terms.

              Simply reacting in a reflexive way is always ceding victory to Trumpian style politics, IMO. One’s politics are defined by one's own personal values and goals, not by the opponent. If you let your enemy choose the weapon, the time, and the place, you give them too much advantage. So, why would you do this?

              • weka

                Calling out is necessary but not sufficient?

                There are also differences in what should be said in parliament from a blog from twitter from FB. Who is speaking and who they are speaking to matters.

                • Incognito

                  Calling out is necessary but not sufficient?


                  Plant a seed in fertile soil and nurture it, don’t just blow it away, because it will come back and take root somewhere unpleasant.

                  You can see it happening here on TS, on a regular basis. And I think it is a valid criticism, one that is raised by some commenters from time to time. We do seem to go around in circles (Groundhog Day).

                  There are also differences in what should be said in parliament from a blog from twitter from FB. Who is speaking and who they are speaking to matters.

                  Indeed, and an effective politician uses all these media platform addressing different audiences yet always coming from his/her own core values (AKA be true to yourself). The principle is the same, hence the term. And it applies to each one of us; aren’t we all ‘politicians’ in our own little way? The PM cannot beat a virus on her own; she needed a team of five million to do this. Likewise, one person cannot change prevailing attitudes in politics and our society. But this person can show a way …

            • Anne

              I don't feel like the left has a good response to the Trumpian stuff yet though.

              They don't. This kind of dirty politicking has happened before and Labour's preference at least seems to be to ignore it and hope the voters will see it for what it is. A significant portion of them don't and it is surprising how many of them are well educated and should know better.

              mickysavage is right. They need to call it out every time. It doesn’t need to be provocative or savage but just… put the record straight before a meme starts to gather momentum.

              • weka

                I agree, call it out straight. How it gets called out matters (which is why I disagree with what Russell did).

      • Enough is Enough 1.1.4

        When National was languishing in the polls post 2002 (at a similar position they are today) a joker called Brash came along and made a speech at Orewa. That speech catapulted National from sub-30 to the 40% mark they have maintained until last weeks polls.

        So I disagree that Brash's approach cost National.

        They lost against an extremely competent Clark/Cullen government, courtesy of Winston Peters opting to go with Labour.

        • left_forward

          Yes, that's what sprung to my mind too when I read Micky's response to PM.

          It is however a very different time to 2002. With the Government's genuine post-Covid aura of success, divisive politics are not likely to be so helpful to National. This is the wrong approach, at least in the short term for them.

          Anyway, I don’t think that Judith was being tactical or rational at all – it was pure emotional frustration.

          • Enough is Enough

            I agree. Unlike Brash, who had a strategy, Judith was just blurting out.

            Be careful though, divisive politics flourish when times are tough, so I am not sure that such a strategy won't have some impact.

            • McFlock

              Once is a blurt, twice is intentional. Unless it's Bridges talking about Paula.

      • Paddington 1.1.5

        Wow, back the truck up. The reason Labour won the 2005 election was because of the ineterst free student loans bribe. It was a political masterstroke by H1 and H2. Without it, Don Brash would most likely have been PM.

        • mickysavage

          That helped but my overwhelming recollection of the time is turning up to the New Lynn HQ on election day and seeing 300 people there. People of diverse ethnicities and backgrounds and ages. Election day was fascinating and that evening went from despair to celebration.

          • McFlock

            you're probably more correct, but a piece of me prefers Paddington's suggestion that public services were more attractive to voters than racism was.

            I hope that repeats itself this year.

          • Enough is Enough

            My guess in New Lynn HQ votes red every election.

            The actual result showed solid support for two parties who promoted racist policies. Winston with his anti Asian rhetoric on 5.72% and Brash with Kiwi/Iwi on 39.1%

    • Robert Guyton 1.2

      Psycho Milt is correct. Judithites across the land are thrilling to her chutzpa and lefties like us, hackles bristling, are strengthening her position. I enjoyed the way Deborah and Tamati treated Collins with deserved disdain.

    • I Feel Love 1.3

      Hey intended audience other white people who feel demonised by being white? Basically ACT supporters. I understand this is where Trump gets his support, but I think NZ is a much more mingled & diverse country than the US.

      I saw a good comment on Twitter, it's not so much the Nat front bench is white, it's that it's not diverse. Even cynical optics, in NZ 2020, it's pretty dumb.

      Also, I'm a white guy, similar ancestory to Goldsmiths, whalers and Māori intermarriages and waves of immigration. I'm proud of my Irish, Croat whatever, "white", I've never understood the fragility of other white people.

      • Nic the NZer 1.3.1

        Its also incorrect to characterise people who agree with her as purely ACT supporters. I have voted for the Green party mostly and I agree with Collins here. What is important is her capability to represent her constituants interests and not necessarily the interests aligned with her heritage and culture. This goes for all politicians.

        Labour should front foot the issues its having right now and not divert into this stuff which favours National as it merely polarises the electorate.

      • Psycho Milt 1.3.2

        [Her] intended audience other white people who feel demonised by being white?

        I'd phrase it more like "other white people who feel proud of their ethnicity." I believe being proud of your ethnicity is about as dumb as it gets, but a huge number of people seem to indulge themselves in it, and by no means just the white ones. No way is her intended audience just ACT supporters.

        • bwaghorn

          You do realise that if feels like the whole of Maori culture is based on being proud of there ethnicity?

          I agree but how do you fix the problems in Maori nz if you cant label them as 1 ethnic group.

          • Psycho Milt

            Oh sure, if your ethnicity is of an actual oppressed minority, it's pretty hard to distinguish between being proud of your ethnicity and what is just the assertion of your culture's continued existence. Judith Collins doesn't have that problem, though – with her it's definitely taking pride in an accident of birth.

            • George

              I think she's conflating being white…with being white and privileged. Nobody who is white and poor seems to go around in NZ saying they are sick of defending their ethnicity.. mainly they're sick of defending the crime of poverty, but they're too busy feeling oppressed to actually bother…

        • weka

          I believe being proud of your ethnicity is about as dumb as it gets, but a huge number of people seem to indulge themselves in it, and by no means just the white ones.

          One of the most important teachings I had about race and politics came from a workshop run by the late Irihapeti Ramsden on decolonisation (don't think it was being called that then). It was a group of maybe 20 people, some of whom were Māori, most were Pākehā. She covered a lot, including NZ history that told the real story about the Treaty, the land wars, colonisation, Māori struggle. A real eye opening for this young Pākehā in the 80s.

          But she also did this other thing, that I consider revolutionary. She had us all look at where we come from. Who are families are, how they came to be in NZ if they were Pākehā, the cultures they came from, ethnicity. She taught this a bit differently to the Māori in the group, but for both groups it was about knowing who we are and the sense of belonging, grounding, safety that comes from that.

          That is akin to feeling pride. It's completely different from white pride, it's about not feeling shame for one's circumstance or history, and being able to feel good about the long stretch of history behind us. It’s aroha. This also, critically, allows white people to be honest about the terrible things that have been done and still are done.

          The current liberal rejection of white people finding and feeling good about their culture is hugely problematic, as is the idea that we don't have culture. Not only does it cause disconnect and disenfranchisement, but it denies a pretty basic human need for belonging. It also radicalises people towards the white supremacists, who are now well versed in how to present their ideas as reasonable.

          Māori know who they are, where they come from, where they belong, and it shows. It's obvious that they have cultural benefits that Pākehā don't because this is embedded in their culture and daily lives. Ramsden spoke differently to the Māori in the workshop precisely because she understood the huge damage that is done when you make people feel bad about who they are at the cultural level and that the shame imposed on people needs healing. It's different for Pākehā obviously, but that doesn't mean it is without consequences.

          • Sacha

            white people finding and feeling good about their culture

            Does Collins really sound to you like that's where she is coming from?

            As you said, genuine pride is not accompanied by defensiveness. It takes good will from all involved before any reconciliation can happen. One-sided appeasement seldom ends well.

            • weka

              The comment you replied to is clearly a response to PM's comment about pride and ethnicity. It wasn't a comment about JC, you can see what I think about her below.

              Neither of my comments is arguing for one sided appeasement and I'm not ok with them being framed as such. As you can see below, I believe that Collins should be called out on her racism. My story about Ramsden's work isn't for Collins, it's for the people who want a better way than using 'white girl' as a pejorative, and for the people who may otherwise end up radicalised by the white supremacists. If we don't call them in, do you really think that liberal ideology and catch phrases will change their minds? or that somehow progressive values will inevitable win out despite people ending up feeling shit? I'm just not seeing it.

          • Psycho Milt

            The current liberal rejection of white people finding and feeling good about their culture is hugely problematic, as is the idea that we don't have culture. Not only does it cause disconnect and disenfranchisement, but it denies a pretty basic human need for belonging. It also radicalises people towards the white supremacists, who are now well versed in how to present their ideas as reasonable.

            I think that's where Judith Collins' defensiveness is coming from and the constituency it will appeal to: white people who believe liberals are telling them their culture/ethnicity is something to be ashamed of. And the more that liberals shout "Racism!" at it, the more confidence those white people are going to have in that belief.

            • weka

              I think so. Not sure that liberals intend to shame people for being Pākehā. Or maybe they do, it's hard to tell. Definitely seen liberal people pushing back against any attempt for Pāhekā to feel good about Pākehā cultures. Maybe people really do believe that shaming will help. Not talking about Collins here, but the people watching this go down.

              It's not like we haven't been observing this dynamic for a while. We've also been observing the defensiveness that is backed by anti-solidarity and anti-identity politics. It seems like people just love to live in the false binary. All I know is that in late stage capitalism people are scared, and most will respond better to being called in than shamed for something they have no control over. This is really different from addressing racism which obviously also needs to happen.

    • bill 1.4

      The identity driven politics that liberals have indulged in is a busted flush. Collins knows that and can play to it.

      • swordfish 1.4.1

        Yep, playing the Intersectionals like a Stradivarius.

      • RedLogix 1.4.2


        The fatal mistake the left made when formulating identity politics was imagining that the right could not do it back to us …

        And boy do we not like it when they do.

    • Simbit 1.5

      She's not as dumb as we hope and she's more racist than we fear.

  2. Tricledrown 2

    Channeling Todd muler 's maga hat.

    Dog whistling white supremacist's

    • tc 2.1

      Cynical and calculated….classic Collins. An election without old buddy cammy around so Matty will be busy methinks.

  3. AB 3

    There are two redundant words on the end of the headline.

    • JanM 3.1

      Exactly – she just is an unpleasant person, as, for that matter, is Paula Bennett. They really deserve each other, don't they! And it's all very well for Paula to claim Maori status now, but if she has done anything in her time to support te ao Maori then she has been very quiet about it! As has Simon Bridges!

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    Todd seemed so taken aback at first that it made me suspect he genuinely hadn't thought of factoring in biodiversity when selecting his team. If he did the selection in consultation with Nikki, then the achilles heel ain't just his.

    If there's a winner out of this shemozzle for the Nats, I nominate Goldsmith. He gets some multi-ethnic street cred in the public mind – no more little rich white dude. Ngati Goldsmith seems to have substantial history and regional prominence (outlined by the Herald)…

  5. Sacha 5

    The fragility of every bully. Remember her whimpering when Oravida drew attention? Pathetic creature.

  6. woodart 6

    when I first saw the headline "collins sick of being demonised for her ethnicity" I assumed she was sick of being slagged off ,for being a front for chinese intrusion in nz politics.

  7. xanthe 7

    This line of attack will shore up national party support. Its wrong both ethically and pragmatically.

  8. Tiger Mountain 8

    The thing with white privilege is people can be blithely unaware they hold it, dimly aware but not troubled, or are well aware and be in hot denial like Mrs Collins.

    Labour’s Henare captured the nub of it for doubters of the existence of white privilege. It can still be a very different experience for Māori and Pacific New Zealanders to walk down a street, try to rent accomodation, shop, use healthcare services, interact with Police, etc than for Euro/Pākehā in NZ.

    • RedLogix 8.1

      The thing with white privilege is people can be blithely unaware they hold it,

      Honestly you really need to travel more and live and work in places where being 'anglo white' counts for little. Anywhere in Asia, Latin America or Africa will do. (Not as a tourist with money, because that's a shallow transient experience.)

      What you will quickly find is that all dominant cultural groups arrange things locally to privilege themselves, it would be very odd if they didn't.

      • Dennis Frank 8.1.1

        all dominant cultural groups arrange things locally to privilege themselves

        That's indeed a truism often apparent to readers of history. The structural economic consequences were comprehensively documented by Amy Chua in World on Fire, 2003. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_on_Fire_(book)

        She's Professor of Law at Yale. But I do agree that white privilege is mostly tacit. Beliefs and behaviour are governed more by tacit factors in the psyche than those conscious.

      • Tiger Mountain 8.1.2

        Do you approve of such dominant privilege then Redlogix?

        NZ/Aotearoa–is as described for many non Pākehā on a daily basis. Certainly the rest of the world may have its own specific features and hierarchies–but general tendencies apply anyway in the corporate world and countries with neo colonial fall out.

        Fortune 500 surveys and other studies show white men still constitute around 70% of top corporate executives and leaders.

        • RedLogix

          Dominance has two aspects worth untangling; one is purely numeric. If for example you live in Japan, you will absolutely conform to the Japanese way of doing things. Speaking from personal experience the idea of 'white privilege' very quickly evaporates in this context.

          But of course there is the broader historic question of why did a small group of European nations so politically dominate the world in the period from the Rennaisance of the 1600's through to the end of WW2? This is a grand historic question that is impossible to address in one comment, although a reasonable starting point might be to reference Jared Diamond's magnum opus Guns, Germs and Steel which frames an answer in terms of geography and climate. And in this context the drivers of why Europeans were the first to reach the critical mass of science, technology, commerce and political complexity that we now call the Industrial Revolution, has nothing to do with race and everything to do with the Eurasian continent and it's unique character.

          Logically history was always going to throw up one group who was going to get to this kind of technical advantage first, and it was always going to disadvantage everyone else. Evolution's usual answer to this was to eradicate the losers, but remarkably enough this time we have broadly determined to take a more universal path, ethically treating all of humanity as one and extending the advantage to everyone as fast as possible.

          • Tiger Mountain

            Was this ( steaming pile of non sequiturs produced by software perhaps?

            • RedLogix

              Maybe I just have a more optimistic view of human potential than you do.

          • Grumpy

            ….and if Europeans had not filled the power void and if another culture had, what would civilisation look like now?

            • roblogic

              Just look at how non Western cultures treat their immigrants, indigenous minorities, and vassal states. Very similar pattern, if not worse.

      • solkta 8.1.3

        Thanks for giving such a clear example of why the race/culture based identity thing is unavoidably divisive. I wonder if you have told your very brown cousins fuck you to their face. Happy to dominate them you obviously are.

        • RedLogix

          Happy to dominate them you obviously are.

          Maori consist of about 15% of the NZ population. There is your dominance right there whether you or I are happy about it or not. Anywhere you go in the world being a cultural minority sucks.

          • solkta

            OK got ya, might is right but the browns should all just get over it cause we all cuzzies.

      • I Feel Love 8.1.4

        Of course Redlogix, in Asia I suspect there's Asian privilege, but we're in NZ, being non white in NZ is a whole lot different to being white. Not seeing that is White Privilege.

        • RedLogix

          The locally dominant ethnic group always presupposes the inevitability of it's way of doing things. That is after all the privilege that comes with local success and applies any time in history and everywhere in the world. White people have no monopoly on this.

          And for most of human history this privilege meant that any other group on the short end of the deal were either exterminated or assimilated. The good news is that in the modern era we have explicitly rejected both of these options.

          The bad new is that we have yet to get good at deciding what better alternatives should look like. There are two broadly conflicting goals, one is defining and protecting individual agency and social diversity, and the other is promoting global coherence and unity of purpose.

          A good starting point is an ethical foundation that requires us to embrace both ideals at the same time, respecting diversity for the positive and creative elements it brings to the table, while at the same time walking back from division and alienation.

      • woodart 8.1.5

        so, dont you stand up straight, look them in the eyes and say" I am a New Zealander, so treat me properly". it always works for me, doesnt matter the race or colour of who ever it is. is that racism, heightism(6t2) sexism(male)whiteism or some other ism? perhaps its Kiwi-ism, something we all practice…

    • Anne 8.2

      Labour's Henare captured the nub of it for doubters of the existence of white privilege.

      Indeed and so good was his contribution I repeat it here because he demonstrates his superiority in more ways than one:


      • Tiger Mountain 8.2.1

        It is a classic speech, touches all the bases, gives Mr Muller and Mrs Collins a good serve, and impacts for me anyway, due to the measured non showy delivery.

        • roblogic

          it's like Collins has no grasp of our colonial history and no care for the everyday experiences of disadvantage in this country…

          situation normal then

      • patricia 8.2.2

        1000% agree He gave an excellent summation.

      • Shanreagh 8.2.3

        Fantastic, content and oratory. A child of the Kohanga Reo movement putting to rest the concerns in those days that children brought up in a Maori speaking environment would suffer in the so-called 'real' world.

        Hon Peeni Henare has served a shot across the bows of National Party with

        '…we see you…'

        • Anne

          '…we see you…'

          I should like to see it become the corner-stone model of Labour's response to National in the coming campaign – and the Greens.

          In the context of the speech… so simple yet so profound.

    • I Feel Love 8.3

      This. Thanks TM.

  9. Red Blooded One 9

    Jeez, I'd better not criticize the lack of gays in their "Broad Church" since the pompous, self loathing, closet case Tinkerbell left, they'll be clutching their pearls and pulling out the "Don't demonize me 'cause I'm Straight card"

    • I Feel Love 9.1

      and this! Red Blooded One, that's how I sawit too. Basically anything Euro, Christian, straight, married, working, etc is off limits incase we upset some bigots, fuck that.

      • patricia 9.1.1

        Well said Red Blooded and I feel Love.

        Our gay son would say "they have a narrow view through their window on the world, and they are too sure they are correct to try change, and would find modifying their beliefs too threatening to their peace of mind"

        It was evident in Todd's stunned pause. He appears to lack imagination.

        Judith is the opposite. Being white is not the problem, being ignored is.

        • Red Blooded One

          Yep, I just watched a few of his interviews, poor Toddles has a "Suite of Soundbites" and no other arrows in his quiver it seems. Not sure if his Trumpian hand gesticulations will be seen as passionate or doofish either. Poor fellow seems well out of his depth.

        • Grumpy

          …….."they have a narrow view through their window on the world, and they are too sure they are correct to try change, and would find modifying their beliefs too threatening to their peace of mind".

          You could say that about a lot of people regardless of their personal circumstances. Probably goes a long way to explaining what is wrong with the world on all sides.

  10. Tricledrown 10

    Collins looks like one of the prime movers back stabbing the 2 Senior Maori members of the National Party.

    Funny now Muller and National have shot themselves in the foot and Collins is stuck with this disaster flailing around trying to shift the blame Trump like.

    That didn't work for Bridges NZ doesn't like Trump style politics.

  11. this is a dark turn for the Nats, are they so desperate that they are turning to alt-right trumpism?

    probably a calculated political stunt, but i'd forgotten how Collins is radioactively toxic.

  12. tony 12

    For those individuals who suffer from the delusion that they are white please take a clean white A4 sheet of paper put it next to any part of your body you care to and see the result, you are not white, you are pink at best, there is no such thing as a white person, Albinos yes, pink yes, white no ..

  13. weka 13

    White isn't an ethnicity. It's a political class. Ethnicity is about your people and where you come from. My ethnicity is NZ Caucasian celt (mostly Scottish). Bit of a mouthful, but this is because white culture often lacks the concepts to talk about this.

    I generally like Deborah Russell, and I haven't listened to her comment in context, but imo this isn't a suitable response in a parliamentary Committee. It's the kind of thing that gets hashed out on social media where there is the potential (if we're lucky) of exploring the politics around race and ethnicity. Taking woke potshots that can't really be anything other than shaming are unlikely to improve the situation.

    It is actually ok to be white. The problem with Collins is that she's an MP in a structurally racist party, making inflammatory and deliberately politicised comments about race at a time when the country is looking at the racism in the party and trying to make sense of it. Collins' comments are bullshit and she needs to be called out on them. The solution to that isn't to have a go at Collins for being white, it's to talk about the politics and why we have racism. I'm thinking here of the people who are on the edge of being politicised or radicalised into Trumpian politics and white supremacy. White girl woking the situation won't give them a different path or build bridges, it just plays the other side of the coin to what Collins is doing and helps cement in the divides that some on the right want.

    • Nordy 13.1

      No one is having a go at JC for being white. She is being called out for being racist. DR was quite right to do so. JC interrupted TC who was engaging with a submitter.

      If you haven't done so watch Heeni Penare's budget speech. It was thoughtful, principled and a great response to the racism we see coming from the 'new' National Party leadership.

      • I Feel Love 13.1.1

        Great speech, and I too thought that was a dumb comment from DR, she should even apologise.

        Whenever I have to write my ethnicity I write Pakeha, which is even conscientious in this country.

        What I find fascinating, is my Irish and Croat (then Jugoslav) were considered non-white when the English held dominance here, it's always amazed me that shift.

        • Sacha

          Yes, it shows that 'white' is not really a category based on skin colour.

      • weka 13.1.2

        "No one is having a go at JC for being white. She is being called out for being racist."

        Yes, and that's what should happen, but framing matters. Having a go at Collins for being a white girl does a few things. It plays into the Trumpian rhetoric that she wants to promote. It creates a political division of the woke vs non-woke. It frames white girls as being somehow wrong (think about that from a feminist perspective and girls or young women listening or seeing the sound bite and trying to make sense of it). It risks party politicising race because it's personalised across the table. It cements Collins' chosen positioning that is probably a dog whistle to the Trumpian right, and definitely one to the white supremacists.

        There are other, much more useful ways to call Collins out in that moment. Peeni Henare's response was much more on point.

        • Nic the NZer

          While Henare's response in many ways considers the situation from a true perspective, it projects onto Collins many opinions and assertions which she has not expressed.

          • weka

            I've only read what was in the media? Did you watch the speech? What are some examples of what he projected?

            • Nic the NZer

              What Judith has said in no way implies she considers herself worse or even badly off compared to people who deal with systematic discrimination. Thats the main projection underlying Henare's speach. In fact what she has said as a politician here is not even remotely problematic. She is of course entitled to represent people on issues which do not effect her, just as this applies to Andrew Little representing prisoners interests.

              • weka

                I can't make a judgement about that because I don't know what questions Coffey was asking.

                "She is of course entitled to represent people on issues which do not effect her, just as this applies to Andrew Little representing prisoners interests."

                You've lost me there. Who is she representing?

    • Grumpy 13.2

      This "structurally racist party" recently had a leader and deputy who were Maori. Now 3 of the top 4 are women. It must be hard to satisfy the diversity police.

    • Grafton Gully 13.3

      The absence of blue eyes could be a worry though – let alone the white skin. In a 2007 British study, researchers found that blue-eyed people were better at strategic thinking and generally performed better in tasks that required long-term thought.


  14. roy cartland 14

    I tend to agree with those who say JC is many things, but she ain't silly. She's calculating. She knows there's at least a chance she can do a Brash/Orewa and bump up the redneck support. Actually I think Muller was subtly trying the same thing with the MAGA hat.

    Never attribute stupidity to that which can adequately be explained by malice, as far as the NATs are concerned.

    • tc 14.1


      They'e also got their trusty DP machine with more skilled operators like Matty it seems this time.

    • Rae 14.2

      Calculating? Well, she must think 2 and 2 make 5, because if she was good enough at it, she would have been leader long ago, at least about 3 years ago, but she has shat in her own nest too many times.

  15. McFlock 15

    Best comment I saw about Collins playing to the bigots is this tweet:

    The only reason Judith Collins is demonised for her ethnicity is because her ethnicity is literally 'Demon', or as they prefer to be called PoH or 'People of Hades'

  16. infused 16

    Nothing racist about it. Stupid questions from Tova.

    What is all this bullshit about a front white bench, no maori etc? media are bored.

    • Sacha 16.1

      nothing to see here..

    • Red Blooded One 16.2

      While you might be right that the distinct lack of diversity in their front row is possibly just a gotcha media beat up, I believe the majority of the country voted in MMP because they wanted to see faces, like theirs, in our Parliament, Red and Yellow, Black and White, they are precious in his sight etc (from my Methodist Hymn book) National, if they want to represent the majority need to get over their patronizing patriarchal attitude and celebrate the Straights and Gays, the different ethnicities (not just the ones that can funnel millions their way for services rendered) the Women and Men. Bury your head in the sand if you wish, but without specific parties to represent the people (ie, the Maori Party, Christian Heritage, Hunting and Fishing Party etc) you need to see them represented in the main parties.

    • roblogic 16.3

      Tova is super annoying but she's also excellent at asking the difficult questions and seeing what happens when you poke a politician in a certain spot. She gets interesting results from these curly questions.

  17. McFlock 17

    I'd also say that the problem with Collins being "white" is that she gives the rest of us a bad name. I suspect that if she thought there was a voting base in it she'd happily be distributing covid-laced blankets right now.

  18. Brutus Iscariot 18

    When Bridges and Bennett were in charge, you claimed they weren't real Maori anyway because they were in National.

    So it's of limited relevance who or what composes the front bench in isolation. Pretty hard to construct a perfectly representative ethnic sample in a selection of 12 people, especially when you have to splice in other attributes like gender. It's like asking the starting All Blacks team to be perfectly proportional to NZ's population.

    • left_forward 18.1

      Not the best example – the ABs are not members of a 'house of representatives'.
      I don’t think anyone is looking for perfection here – its just so obvious that they don’t even tilt towards being representational.

      You are right however, it isn’t only having Maori decent that is important – lived experience and diversity of understanding are also relevant.

    • Red Blooded One 18.2

      Wow, way to raise a false equivalence Eh Brutus. Why would anyone suggest a "perfectly proportional group of NZ's population" should be in a game simply designed for hauling your balls across a line at the end of a paddock. Me sitting on the pitch doing my Needlework ain't going to get your ball over the line. Running a country is a little different.

  19. Chris T 19

    For something that is a complete non-story, this is really getting a dead horse flogging.

    • left_forward 19.1

      Way to go Crusty, lets try to pretend its not happening!

      • Chris T 19.1.1

        For the last three yearsish their top 2 MPs were Maori.

        They spent 9 years in government inviting the Maori Party to be in a confidence and supply agreement when they didn't need them at the elections.

        They created Whanau Ora

        3 of the top five on their list are women.

        I think it is, while humorous for a couple of days and relieves boredom in an otherwise pretty boring news week, a stretch to accuse them of some sort of diversity bias.

        But all good.

        Just thought I would point it out. Feel free to argue against my points, or just ignore them.

        • left_forward

          A bit of creative license there, but I'm posting no argument about National's glorious past – the record speaks for itself.

        • Psycho Milt

          For the last three yearsish their top 2 MPs were Maori.

          They spent 9 years in government inviting the Maori Party to be in a confidence and supply agreement when they didn't need them at the elections.

          They created Whanau Ora

          The thing is, that's exactly why the media immediately noticed and leapt on the new leaders having put together an all-white front bench. And the interest was only exacerbated by the leaders looking like possums in the headlights when it was raised, because it was immediately obvious they hadn't even thought about it. It's not about racism, it's about them being oblivious to the message they were sending.

          • Chris T


            Kind of also shows how crap the new Muller bloke is for not just laughing and flipping it off as a non-story, and instead got desperate and started trying to justify it.

            He was kind of his own worse enemy.

            Seems like a good bloke, but not the quickest learner.

            • woodart

              "not the quickest learner" he's been in politics all of his adult life, at his age, if he hasnt learnt these basic things, he never will.

          • Adrian

            Can either of those previous top two even speak Te Reo ?. And the 3 women of the top 5 are only there because none of them amount to 33% of a Jacinda.

            It was a stage managed grand fuck up.

            BTW, you always find out how useless someone is when put under the ( media ) spotlight, way to go Nicky.

            • Chris T

              So not Maori enough and token Women?

              Thanks for that

            • Psycho Milt

              Can either of those previous top two even speak Te Reo ?

              How would that be relevant? Are you offering a really unpleasant "no true Scotsman" fallacy here?

  20. McFlock 20

    OH! She's hawking a book at the moment. That explains the tilt to the ~adjacents.

  21. Who cares if Judith is white, orange, or octarine. What matters is how well she serves the NZ public, and frankly she has done a shit job

  22. Maurice 22

    Are we seeing the birthing of a Hard Right in NZ?

    • patricia 22.1

      It was always here… just not so visible 'till the shootings and the import of Australian gangs.

    • Chris T 22.2


      • Rae 22.2.1

        Woke at some ungodly hour this morning, switched on the radio, Newstalk ZB, discussion was about the two lost trampers. One caller (older male, how surprising) seriously suggesting the use of a bullwhip on them.

        They are there, always have been, almost always they are male and older, laughed at, but recently the hard right has been getting younger, but still mostly male

  23. adam 23

    The tories being their usual shitfuckery tory selves, and it's news.

    Who gives a rats ass.

  24. Ken 24

    They're at rock bottom.

    They've got nothing to lose.

    They're going to lie and throw tantrums and say outrageous things, because any attention from the media beats being ignored.

  25. Tricledrown 25

    No coalition partners no Maori Party No NZfirst.

    Collins coup and quip a disaster the Cameron Slater Dirty politics have self imploded.

  26. Morrissey 26

    The problem is not that she's white. The problem is that she's shite.


  27. Rae 27

    First, I would like to assure Ms Collins that she is not demonised for being white, she is demonised because, well, she is a demon.

    Second, it is okay if you are white, however, the assertion of that, in the manner that it has been, as a counter to movements such as "Black Lives Matter" is, I am absolutely sure, a means of dismissal of them, that somehow or other, addressing the reality that we saw only too clearly this week, detracts from those not affected directly by it. It does not, in fact, it does the very opposite.

    Thirdly, there is NO white culture. This is really disturbing shit, claiming that there is. There is all the various cultures that might have contributed to who you are today, Irish, Scottish, German, French, English, Norwegian, Russian etc, assuming you have arrived in the world with a purely European background. Each of us probably has a number we could draw on, they have all contributed to the mish mash that makes us New Zealanders.

    "White culture" is purely supremacist shit.

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