- Date published:
12:03 pm, June 13th, 2020 - 28 comments
Categories: Maori Issues, maori party, national, racism, racism, same old national, uncategorized - Tags: chris penk, COVID 19, covid-19, Covid19, simeon brown
It is interesting watching National disintegrate.
It used to be the party of discipline. From the time that John Key took over in 2006 National has been this borg like structure. It was totally united, always on message, and when Key drifted into left wing and centrist positions such as acknowledging that Aotearoa had an underclass and that National’s future would depend on the Maori Party it was formidable.
Fast forward to 2020. The Maori Party now want to tear down a number of statutes and claims that the National Party is racist. It is clear that the Maori Party will not be providing solace to National after the election if by some chance it gets over the line.
National’s historical reach to the middle has disappeared. Now its reach appears to be to the extreme right.
As evidence can I present what happened yesterday. Back bencher whose rank is 41 Chris Penk managed to have a book published about Covid 19 that effectively defined National’s position on the issue. And he undermined National’s carefully constructed position that Jacinda has actually done a pretty good job.
Then hold my beer Simeon Brown, the junior member for Pakuranga, managed to dominate political discourse by saying stupid things about Hamilton City’s decision to take down a statute that was a major annoyance to local Tainui.
The statute is of John Hamilton and its presence has been of concern to Tainui since it was erected. Charles Anderson in the Guardian has some of the detail:
Council chief executive Richard Briggs said in a statement that the decision to remove it from Civic Square was made after it received a request from local iwi (tribe), Waikato-Tainui. Briggs said it had become clear the statue was also likely to be vandalised.
“We know this statue is contentious for a number of our community members. It is the right thing for the council to take the opportunity to look at the long-term plan for this artwork and determine where and how it might fit in to the city’s future.”
He said there were public safety concerns as the statue is embedded into Civic Square and sits on top of an underground carpark.
“If the statue were to be forcefully removed from its current position, as has been indicated, it could severely undermine the integrity of the building below it.”
Local kaumatua (elder) Taitimu Maipi told news website Stuff he intended to remove the statue during a protest march on Saturday.
He said Hamilton was a “murderous arsehole” who was displayed in the city as though he was a hero. Hamilton was a captain during the battle of Gate Pā during the 19th century New Zealand wars, a series of bloody battles between Māori and the British government about disputed land purchases and colonial occupation. However, it is likely Hamilton never set foot in the city.
Hamilton is a strange person to celebrate. The battle of Gate Pa has been described as a major disaster for the British Army. And the Tainui settlement was so large because it was universally accepted that Tainui never rebelled but were attacked by British troops in direct violation of Article II of the Treaty of Waitangi. To celebrate Hamilton and name a major city after him is offensive as well as absurd.
So taking down his statute at this time of heightened sensitivity and in the face of long standing objections voiced by Tainui is the right thing to do.
Which is why Simeon Brown’s leap into the issue is so bizarre. He does not even represent the area. I wonder how the Hamilton MPs felt about his intruding into their issue?
Here he is in full flight.
Tearing down statues is not the Kiwi way. pic.twitter.com/pn543q4tHT
— Simeon Brown (@SimeonBrownMP) June 12, 2020
Sure he has a point. We should not tear down all statutes. But those of people engaged in atrocities against local Iwi, why not?
I believe that Brown and National are on the wrong side of this issue. Aotearoa New Zealand has come a long way since the days of Don Brash and the Orewa speech. We are now much less tolerant of intolerance.
And while I am on the subject can I urge a review of current city names?
For a few years now I have seethed about the names of some of our major urban areas. I mean Auckland? It sounds like someone suppressed a cough half way through. The alternative name, Tamaki Makaurau, which translates to Tamaki desired by many is so poignant. Auckland in comparison loosely translates to living near a grove of Oaks. How utterly irrelevant.
And Hamilton could use a rename as well. How about Waikato City?
It would be good for us to have a debate about issues such as how we acknowledge our history and what names we should use for our largest urban areas. But it looks like National has no desire to peacefully have such a discussion.