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National has a discipline problem

Written By: - Date published: 12:03 pm, June 13th, 2020 - 28 comments
Categories: Maori Issues, maori party, national, racism, racism, same old national, uncategorized - Tags: , , , ,

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.

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.

28 comments on “National has a discipline problem ”

  1. Matiri 1

    Statue not statute!

  2. Grafton Gully 2

    Akarana and Hamutana. The coming together of different traditions in Aotearoa and the eternal conflict.

  3. Roy cartland 3

    Wellington isn't much better, either: I never liked it. I guess it's a tribute to the sole of, whoever that was. But what is the literal meaning? Spring-field? Swamp-place? Water-ground? Surely we can do better (I'd even go with fish-head!)

  4. the Gnats cunning plan is working perfectly..

  5. Aaron 5

    They had a go at renaming Hamilton 20 years ago and Waikato City was the council's preferred option. The idea was met with derision, mostly because it was motivated by discomfort at Hamilton's lack of cool – but also because the initials W.C. also mean toilet.

    Someone suggested City of Waikato – or CoW – would be more appropriate, while a local radio station suggested renaming the city "Hamiltron – City of the Future". It was so absurd that it stuck with people referring to Hamilton as the Tron.

    HCC is currently looking at Kirikiriroa which would probably be a better option under the circumstances.

    • riffer 5.1

      Weird. I never heard anyone saying that about Wellington City. You could always call it just Waikato. Easier said for some people that Kirikiriroa, as nice as that name is. If we can reclaim a mountain's name we can reclaim a city's name. If enough people did that an official renaming would follow. I see it as an inevitable thing.

      • Rae 5.1.1

        If you wish to reclaim the name, then Kirikiriroa is it. I even have the catch cry for it, "You're going to hear us Roa"

    • Rae 5.2

      Well given that was the name before it was changed to Hamilton, it seems fitting to return to the original. I would miss being able to refer to it as "The Tron" however

      • Sacha 5.2.1

        Nothing to stop that nickname continuing long after its daft Anglo source is lopped.

        • In Vino 5.2.1.1

          Personally, I thought that army Hamilton guy was a bit of a nonentity. I always liked to think that our fair city was named after the illustrious Lady Hamilton (Lord Horatio Nelson's infamous but glamorous mistress).

          Now, if we had had a statue of Lady Hamilton at her glamorous best, maybe we would have had nobody wanting to rip it out of the ground….

          • Sacha 5.2.1.1.1

            Better still, make out that the city is named after the popular musical..

  6. observer 6

    I would certainly have concerns about the Government introducing the "Local Statues (Compulsory Removal without Consent) Bill" to Parliament. Especially the bit about over-ruling any local council decisions. If they ever proposed such a law, opposition MPs would have a duty to hold the government to account. Not sure there would be the numbers even to send the Bill to select committee.

    But since that hasn't happened and won't ever happen, it is unclear what on earth Simeon Brown thinks he is going on about.

  7. Andre 7

    Scott Yorke's take on Penk's book is deadly accurate and remarkably non-sarcastic.

    https://imperatorfish.com/2020/06/13/yes-chris-id-love-to-read-it/

  8. Gareth Wilson 8

    “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.”

    "I wouldn't take it down if I were you, it's a load-bearing poster."

  9. Anker 9

    Wtf. How many pages criticising our covid response?
    nz has nailed it. I know we have to remain vigilant about the boarders, but wandering around shops in the city, talking to retailers, they are doing a roaring fade, because people like me aren’t wary of going out. And I know that this might be a post lockdown spending bump and I know there is a heart breaking total of job loses,. But defeating covid the way we have gives us the best chance of recovery.

    my Aussie friend’s are somewhat tentative about activities outside the home and one of them still isn’t working cause bars are closed…..kiwis will know from the match last night with a live crowd, first in the world, that our strategy has been a roaring success.

    mr pinkish on a hiding to nothing

  10. Shanreagh 10

    Is the person rudely pointing standing next to Penk, who I assume if the one with the mic, one of the Nats as well?

    His smirk is annoying me like crazy…I know get out more.

    • Incognito 10.1

      Penk is the pointy one, Simeon Brown is the one holding the mike wondering what he’s doing.

      • mac1 10.1.1

        I suspect this is an auction, with auctioneer and spotter, flogging off the family silver………

  11. Levin has to be the most irrelevant name for any settlement in NZ. Relax, I live there.

  12. Peter 12

    With apologies to the Scaffold. ironic name I suppose:

    We'll drink a drink a drink

    To Chris the Penk the Penk the Penk

    The saviour of the National Party

    For he came up with all of the answers

    Most efficacious in every case

    Mr Muller, a very strange fulla

    So boring and so gray

    So he brought in Matthew Hooton

    His supporters will have to pray

    Deputy Kaye, was often astray

    She would simply get things wrong ong ong

    But now that she’s got

    A silly Penk answer

    She’ll be really on her way

    We'll drink a drink a drink

    To Silly the Penk the Penk the Penk

    The saviour of Aotearoa

    For in the lockdown he found the answers

    To help them stay where they’re so low

    Judith the crusher is certainly husher

    Now she missed out once again

    It’s never curtains, you can bet for certain

    When Todd is wasted she’ll try to reign

    Gerry Brownlee would never be tardy

    He’d even jump an airport gate

    Pockets of lollies to get his jollies

    Now he’s never ever late

    We'll drink a drink a drink

    To Silly the Penk the Penk the Penk

    The saviour of Aotearoa

    For in the lockdown he found the answers

    To help them stay where they’re so low

    Amy Adams, totally random

    Changed her mind in just a tick

    She wanted some action

    And so in a fraction

    She’s back aboard the Titanic

    Paula and Simon once were their diamonds

    Heading to be at the top

    But they are a just like Penks wisdom and foresight

    Now they’re both just their party’s dross

    Up into heaven their souls ascended

    All the church bells they did ring

    Penk’s gormless effort born of the lockdown

    Hark the herald angels sing

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