In an attempt to cover for John Key’s ignorance of New Zealand history, National’s Gerry Brownlee has pulled out a quote from Michael Cullen that he asserts says the same thing as the Key quote. You compare:
Key: “We’re not a country that’s come about as a result of civil war or where there’s been a lot of fighting internally, we’re, we’re a country which peacefully came together’.”
Cullen: “[New Zealand is] a country of enormous beauty, a country which by any reasonable standards is prosperous, a country with a continuous political tradition unbroken by civil war or revolution for over 150 years, something a bare handful of countries can celebrate”
Key says there hasn’t been a lot of internal fighting in New Zealand. That’s patently untrue. The Land Wars lasted decades as the Crown sought to establish sovereignty over the land of iwi who claimed that sovereignty for themselves. Thousands died in fighting and tens of thousands of Maori lost possession of their land to Pakeha settlers as a result. Sounds like a lot of internal fighting to me, and that doesn’t include the other skirmishes and class warfare.
Cullen says New Zealand’s political tradition has never been broken by civil war or revolution. That’s true. Parliamentary democracy has remained intact since 1853, despite the Land Wars and other upheaval. Moreover, a civil war or a revolution is when segments of an existing polity fight each other for control of the polity. The Land Wars were a contest for sovereignty between a colonising empire and the native people. It would be strange to consider the Land Wars a civil war or a revolution.
Same thing? I don’t think so.
PS. Notice the other contrast in the quotes? Key is constantly talking down New Zealand as part of National’s ‘New Zealand sucks’ campaign. Cullen is postively bursting with pride for his country.