“Haha the poor presenter. He didn’t stand a chance, David was outstanding!” and “Go David I’ve been a National voter all my life but you have my party vote. For sure.” Such are the comments on tv show Newshub Nation’s Facebook page, under their interview with David Seymour. In the words of their own viewers, David “owned” the interviewer. It shows a) what sane people are up against in New Zealand and b) that ACT has the goods to cut through and win big. The interview is fantastic viewing for ACT supporters, here.


It’s easy to despair. The Government of New Zealand is openly practicing racial discrimination. They are trashing democratic norms, of universal human dignity that have taken centuries to build up. The more you think about it the more astonishing it is. Not only that it’s happening, but how weak the institutions that should protect basic rights are.

The Courts, the media, the academics (you know, critics and conscience of society) are not only not protecting liberalism, they are helping hasten the decline. Stories of the Minister of Broadcasting meeting with media bosses to discuss reporting on Treaty issues seem too fantastic to believe. Then again, after the Public Interest Journalism fund, it’s hard to know what to believe.

Labour says it is following the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Perhaps nobody should pay attention to an organisation like the U.N. When the kleptocratic rulers of Zimbabwe get to vote alongside longstanding liberal democracies like New Zealand, who would take them seriously? But, if you were going to worry about the U.N., there are some better declarations from times past.

There’s the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in the spirit of brotherhood…”

Then there’s the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination “all human beings are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law against any discrimination and against any incitement to discrimination.” The Convention allows affirmative action but “These measures shall in no case entail as a consequence the maintenance of unequal or separate rights for different racial groups after the objectives for which they were taken have been achieved.” The New Zealand Government has ratified these agreements.

On nearly every front, the Government is creating separate and unequal rights in the name of the Treaty. After centuries of treaties bringing people together, the New Zealand Government is using a Treaty to drive people apart. Insane, but also our reality here in New Zealand.

The latest example of expectant mothers being given a Prezzy Card in return for attending check ups - but only if they’re Māori - is just the predictable outcome of Government Ministers telling officials that race matters most.

You cannot blame the bureaucrats. When Government policy is to divide the entire health system by race, what are they supposed to do? Even though the Māori Health Authority is missing its targets, hires people based on race, and missing half its Board, that’s the policy.

The real question is what should happen instead. ACT, always the Party with a solution, has laid this out in its paper Democracy or Co-government?

We all want to cherish the Māori language and culture. We just want to celebrate a lot of others as well, and be able to navigate the Government services we pay for, if that’s not too much. We all want to right past wrongs. We all want an equal chance for each child born in this country.

We’re told that to get those three things we must believe in the ‘Partnership’ interpretation of the Treaty. Tangata whenua (land people) host tangata tiriti (treaty people) in a ‘tiriti centric Aotearoa.’

So goes the new resource management law, three waters, local government, the curriculum refresh, and the Department of Conservation’s governance. The belief that every Government activity should be a microcosm of the ‘partnership’ between races is pervasive. Individuals qualify for special roles based on ancestry. Madness, but madness is everywhere.

Instead the next parliament should finally legislate what the principles of the treaty ARE. The crown has the right to Govern. The people have the right to self determine, including over their property. All people have nga tikanga katoa rite tahi - the same rights and duties.

Then it should remove race based law. Three waters, resource management, local Government. The law should never say some humans are more equal than others, as the Convention demands.

Then the next Government, supported by that parliament, should demand that the public service is colourblind, but highly focused on eliminating inequity. It should not lazily assume all Māori mothers need to be bribed to look after their pepe, nor should it assume all non-Māori are less in need. Some are, some aren’t. We oppose racial discrimination because it’s a lazy and divisive way of treating people.

One day we’ll look at the current madness the way we look at many historical oddities today. In ten years time it should be normal to say “yes, there was a time when many people seriously believed the Treaty required different sets of rights, even though New Zealand’s Government had explicitly promised the whole world not to do things like that.”

“In hindsight, it was a mad time. People who questioned it got shouted down and, weirdly, THEY were called racist. Thankfully now New Zealand has never been more confident, and never more committed to the equalitarian ideals at its heart. We are a modern, multi-ethnic, liberal democratic state with the same rights and duties for all.”

It is within our grasp. Party Vote ACT.

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