Why are some so afraid?
One of the sorriest aspects if the government is to change this election will be the role that race, and the willingness of politicians to play to ignorance and bigotry, has had.
Much of it has been more subtle than a Don Brash style “rivers of blood” Orewa sermon. But the people letting that genie out of the bottle over things such as co-governance knew exactly what they were doing, and who they were talking to.
And they were successful. Through their rhetoric they managed to get a large number of people to equate things like Three Waters, not with the sound management of water resources, but as a threat to the pākehā way of life. Of course they’d never describe themselves as pākehā. They’re Kiwis! Oi Oi Oi!
Now emerging from a forgotten part of the world, Northland, there is a creature. One not unfamiliar with playing to racists. One who can see that the finish line, the five percent threshold, is coming in to reach. My precious the creature says, and raises itself up once more. This time with a message denigrating Māori, rather than the more traditional Asian peril that it has crooned in the past.
He stood before them to calm their fears. Māori, he said, are not from here either. So don’t you pākehā worry about the transference of any of your privilege, Uncle Winnie is back and it’s all going to be ok. Let’s pretend it’s the good old days again.
So Winston Peters decided he wanted some of those vote, and to be fair angry old white people with no appetite change has long been his constituency. For decades he has been our Pauline Hanson. He just gets away with it because he’s non-pākehā and delivers his racism with a smile and a twinkle in the eye, not a shriek and a snarl.
Poor Pauline, she don’t like it…
So Winston stood before his crowd in Nelson on Sunday and declared:
“Here’s the rub if you are Māori. We’re not indigenous.”
“We come from Hawai-iki. Where’s our Hawai-iki? We think it’s in the Cook Islands. We think it’s in Rarotonga ... but we’re not from here. And you go back 5000 years, we came with our DNA from China. Not like 55,000 years in Australia.”
Hands up those who think Winston Peters chose to give such a speech due to a new found interest in evolutionary biology or genetics. Yeah Nah. The wily old fox knew exactly what he was doing, and it certainly had nothing to do with anthropology.
One person in the crowd asked if water filters at home could be a response to Three Waters. Yep that’s where we’re at. Some people are so lost that they’re thinking of independently filtering water, rather than taking that racist Three Waters, water to drink. Where is this insanity coming from?
Peters replied to the question by saying that the purpose of Three Waters was “to transfer the water ownership from the heavens to one race in this country – Māori.”
Just a complete and utter lie.
You know, I can kind of understand the whole democracy argument, about everyone on a representative board being elected on the same basis. Although that does require you to ignore the under representation of Māori in these roles, oh - and the Treaty of Waitangi. I don’t agree with it, but I can kind of understand why people feel that way.
But saying Three Waters was intended to transfer the ownership of water to one race is just a horrible, ugly, outright lie. I’m so glad Chris Hipkins ruled Winston out, his willingness to lie in this way should rule him out with anyone.
Christopher Luxon said he didn’t agree with Winston, but he wouldn’t rule out forming a coalition with him. The National leader knows there is an audience for what Peters is saying:
Is Winston correct that Māori originally migrated from somewhere else? Sure. But that isn’t what anyone means when we talk about an indigenous population or indigenous rights.
Look if we want to get silly about it, and only call a species that developed in that location indigenous, then on that basis we’re all African. As we know the cradle of human civilisation was the African continent where our species developed before migrating around the globe.
Let’s instead look at the definition of indigenous rights from Wikipedia:
Indigenous rights belong to those who, being indigenous peoples, are defined by being the original people of a land that has been conquered and colonized by outsiders.
Given that definition it’s pretty obvious that Māori are indigenous to Aotearoa.
On this day in history, the 13th of September 2007, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was passed by the United Nations with 143 countries voting in favour, and just four countries voting against.