Regardless of any misgivings over last week’s announcement of the planned One Council to Rule Them All in Auckland, there was one move that could genuinely be described as bold. That was the abolition of special race-based Maori representation.
It didn’t take long for the predictable outrage from the usual suspects. Leading the charge was Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples, calling the move “institutionalised racism.” Yes, Virginia, doing away with separatist, race-based seats is racist.
But hang on. The English translation of the former South African system of “apartheid” is “separate development.” So by definition, Sharples is saying that South Africa’s abolition of separate, race-based policies was “institutionalised racism”? Lord knows what Nelson Mandela would make of that. George Orwell, on the other hand, would recognise Newspeak in a trice.
Hot on Pita’s heels was an urbane young Maori man railing in the same vein. I missed his name, but he screamed local government/academia/public servant – and I have no doubt that he was well versed in the ‘principles o Te Tiriti’ – who said that “this has put Maori back some 50 or 60 years.” And Maori Party MP Hone Harawira has since added his 2c worth, stating his opposition to the plan, like the collectivist he is.
Because collectivism is the essence of their argument; that insidious practice of categorising people for political convenience, as if all think and behave as one. By inference, these men shamefully believe that DNA determines individual success. By inference, they have the temerity to suggest that it is impossible for individuals of Maori descent to gain representation on their own merit.
On the contrary, gentlemen. In fact, it is that sort of toxic rhetoric that is guaranteed to keep people subjugated by the deliberate stifling of individual thought and action, as the last 30 odd years of failed social(ist) policies have demonstrated beyond argument.
Paul Holmes has several times stated that the (red) left hasn’t yet grasped the sense of change in the public wind since losing power last year. Justin du Fresne has made similar comments in Wellington. I’m not getting too excited; eg, the justice system is still looking very sick to me; but putting aside the obvious libertarian ambivalence towards the blue collectivists, they might have a point. The abolition of race-based government representation, albeit at local level, is exactly the sort of issue that would never have even been broached prior to last November.
Now it has. And it’s rocking the once rock-solid left. When the winds of change blow, they can do so rapidly and from seemingly nowhere, a la the fall of the Berlin Wall and Eastern European communism. Whether this small step is an indication of what is to come, only time will tell.
In the meantime the brown collectivists are angry, sensing perhaps that the racist gravy train might be starting to lose a bit of steam. And losing steam means losing power. Winston Peters -- another avowed racist -- knows all about that …
For too long this issue has been in the “too hard” basket. If anybody dared raise it, (remember Orewa?) they were shot down by a coalition of apologists for daring to challenge the Sanctified. Well, not this little black duck. I certainly won’t mourn its passing and I believe that many New Zealanders think similarly. Racism is poisonous. It is collectivism at its worst and as such, the end of race-based representation at any level is a good thing.
In this respect, colour-blindness is a virtue.
* * Susan Ryder writes every Tuesday for NOT PC * *