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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Maoris taking the wrong approach to self-empowerment

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Over the last few months the town of Wanganui has been wrangling with the issue of whether the council should change the name of the town to 'Whanganui', in accordance with the traditional Maori spelling. If changing the name was such an easy thing to do, we would of course conclude 'Why not'? The reality however is that a name change causes a great deal of inconvenience and cost to people because it requires:
1. Changing business names, changing address details, changing signs
2. Changing brochures, letterheads

My estimate is that it would cost $50 million to change these issues immediately, but far less if the change was graduated over 10-20 years since signs get revised, advertising gets re-written over time. After 10 years the cost might be as little as $2 million in terms of direct costs. But there is another problem.....confusion. People in NZ will of course be able to follow the issue, but for foreigners its a change that can only cause confusion. Maoris seem to have no regard for the impact of these superficial changes.

Is this the foundation of Maori pride? To have their rights neglected while they secure superficial name changes. The historical legacy of British occupation of the NZ islands was one of disrespect and ill-regard for Maoris. They have the basis upon which to demand significant concessions from their European custodians. But the best they can do is superficial name changes? Is this a strategy to weaken the enemy?

My belief is that if the Maoris continue to press cases for silly concessions like name changes, then they will surely only alienate empathy from Europeans who think they were ill-treated by the British. What is more concerning is that the Maori pursuit for recognition of rights could actually be a basis for wider recognition of rights for all NZ'ers. The problem as I see it is that people think the Bill of Rights actually gave them rights. This is more evidence of superficial thinking - this time by the Europeans. A Bill of Rights does not protect rights - it sabotages the possibility of having them. Have you read the book '1984'. Do you recall the concept of 'DoubleSpeak'. You have rights in name only. A right does not comprise a claim upon others rights. A right is not arbitrarily defined. A right is not a parliamentary sanction. A right is not a concession by a pack of politicians. When it is - you should be very very suspicious.

The way forward for Maoris is not arbitrary name changes - it is High Court challenges in the hope that they will eventually secure concessions as a result of judicial activism. Of course they will need an ethical argument to have success by this path. Personally I see little sign of long range thinking or the intellect to achieve such an outcome for all 'freedom-loving' people. For this reason I would suggest we will remain in a servile relationship with the state. Dutifully paying taxes with no choice, and no possibilities of standards of accountability, or any effective reproach. They have shored up the system so they have a two-party duopoly. Where is the justice?

'Buying NZ Property – Download the free sample readings!

NZ presents some of the most alluring property in the Western World; particularly given the greater easy of residency, the low cost of property, and the liveability of the country. In addition, there is no capital gains tax, transfer taxes, VAT/GST or wealth taxes in NZ, so rest assured that NZ property is tax-effective! Learn more now!

New Zealand Property Report 2010 - Download the table of contents or buy this 180-page report at our online store for just $US19.95.


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