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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

John Key The Moderate - what does it mean?

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John Key clearly considers himself a moderate. What does that mean?

Prime Minister John Key addressed the issue of the Waitangi Treaty at his annual Waitangi Day address, as is customary. Just as customary is to say nothing substantive, and to engage in rhetoric which contributes nothing to the issue. Now, the prospects of a settlement of Waitangi issues, some settlement of grievances, is considered extreme by Key. He sees himself in the ‘moderate’ of course, and anyone seeking resolution as ‘extreme’. After all, John Key is hardly moving the debate towards anything. I’m an Aussie…I have nothing to gain from this issue. Do I want to see Maori recognised as ‘first occupants’ and worthy of sovereignty? No, that ship has sailed. Perhaps its easier for Key to dismiss the issue if he can erect a ‘straw argument’ like that and dismiss all people who feel a sense of dismay at where the Waitangi settlement is ‘not’ going.
Key speaks of ‘public goodwill’ as if that is a meaningful conception in the context. Either a resolution achieves one of two things:
1. It achieves the interpreted objectives of the Waitangi Treaty
2. It achieves something better
I would argue that the framework and values of the Waitangi Treaty are illegitimate and irrelevant; not because the treaty was not signed by most of the tribes, nor by the British Crown, but because its values are not fixing with justice. This is an opportunity to achieve something more than the treaty sought. At the time of the Treaty, the British people were subjugated to the collective notion of ‘empire’, and that concept ought to be equally as abhorrent to Pakehe as Maori.
Key is making the same old tired claims of old, hoping that the issue will die. It will die by this method; but is that a desirable outcome. Key would sooner quash the aspirations of people, rather than contend with them.
‘People are not reasonable’ he might argue; or that ‘you will never please everyone’. 
But I see no great effort by any government since the Treaty was raised to address the issues. Instead, governments are only too pleased to outsource the task to the courts.
He talks of participation but offers no avenue for achieving it. No government does. It is a common attribute of all representative democracies to malign minorities. For his government that is an easier task than most considering:
1. He confronts a useless opposition
2. He need only offer token concessions to vote as a ‘extortion bloc’
3. He faces no Senate
4. The two major parties developed a Bill of Rights to create the illusion of protection; despite it making little meaningful difference to the nation’s people. Ask yourself – did it make a difference to your life? Did it address issues raised by the Treaty of Waitangi? No, it was not designed to solve problems. It was framed to avoid them. This was actually the original motive of the Treaty of Waitangi in the first place. The British government wanted to avoid conflict. It used the idea of a treaty to invoke a sense of purpose and goodwill with Maori. The Maori simply assumed it existed by matter of intent. They did not know that an unsigned document is useless. Of course, given that the British drafted it, it carries some significance….at least it terms of terms of reference.
John Key asserted that “the Treaty settlements process had given iwi the resources needed to run their own affairs, create jobs and care for their people”.
Really; was the treaty just about money and subsidised jobs? Well, it might well be about that for people who see no other motivation in life but to provide for family and do something constructive. But why can’t it be about more than that? Why can’t it be about things not even raised by the original agreement? For instance:
1. Why can’t it be about the inappropriateness of tribal leaders committing their people to a contract, regardless of whether it was in their interests or not
2. Why can’t it be about the illegitimacy of a contract with a party who does not have the legal efficacy to appreciate the merits of the contract
3. Why can’t it be a question of whether the state has the capacity to impose its will on anyone

All these value judgements are assumed. None of these moral imperatives have been proven. They are accepted because they serve the status quo, and keep people working towards goals subscribed by others. So what does that mean:
1. Working for the government – retaining only a minority stake in one’s efforts
2. Losing choices – because any other ‘non-conformist’ route is punished by lack of tax concessions, damaging your credit ranking, diminishing your right to travel to foreign countries, being denied access to certain services.
John Keys says “settlements largely relied on public good will and acknowledgement that the grievances were genuine”.
Unfortunately they are not so important to be a matter of priority after 140 years.
He argues that the “actions of "permanently aggrieved" protestors, including those at Waitangi, would endanger the public consensus there was over the issue of settling legitimate grievances”.
What a farcically meaningless comment to make. The entire purpose of a parliament is to countenance points of conflict. No, sorry, modern democracy or at least ‘conservatism’ entails avoiding those morally questionable issues that you cannot resolve. It therefore has to be about concrete, self-event things like money. Well, they are not self-evident, but both sides of government seem able to handle those. You might wonder how without conceptual frame of reference. But in their case, it’s all about extortion or ‘political pull’, and their capacity to make it happen.
“Public good will should not be taken for granted. It needs to be treated with respect. It is short-sighted and counter-productive of activists to use tactics and language which have the effect of eroding public support for initiatives aimed at turning around the very situation that the activists are complaining about”.
If you think about it…that is actually a nice, drawn-out way of saying, as Hitler did:
“You are nothing, your nation is everything”.
Hitler had no time to waste on fluff. The modern political party lives on fluff. Whilst they fluff around, they must be making money. Why would you want to preside over government without making money? Where is the sense of pride in being ineffectual? There must be something in it…certainly no self-respect. These issues have been kicking around for 140 years. We are about to have a court case – waste of money – as Maori question whether they have a legal claim to the water in the Mighty River Corporation privatisation. It’s a joke. Is it extreme to raise that as an issue. Well, the Supreme Court did not seem to dismiss the issue out of hand. If one wants to examine the track record of John Key, the National Party, Labour Party or indeed the entire parliament, ask yourself what effort their government took to seek peace in countries taking protection of rights…and yet in the name of liberty or democracy, they are entering Iraq. It must surely be about money/oil? Why nothing about:
1. East Timor
2. PNG
3. Solomon Islands
4. Fiji
5. Muslims of Mindanao
6. Australian aborigines

Even in this last case, long considered ‘extremists’, the Moros of Mindanao in the Philippines are finally getting some justice. No thanks to Western adherents to high standards of conduct. This is despite NZ having very little trade with the Philippines.
I’m no ‘wet-nosed’ liberal. I just think governments ought to be motivated by something more than rhetoric to keep their jobs, to lock in some mindless state of subservient harmony. I think Western governments are transfixed on Japan as a model of how to achieve a ‘compliant society’. In Japan, people don’t question government. The two major parties do as they please. Celebrities tie themselves to governments, and in the end they are seduced by it.
“Turning around the current waste of human potential would do more for Maori and for New Zealand than probably any other single change”.
This is undoubtedly the case; but first John Key has to identify the nature of the ‘waste’…why the human potential of Maori has been diminished. I can identify several reasons:
1. Catch-up: Maoris started behind – they were handicapped from a time going back 130 years.
2. Legacy: They were left with an entrenched legacy of ‘Maoridom’ which rested on the premise that they were disempowered, marginalised victims, that any rhetoric of justice was not real; it was just for show. They were not given or confronted with the values which made Pakehe successful and Maori unsuccessful. Those issues were avoided because they feel compelled to leave in place the notion of a collective Maori identity, which has greatly diminished the lives of all indigenous persons around the world. It was about ‘achieving compliance’ in the short term. The implication however has meant 140 years of unresolved contention. This government, like the others, will not resolve it.
“He spoke approvingly of a United Maori Mission boarding hostel for 50 boys within the Auckland Grammar zone, saying it gave those boys a chance for a good education”.
This is not a basis for prosperity among Maori; its an elitist argument which says:
1. These Pakehe wannabes are your custodians because they are educated and think like us ‘white folk’
2. These people are successful because they are very smart, and probably wealthier, and from a good family, so there is no reason you can’t succeed like them.
“It is one of the reasons why we have a positive and forward-looking relationship between iwi and Crown. I have no doubt that we New Zealanders are better off because of it”.
No John, you don’t have a relationship with Maori. You have a relationship with the only people your governments sanction to represent Maori. You decided by forming a coalition with the Maori Party that these people are worthy of being in a coalition. You went out of your way to strike that deal, as king maker, because it suits your agenda. Most Maori don’t subscribe to your distorted world view because you have popularised these people. No doubt your ‘Auckland Grammar boarders’ will be targeted by your party as you attempt to brand your party as the part for the people. You are only so long as you dumb people down and remain dumbfounded by execution paralysis.


Quotes from NZ Herald, 6th Feb 2013.

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'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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