Soft bigotry of low expectations

25/05/2009

We like to think race relations in New Zealand are pretty good.

We’re wrong.

They may not be as bad as they are in some other countries, but they’re not nearly as good as they should be and one of the reasons for that is the soft bigotry of low expectations.

The phrase isn’t original – I think it was first used by George Bush – but it encapsulates the danger of support which harms rather than helps.

One sad example of this is the pressure to have Maori seats on the new Auckland council and the reason given: because Maori won’t be represented without them.

That’s rubbish. Democratic elections allow anyone to stand, they allow anyone to support those who stand and once elected the councillors will be bound – legally and ethically –  to represent all the people in their wards and to act in the best interests of them and the wider city.

Democracy isn’t good enough for some people but those who are arguing for special rights aren’t helping Maori, they’re hindering them, the ones who are supposedly supporting Maori are dragging them down.

They’re telling them, and us, that Maori aren’t good enough to foot it in an equal contest, that people who aren’t Maori wouldn’t vote for Maori candidates, and that the people who are elected wouldn’t fulfil their obligations to listen to Maori views.

That’s bigoted and ignorant.

It’s also self defeating because, as Tariana Turia  said in a discussion on the Maori electorates on Agenda last year, the seats didn’t give Maori a voice:

I think what our people are starting to realise though is that when they voted Maori people into Labour they never got a Maori voice, they got a Labour voice and that was the difference, and they’ve only begun to realise it since the Maori Party came into parliament, because it is the first time that they have heard significant Maori issues raised on a daily basis.

If Maori seats didn’t give Maori a voice in parliament, they won’t on the council either.

Rather than wasting their energy demanding special seats, those who want Maori representation should put their efforts in to encouraging and supporting candidates who will give them a voice.

See also:

Jim Hopkins: We’re all in this together

Glenn Jameson on Time to End Racism in New Zealand

Kiwiblog on Hikoi Day


Did you see the one about . . .

24/05/2009

The invisible hand at Anti Dismal

Seventies pessimism: Polemical Poets 1978  at Bowalley Road

Beatles’ karaoke a viral hit in ad land at Dave Gee

Bob Jones’  appreciation corner at Cactus Kate and also on the same subject ( the entrepreneurs summit): Yes We Can Do  at Opposable Thumb.

Sex, sleep, eat, drink, dream  at Quote Unquote

Oh Dear  – on the frustrations of dictionary definitions – at Mr Gronk


Liberal’s mission helps Nats

08/09/2008

Glenn Jameson has been criticised by some Libertarianz for working for the National Party election campaign.

His response is:

I have a single-minded objective: to help bring an end to the most corrupt government New Zealand has ever seen. . .

That she [Helen Clark] said this without blushing demonstrates just how deep the corruption has seeped. She sees no vice in stealing money from the taxpayer to fund an 11th hour campaign that saw her retain power by the narrowest of majorities. She has justified within herself the bullying of the judiciary to drop charges on a prima facie case of the public money. She sleeps soundly at night in the knowledge that she took the unprecedented step to rewrite the law to make the aforementioned theft legal so as to avoid being taken to court by Libertarianz leader Bernard Darnton.

Two years later her government followed up this Mugabean act with the EFA, singularly the most draconian, anti-freedom legislation ever written in New Zealand: the act that works to dissolve the first and last right of a citizenry in a civilised country – that is, the right to criticise one’s government.

When I took the role on the marketing team for the National Party I knew I’d have to suffer the enmity of most of you here. I also knew I’d be roundly criticised by my peers for a campaign that was always going to have fewer teeth than its predecessor. I don’t blame Cresswell & Co. for their mockery, outrage and sense of betrayal; they will never see the light that exists between National and a party that is truly corrupt.

I want to see the restoration of free and fair elections in New Zealand, and since Helen Clark refuses to step down for the good of her country I’m doing everything in my power to make her. John Key has promised to end the EFA. It’s my job to make sure he has the chance to do so.

There is only one party which can end Clark’s government and that’s National.  Jameson recognises that and has chosen to use his skills to work for National because he wants to defeat Labour.

The comments below his post make entertaining reading.  Some are from people who pride themselves on being liberal but are appalled at he’s exercising his freedom to work for whoever he chooses; others accept his right to do it.

And for those like me who saw the the health billboard and thought, good policy – bad grammar, Jameson explains:

For the record, the line I’d written was “LESS BUREAUCRACY”. They wanted the message to be about fewer bureaucrats. I was overruled on the grammar. The ‘mistake’ was deliberate and all this extra attention it has generated appears to have made the minor embarrassment worth it.


%d bloggers like this: