The date sounds like a knell akin – that word again – to that which sounded at 11am on the 11th November 1918 (armistice day on the Western front.) Make no mistake the outcome of the forthcoming General election will define for the foreseeable future our Nation, our democracy, our freedoms, and the Rule of Law. No event will prove to be more important in our history, and the reasons are plain. The current government, which because of the vagaries of MMP enjoys an absolute majority in the House, something which the framers of that voting system deemed to be impossible. The point is important because the model chosen was uplifted from the German and Italian Parliaments, a system imposed on them after the second World War to ensure that no Hitler or Mussolini style demagogue could ever again lawfully seize power. It seems highly unlikely that the framers of the legislation ever turned their minds to the possibility of a Marxist sympathiser achieving a similar outcome in a mature democracy and thereby entering and corrupting its institutions . But that is what occurred in New Zealand following the last election. A political Party which said nothing about its agenda should it win power achieved the impossible. That party was the New Zealand Labour Party which has its origins in the Trade Union movement of the late eighteen hundreds, and which existed to advance the cause of working people to ensure that they share fairly in the fruits of the market economy while ensuring that the economy can continue to exist. Labour Parties around Europe in various guises were loathed by Marx and Lenin who rightly thought them to be antithetical to the Communist movement which seeks to centralise all the mechanisms of production and exchange in the hands of the governing clique. Fortunately, outside of Russia, a few satellites, and now China, the Marxists failed, and free market economies backed by democracy became the norm in most of the rest of the world. For this reason, elections in the free world being contests between Labour and the Conservatives have aroused all the excitement of the fair but very little public angst. This for the obvious reason that Labour tended to spend too much helping the less advantaged and National more focused on balancing the books and ensuring that as a country we lived within our means. Neither party allowed any of its members or voters to get their hands on the constitutional levers of power both being zealous to ensure that we continued to function as a democracy with all of the freedoms that entails, and that the market economy was not fatally damaged. It is now evident from the machinations of this government that their agenda has been to destabilise our democracy by introducing notions of a tiny ethnic minority exercising equal political power with the majority. Indeed if the He Puapua agenda which this government secretly commissioned ensues then tribal rule will prevail and democracy ceases to exist. The consequences of this form of “government” are being played out daily in the tribal wars wracking Niger, Mali, Sudan and other such place in Africa where aided and abetted by Russia, existing democracies are unlikely to survive.
If this is thought to be far-fetched one need only recall the tribal warfare which blighted this country until the arrival of the Europeans with no reason to suppose that old grievances which sustained these wars will not again surface. In addition to raising this spectre the government under its former leader has destabilised the economy by massive borrowing, for which no plan exists for repayment, and this coupled with crippling interest bills. This can only result in massive tax increases and new forms of tax, all of which are on the unspoken agenda post-election with the result state dominance in the marketplace will grow exponentially. Coupled with this emigration of our young people will gather pace, immigration will diminish as less people find our country an attractive place to live, and those who are able to take their businesses offshore will likely do so. This is not idle speculation it is happening already. The upside for the He Pua Pua agenda for the government and it’s Maori caucus is that the ethnic share of the population will correspondingly increase making the destruction of democracy increasingly likely. Viewed in this way it is clear that the elephant in the room at the forthcoming election is not the economy or the other manifold damage this government has sought to wreck on our society, most of which can be remedied by amending legislation, it is the destruction of our democracy by elevating an ethnic minority above the majority of voters – a project which rests solely on one foundation: the document signed at Waitangi in 1840. Given the crucial significance it has come to assume it requires careful scrutiny to be sure it will support the weight being placed upon it.
Very little attention is paid in the media or the education syllabus to the historical circumstances which existed as Captain Hobson, the Missionaries, and the tribal chiefs sat round the table with the French Roman Catholic Arch- Bishop Pompallier a keen observer on the side lines, given the existing French settlement on Banks Peninsular. Such momentous events do not occur in an historical vacuum and a brief glance at the facts which are an anathema to the activists, is necessary. Apart from the interesting possibility that the Vikings settled parts of the North Island in the nineth, or tenth century witnessed by the Scandinavian hieroglyphs on the stone secreted in the Northland Kauri forests, it is generally accepted that the Moriori people were the earliest settlers. They were driven out and later slaughtered and cannibalised on the Chatham Islands by a later migration of Maori tribes who interestingly share their DNA only with the Taiwanese. Because of the remoteness of these islands early European explorers paid no attention to their existence until 1642 when the Dutch explorer Able Tasman paid a brief visit, found the tribes hostile and apart from leaving a few place names departed never to return. Europeans paid no further attention to Zealandia as Tasman named the Islands, for another 126 years when Captain Cook arrived in 1768 looking for the Southern Continent, and as part of his commission to observe the transit of Venus in the cause of establishing lines of longitude necessary for accurate navigation. Apart from two more isolated visits during which some of the crew who ventured into Endeavour inlet in the Marlborough Sounds were murdered and eaten by tribesmen, Cook departed, and Britain showed no further interest in Zealandia until Captain Hobson’s visit in 1840.
By that time, between 1778 and 1840 the British had established their penal colonies in Tasmania and New South Wales, and European whaling ships were regular visitors to these shores. In the result some of the convicts and whalers settled here, partnered with Maori women, and raised families. In addition, these was a growing interest in Britain in establishing colonies of settlers here. But British government was concerned at the tales of tribal warfare, cannibalism, and disputes over the dubious acquisition of land by European immigrants. Looming over this was the widespread availability of European firearms which gave rise to the Musket Wars resulting in the deaths of so many tribespeople that if continued unchecked would have put the survival of the entire population at risk.
Enter the British.
In the years between 1800 and 1840 Britain was very busy around the world managing its Empire. It would fight the disastrous Afghan war (where the only survivor was the Doctor sent back to tell of the defeat,) the first of the Chinese opium wars and the war with the French for the conquest of Canada. It was also leading the struggle for the abolition of slavery wherever it existed with the Royal Navy deeply involved in tracking and arresting slavers on the high seas wherever they could be found. This caused deep resentment among the Muslims (the chief slavers) and some African tribes which escalated into open conflict drawing in the British. It was also involved in the administration of Egypt at the request of the Khedive and was becoming more deeply involved in parts of Africa, (Kenya, Nigeria for example) and South America, not to forget its involvement in Australia and its ongoing responsibilities to the various Indian Rulers who sought British protection and arms. All of which was funded by the British taxpayer.
Given those commitments among others, the last thing the British needed was another colony and another war, particularly one 13,000 miles away from home. As mentioned however by 1840 there was growing interest among British people in emigrating to find a better life in New Zealand. That coupled with a strongly evangelistic Protestant sentiment which prevailed in the British government at the time to bring the benefits of European civilization to disparate parts of the globe. It is against that background that one can understand the tenor of the instructions given to Captain Hobson by Lord Normanby the head of the Foreign Office. They amount to a simple proposal that such of the tribal chiefs who might be interested in accepting British Sovereignty then the Crown would safeguard what were the existing property rights of the tribes. In addition, all Maori people would become citizens of the British Empire. The importance of this is routinely overlooked by activists and academics. It was the equivalent of the highly prized granting of citizenship of the Roman Empire to slaves and foreigners, and not something made available to other colonies within the British domain. The offer was to be made on terms that it required the intelligent and voluntary consent of those bargaining on behalf of the tribes. Without that Hobson was to abandon the venture and return home. Also overlooked by commentators (certainly the more recent fanciful redrafting of the Waitangi document) is that The Crown was aware from its Missionaries resident in New Zealand that the country was torn by a fratricidal war which left unchecked might have spelt the disintegration of the entire Maori society. To put an end to this, as it had done in parts of Africa and India, and implicit in the offer of British sovereignty Britain would bring its Rule of Law to these islands enabling disputes to be settled without recourse to war. This same benefit would mark the end of mindless warfare, cannibalism, slavery, and trade in shrunken heads. In addition, implicit in the offer of British sovereignty shared as it is with an elected Parliament was the intention to ensure that all peoples in the subject islands would benefit from a similar system of government. This eventuated in 1867 when all Maori men over the age of 21 were granted the vote. What is also overlooked is that it was a take it or leave it offer and there was no room for haggling over bits of it which might have suited some of the Chiefs but not others.
As is well understood the offer was not well received on day one of the meeting. Some of the Chiefs objected to being ruled by a woman (which spoke eloquently of their view of the place of women in Maori society) some such as Tareha of Ngapuhi who were in the ascendant in the tribal wars would have none of it:
“We only are the Chiefs, rulers. We will not be ruled over…. No never, never.”
Of those who accepted the notion of British sovereignty most contended that it would be equal with their own right to rule. It was not until Tamiti Waka Nene spoke that the tide turned in favour of the British offer. His words should be etched into the mind of every current academic and Maori activist:
“Oh Governor….do not thou go away from us remain for us a father a judge and a peacemaker….sit here dwell in our midst. Remain do not go away do not listen to what Ngapuhi say, stay thou our friend our father our governor.“
Interestingly to this day the Ngapuhi have nursed, not their opposition to the treaty, they now rely heavily on it, but their grievances that it has not been fulfilled.
This oratory of Nene and others carried the day, and the document was signed. It became known as “The Treaty of Waitangi” largely because at one point in his instructions to Hobson Lord Normanby thought New Zealand was a sovereign state. He resiled from that later in the document but the label stuck. At International law, which is where treaties stand or fall, they can only be made between two or more sovereign states with authority over all aspects of their countries and societies to ensure compliance with what has been agreed. The point is more than a lawyer’s quibble because if the document is not a “Treaty” recognised at law as such it amounts to no more than an agreement entered into between the Crown and those Chiefs who signed it. Crucially it has never been legislated into New Zealand law (other than inferentially in the fifty or so Act of Parliament amended or enacted by this Government which now refer to the “principles of the Treaty”.
Whatever its true legal identity the agreement worked for both parties in the circumstances of the day. The British were able to safely encourage migration to these shores, and the Tribes for their part enjoyed an end to cannibalism, slavery, and the worst of the tribal wars. However, like all such agreements when the circumstances which give rise to it no longer exist then the document ceases to have any force and effect. And that is what happened throughout the next 180 years. Both the peoples and their way of life and the countryside of New Zealand changed beyond recognition. It would be tedious to attempt to enumerate those changes suffice to say: the countryside is no longer remote and bush covered, it is intensively farmed by persons of both Maori and other ethnicities and has become the principal source of wealth sustaining our economy. The way of life available to all New Zealanders is impossibly remote from that practiced by the tribes in 1840. In its place we all enjoy democracy, the Rule of Law, a colour- blind public health system (or did before the present government introduced Maori ethnicity as a criterion for treatment). An education system for our children and young people which until recently was among the best in the world but is now degenerating into a mis mash of quasi spiritual Maori beliefs and customs. Infrastructure of roads, cities and airports, electricity largely provided by hydro dams, every one of which was opposed by the “Greens,” safe drinking water supplies, democratically elected local authorities (well until the race-based practices of the present government) and not to forget the market economy which has conferred on all ethnicities who wish to participate a way of life undreamed of in 1840. The list goes on but all of which was unimaginable in 1840. Indeed, this sea change in society was becoming apparent long before the present era and enabled the High Court (then called the Supreme Court ) in1878 in the case of Wi Parata v The Bishop of Wellington to declare the document a “simple nullity. The case has been highly controversial but never overruled by a higher court or by statute. The 1980s case involving the relationship between the needs of State-Owned Enterprises and Maori landowners does not, as the current crop of activists and academics assert, create a sharing of legislative authority between people of Maori ethnicity and the rest of the population. The case is solely concerned to interpret the wording casually introduced by Sir Geoffrey Palmer into the State-owned enterprises legislation that in dealing with Maori owned land balanced against the needs of the wider community the Crown must act in good faith and deal fairly. All of this changed in 1975 when the seeds of ethnic division were first sown by the Treaty of Waitangi Act.
The Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975
The Act was introduced in the dying stages of the Rowling Labour government and assented to on the 10 October after Parliament rose. It set up a Tribunal to consider Maori land grievances claimed to be in breach of the 1840 “Treaty” and to make non-binding recommendations to Parliament concerning these claims. The Palmer Labour government enormously extended the ambit of these grievances by extended the ambit of claims back to 1840. It has enjoyed a busy and productive work- load over the past 48 years and very few petitioners coming before it have left empty handed. The intent was benign in the sense that without this legislation claims of breaches of the treaty document being as it is an agreement between the parties have at Common Law long since been statute barred by the Limitation Act. But the framers of the legislation failed to understand that even if one accepts that Maori land was acquired by European settlers in breach of the agreement the problem remains; what is the utility or justice in giving that land to persons who did not suffer the loss and to whom the return is no more than a windfall? This is further complicated by the fact that there existed no notion of individual land ownership in these Islands prior to 1840. These are intractable problems and not confined to the Crown’s dealing with the Maori tribes. Similar problems arose throughout the tenure of the British Empire. In his book “Superseding Historic injustice the Historian Jeremy Waldron speaking of Australian aboriginals said:
“The historic theft of land meant a gravity of loss to my ancestor that cannot mean to me in 2020 now that I am supported by a welfare state.”
Nigel Biggar in his seminal 2020 work on “Colonialism a Moral Reckoning” puts it this way;
Similarly, even if you now sit on the land stolen from my ancestor simply returning it to me would do you an injustice in so far as you have built a life and an economy on it and are not culpable for the original wrong. There have been huge changes since (sic) Australasia was settled by white colonists…. Our focus should lie on addressing present injustices rather than trying to untangle historic injustices. Entitlements fade with time and are overtaken by circumstances.
Addressing present injustices from the earliest time of European settlement is what successive governments have sought to do in the many ways, some of which are enumerated above. Approached in this way the Waitangi Tribunal has not only out lived any usefulness it may have once had but has become a focus for unending grievances real or imagined. Increasingly it drives a wedge between those currently claiming some Maori ethnicity and the overwhelming majority of the rest of the population. Not only is this an insult to the many New Zealanders having some Maori ethnicity who have made outstanding contributions to all sectors of our society and economy, it has become a gravy train for greedy tribalists claiming and receiving unearned rewards which must be provided by the rest of society, the taxpayers. In the interest of social cohesion, the Tribunal must be wound up. In doing so the document signed in 1840 can be relegated to history, and New Zealanders of all ethnicities can go back to working to return this country to what it once was – the envy of the world and not somewhere from which our young, and not so young are queuing up to leave.
These then are the problems facing an incoming government. It will not be business as usual. Courageous and unpopular decisions will have to be made if our way of life is to survive, anything less and victory goes to the Marxists and their intent to subvert the institutions of our society. To return to the vital significance of the forthcoming General Election. This essay began with a “knell” I can think of no better way of ending it describing what The Labour Party and in particular Hipkins and what is left of his ministerial “herd” faces post-election, than to quote from Grey’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”:
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day.
The lowing herd winds slowly o’er the lea,
the Plowman homeward plods his weary way.
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
The boast of herald, the pomp of pow’r
And all that beauty, all that wealth ere gave.
Awaits like the inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.