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Gavin de Malmanche

Racial Extortion or “Freedom from Fear?”

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Last year New Zealanders were informed a new Marine and Coastal Area Bill, scheduled to replace the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act would mean “nothing would change.” Despite this claim, further down the track New Zealanders were presented with a 101 page Marine and Coastal Area Bill which appears to deliver the contrary and places that statement in the political misinformation file. New Zealanders have every right to rationalize if “nothing would change” then why a 101 page change?

There is enough evidence to indicate the majority of New Zealanders, including many of Maori descent, do not support this new Bill. They believe the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act vesting ownership of the foreshore and seabed in the Crown is fair and equitable. In view of the Ngati Porou East Cape agreement to settle through the process of High Court confirmation, there is general public acceptance the 2004 legislation has worked.

Also many New Zealanders are aware that the proposed new Marine and Coastal Area Bill was force-fed to the New Zealand electorate by a methodology more accurately understood as racial extortion. Aided and abetted by our MMP political system, just 2.39% who voted for the race-based Maori Party in the 2008 general election have extorted the 97.61% majority vote. Holding the balance of power in Parliament, the Maori Party achieved this by threatening to opt out of a Confidence and Supply agreement and support of the Government in this year’s 2011 election, unless a replacement Bill, favouring Maori, was tabled for approval.

Some people may view this procedure as part of the normal democratic process, but when it comes to race or religion many believe it is a recipe for political, social and economic decline. Nearly 200 years, after the Treaty of Waitangi it is fair to assume the majority of New Zealanders, including many Maori, believe it is time for our democracy to line up with article three of the Treaty, move away from race-based preference and deliver equal status and equal “Rights and Privileges” for all New Zealand citizens, irrespective of racial origin.

A similar attitude toward racial equality is now becoming a reality in the USA where a number of states have legislated against racial preference and “Affirmative Action.” In 2006 the State of Michigan, according to Research Specialist Carol M. Allen of Michigan State University, “overcame numerous obstacles to pass overwhelmingly a voter ballot initiative amending the state constitution to prohibit public institutions from discriminating against or giving preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin…”

As is the case in the USA , New Zealand could also begin the process of phasing out divisive politics and policies that support race-based separation and or preference. These are identified as separate race-based parliamentary seats, a race-based political party, separate race-based education (Kohunga Reo and Kura Kaupapa Maori), race-based health and welfare (Whanau Ora) and race-based law and order (Marae Courts).

These institutionalized, race-based, state paid structures and systems are best described as unnecessary, expensive and unsustainable “white elephants.” They do nothing but divide the country and point us all towards a more problematic, social, economic and political future.

Similarly, if passed into law, the proposed Marine and Coastal Area Bill which cancels Crown ownership and frees up tribal customary rights to the foreshore and seabed, will translate into yet another unproductive, race-based structure and system, forced on to a country in debt up to its eyeballs, at the bottom end of the OECD wealth chart and overflowing with exploding negative social outcomes. A country overly concerned with race-based separation, race-based preference, race-based politics and race-based PC policies which, at the end of the day, have nothing to do with increasing New Zealand ’s comparative standard of living and simply perpetuate the additional high cost of running two countries instead of one.

In 1941 the USA President Franklin D Roosevelt talked of a world founded upon “four essential human freedoms.” The first was freedom of speech, the second, freedom of religion, the third, freedom from want, and the fourth, he described as “freedom from fear.” This is worth noting as it relates to New Zealand ’s current foreshore and seabed controversy. The Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 was passed because of the fear of separate race-based tribal ownership of New Zealand ’s coastline. New Zealanders were then confronted with the threat and fear exhibited in the 2004 race-based hikoi march culminating in a cut-throat type haka at Parliament Buildings. And finally, our Government was subjected to racial extortion and the fear of losing Maori Party support if they abstained from proceeding with a replacement bill.

New Zealanders, including many of Maori descent, need to ask themselves whether they want to be part of a more prosperous, inclusive and equal society, free from fear and threats, or continue for ever with the noose of unproductive, high cost race-based politics and policies around their necks?