Thursday, November 17, 2005

Maidens, prepare to be savaged

Maiden speech time in Parliament, where the new MPs say who they are, what drives them, and perhaps what we can expect.

First up was Labour's Shane Jones, opening the Address and Reply debate.

If you were wanting a manifesto, it is not this speech. Jones chose to bury his strengths and his considerable experience in treaty matters below a bluster of feel good rhetoric, forcefully delivered. His Labour colleagues loved it.

He affirmed his Pakeha, Dalmation and tangata whenua roots, and in a slap at National's Don Brash, declared himself "downstream, upstream, full on mainstream!"

He said the Treaty of Waitangi is about relationships. "My own thoughts have changed over the years. The emphatic Treaty activist of the 1980’s became a Mäori economic advocate in the 1990’s. This decade however, we must move on beyond historical angst. The future summons us to a relationship, which transcends both Crown and tribe. To this end it is pleasing to see that all parliamentarians are committed to the resolution of historical grievances. I favour expeditiousness, to clear the path so our aspirations are not twisted by protracted disputes over acre, rood and perch."

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples brought to his speech the skills of more than three decades of performance.

His rhetoric was also familiar, if extremely well delivered. "It is common knowledge that Maori do not enjoy the same socioeconomic and educational benefits as non-Maori in this, their country of origin. It strikes me as somewhat amazing, that half the country and probably half this house, actually believe that Maori are the privileged group within our society. Cries of racial funding, gravy train, specials courses, are constant within these walls, and eagerly published by every arm of the media to promote a negative stereotype of Maori.
"Does privilege mean we Maori dominate certain illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, glue ear and others? That we die 10 years earlier than Pakeha? Or is our real privilege to be revealed by this country's disgusting incarceration figures?"
His solution is to accept the future of New Zealand is entwined with the future of Maori.
"For this nation to thrive economically, culturally and with a sense of social justice, Maori must be able to play a full role in all parts of society … While Maori have made great strides within kaupapa Maori initiatives, the reality of equality for Maori is still far off. While more Maori are in jobs, we must look at the quality of those jobs. Many Maori also have been isolated from their iwi base, while many face negative images of themselves daily in the media."
So is that the answer. Go back to the pa and don't read the paper? You'll have to do better than that, Pita.


Blogger t selwyn said...

"So is that the answer. Go back to the pa and don't read the paper? You'll have to do better than that, Pita." - I thought your post immediately above was the worst thing you have written - being both cursory, presumptive and dissmissive - and then you make that ridiculous comment. You'll have to do better than that, Adam.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

You're right ts, I was probably a bit harsh. But I know Pita is capable of more original thought than he put up.
There is also another question, which is how much Pita's Landmark training has influenced phases like "THE NEGATIVE STEREOTYPES WHICH SERVE TO LOCK MANY MAORI INTO A NEGATIVE POVERTY MINDSET."
I also could have taken issue with his use of the term "Westminster government", which has come to mean something pretty extraordinary in some circles, and with his description of the foreshore and seabed as "THE RIGHT HAND PAYS OUT FOR LAST CENTURIES CONFISCATIONS, BUT THE LEFT HAND STEALS SOME MORE LAND."
The confiscation is actually in the compensation, returning only a fraction of the value of the assets, which makes the balance the Crown still holds pure profit.

10:24 PM  
Blogger t selwyn said...

I didn't hear Sharples' speech to be fair, but I did hear Jones - and it was very disappointing. A lot of slogans and glad-handing and not much vision. I think it's early days. I would expect Sharples (and Jones for that matter) to drop the ball a few times as they settle in and are forced to flesh out a course for themselves.

1:19 AM  

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