Speaking on National Radio during the week Rodney Hide talked up ACT's achievement of ensuring a National-led, stable government for New Zealand and downplayed the internal problems the party has experienced. What interested me was when asked why people wouldn't vote National rather than ACT (it was put to him that National are moving into their territory with things like asset sales) he basically outlined the three election issues for ACT this year. 1/ The Economy 2/ Education and 3/ One Law for All. His emphasis was on the last. No mention of law and order, no mention of welfare, no mention of health, all usually in the running when deciding election year strategy.
No surprises really with the efforts that ACT have been making to block the Seabed and Foreshore legislation. What bothers me is the debate teases out a lot of ignorant, anti-Maori sentiment. The type heard on talkback this week concerning a fee being charged to media attending the lower marae at Waitangi. Many Maori callers saw it as a racket and disagreed with the action. But some Pakeha just start running off at the mouth about Maori get this and Maori get that. I tried to make the point to Sean Plunket that it is those sort of sentiments that are racist. People seem unable to grasp that in their own accusations of race based privilege or discrimination they are being inherently racist themselves by lumping all Maori together. Do reprehensible individual Pakeha actions generally elicit cries that "Pakeha do this" and "Pakeha do that"? No they don't.
I am still betwixt and between regarding the Coastal and Marine Bill and whether it will advance or set back race relations. That will only be known when and if the legislation is passed. But I am very uncomfortable with divisive scaremongering, the blithe imposition of the Pakeha worldview on Maori, and the reversal (since 2005) in both National and ACT positions on establishing customary rights and all that might entail. One law for all surely infers Maori should also have recognised property rights.
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