Free Press, 28 March 2022

Mon, 28 Mar, 2022

THE HAPS 

After an Ardernity, the COVID bubble has burst. The craziest rules are being dumped, and activity has noticeably ticked up. It’s only a few billion too late but we are finally moving on. But you can’t have too much sanity at once, the Government is now advancing its hare-brained scheme to mandate biofuels. In other words, it will be compulsory to put food in your tank, the same policy that created famines in the late noughties.

INTO THE ASYLUM 

David Seymour’s speech to Milford Rotary last week called for a referendum on co-governance. The reaction is so predictable, we wish we could have a bet on it. This week, Free Press ticks off the assorted lunacy of the left and some media in response to ACT saying democracy matters to our future.

You’re racist. This is, of course, the logical response to someone calling for racial equality. Te Paati Maori (TPM) and Matthew Tukaki have gone off at the deep end saying that calling for equal treatment is racist. Never saw that one coming, but part of the point of the referendum is to bring debate about our constitutional future out into the open.

Attack our donors. Free Press readers may know that a group of prominent New Zealanders gave ACT nearly $1 million earlier this month. They want a well-funded ACT contesting the next election.

TPM and Tukaki have attacked Xero. Why? Because Rod Drury founded it and he gave ACT a reportable donation. Unfortunately for them, Rod is Ngai Tahu, and has given literally millions of dollars and his own time to iwi-led initiatives.

Why they’d attack one of New Zealand’s greatest business success stories because their founder gave money to ACT in a private capacity is something they’ll just have to explain themselves.

Say you’re afraid. Tova O’Brien interviewed David Seymour with the opening line ‘why are you afraid.’ It comes from the ‘white fragility’ school of thought, that if people disagree there must be something wrong with them. If she had any good arguments against the policy she could just make those, but of course...

Political hot takes. Besides attacking the person, there is also the motivation. O’Brien then wrote a column of hot takes saying ACT is campaigning for votes, and that’s bad. Guilty as charged. We hope a lot of people will vote for New Zealand as a liberal democracy. It’s good to see that she has not lost her political smarts since moving to Auckland though.

But there’s inequality. Various commentators have pointed out ‘but there’s inequality.’ Well yes, but not all disadvantaged people are Māori, and not all Māori people are disadvantaged. Even if there was a perfect match, it is not obvious how putting iwi appointees on the boards that govern three waters infrastructure, for example, will help kids get educated and live good lives in the 21st century.

If they cared about opportunity for poor brown kids who seldom get a chance, they’d be campaigning to bring back charter schools for a start. Then they’d take a look at ACT’s housing, mental health, prisoner rehabilitation, and welfare policies. Those are the areas we need to reform if we want healthy, thriving communities.

What we’ve been looking for. We’ve been waiting for someone to come out and say it. Somebody could say ‘We don’t think liberal democracy works. We think the best way to deal with poverty and inequality is to appoint people into governance positions based on their ethnicity. Here’s why we think that will work...’

‘What’s more,’ they could say, ‘we certainly don’t want ordinary people having an open debate, and we definitely don’t want people voting. It’s much better if New Zealand’s constitutional future is quietly decided by the courts, the Waitangi Tribunal, the Public Service, and some politicians over several decades.’

Of course, none of the critics have come out and said that, because the criticisms are absurd.

But we are also hearing from many people that what co-governance and the Treaty actually mean is a difficult but necessary conversation. New Zealand is not just Māori and Pakeha the way it was in, say, 1950. The country’s long term future depends being a modern, multi-ethnic society with equal political rights and a place for all.

We are taking on the lunacy of the left and some (but not all) media commentators because we believe these values are worth promoting for the good of all people. If you agree, please join, donate and share Free Press to show your support.