Yes John, Mike is right – middle New Zealand has had a gutsful

It’s been a long time since my heart dropped to the floor as heavily as it did the night Mike Hosking declared middle New Zealand was opposed to Maori seats on local bodies. I’m blessed, or cursed, with boundless optimism for this country.

A small population, well educated and politically engaged, can do things that are much harder in a big democracy where even people of the dominant culture can feel powerless and excluded from the country’s decisions.

It is 25 years since Jim Bolger and Sir Doug Graham brought the National Party in behind Treaty settlements, nearly eight years since John Key formed an enduring partnership with the Maori Party. I have dared to think that conservative opinion has come around to accepting Maori have a distinctive place in our affairs and that we are better for it.

That’s Key’s view. Though strictly he didn’t need the Maori Party’s parliamentary votes, he wanted them in his ministry because, he said, “I just thought it would make us a better government.”

So I watched Seven Sharp’s item on the resigning Mayor of New Plymouth with a certain sadness. The poor fellow has had enough of the isolation and abuse he has received since he attempted to set up seats on his council for a Maori electorate. I don’t know Taranaki well but it appeared the country’s post-colonial project has yet to reach at least one of its extremities.

Hosking’s reaction was quite different. The problem, he declared, is that the man is out of touch with middle New Zealand. If Maori want to be on councils they can stand for election like everyone else. Simple as that. He said it with the stone cold certainty of all his pronouncements.

Is he right? I had a sinking feeling that night that he must be. Hosking is only one man and was speaking from gut instinct but he rules the ratings on breakfast radio and prime time television these days and you don’t do that without a very good gut instinct.

I felt sad, ineffably sad for the country.

You’re normally more sensible than this John.

You want to give Maori something as a birthright, rather than something based on need or merit.?? Worse, you are railing against democracy.? The people of Taranaki were asked, and they said no.? The fact the mayor was personally embarrassed and is now chucking his toys from the cot doesn’t make the voters wrong.

Middle New Zealand is sick of people having to come and do a song and dance, sometimes literally, before anything can be done.? They are sick of having to get approval from up to 20 odd Iwi before they can erect a statue on private land.? They are sick of the constant hand-outs, the constant victim industry, and the liberal guilt pandering that enables these professional children.

Additionally, it makes a mockery of any Maori that has achieved anything without the help, money and privilege Maori have come to expect as a birthright.


– John Roughan, NZ Herald