Anzac Day

Anzac Day

Perhaps in the end
they didn’t mind dying so much;
but wouldn’t you, just twenty-two?

You, worn out, sleeping only fitfully,
a trench bed of muddy clay and water,
soaked to the skin, propped up on sandbags –
pyjamas, man? You’ve worn the same clothes
for weeks, filthy, smelling, depressed
by dysentery, a fortnight’s rain on and off
and on…thinking before dawn of home…

longing in this surrealistic world
of dirt and damp and hunger, the horror
of good mates hanging over barbed wire,
a head joined only to a helmet…

to see them all once more, and say
the things you wished you’d said before.

You say them now, or scribble them down,
think their world might yet be saved
if enough, tough men like you are trying
hard to be, lie awake at night
and think of them, and fight and kill
others trapped like you – to keep them free.

You wanted once so much to live!

But now you say – For them – what’s meant to be…
for them and for theirs – things undone – forgive?
I fought for things enduring. Oh, remember me!

Amy Brooke

Wasn’t it a pledge, Winston? And why scientists are fed up.

Before the election, Winston, you were reported as saying that if New Zealand First was part of the next government, you would let the public decide whether to abolish the Maori seats (and cut the number of MPs in Parliament to 100.)  According to Radio NZ and other authoritative sources, you said Maori seats send a terrible message (they do) and vowed to hold a mid-term binding referendum on the two matters.  “The fact is that Maori don’t need to be told that they are not good enough to be equal, or that somehow they should be handicapped, or that somehow they should be pigeonholed…When did you ever hear Buck Shelford say “Don’t tackle me too hard, I’m a Maori…. or all those women playing in our netball team or any other team … When have you ever heard them say, “Don’t hit me too hard, I’m a Maori? Maori don’t need the Maori seats. They don’t need any more tokenism.” 

Quite true. And what did you do about this, Winston? All those probably thousands of New Zealanders who voted for you because they are fed up with the thoroughly racist policies more and more incrementally introduced under the recent National governments, in particular, feel thoroughly let down. Is it true that you did not even bother to raise this matter with Labour or National? We’d like to know, because as one correspondent sees it, the people that supported New Zealand First’s policies feel utterly left down. And that’s putting it very politely.  He was far more direct… 

Removing the utterly unnecessary, race-based Maori seats (given that there are now 29 part-Maori MPs in total, spread across our political parties) has been rightly viewed as a first very important first step to take against the race-based preferences now invading every aspect of government policy-making. These are more and more being inappropriately forced on children in schools, on students throughout our universities – and in all other institutions. There are now very well-paid government apparatchiks whose jobs centre on constantly forcing on us – and extending – these racist policies – including a quite fake “Maori” language – which bears probably about 10% relationship to the genuine Maori language. For example, how do you say, “The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment” in Maori? We need to start contesting this farcical situation. 

But meantime, we want to know what happened. It is true that you looked thoroughly exhausted at the time of the election. Some are wondering if you are well. But you have had enough energy to now bring up the issue of “dirty politics,” filing charges against the Opposition leader Bill English and three of his lieutenants in relation to the apparently deliberate leaking of information about the mistakes in your superannuation payments which were turned into an election scandal. Mistakes are just that. However, few would doubt that what should have been a privacy issue within a government department was used in an attempt to discredit you and reduce the percentage of New Zealand First’s votes.

It very probably succeeded, as earlier polling showed much higher support. But whether New Zealand First will now survive at the next election – given the abandoning of your own bottom line undertaking to put the issue of the Maori seats to the public – is another matter.  The fact that your promise has apparently not been followed up will probably be the last straw for many who felt that you at least stood against the corruption of the political scene and its throwaway, pre-election undertakings. Public cynicism, if not disgust at the way politicians let themselves and the country down has probably never been greater. Time for NZers to claim back this country, indeed. We should have learned by now that nothing will ever change, otherwise!  

The media groupies whom the public similarly have little time for have, however, raised an interesting question. Given that you had been intending to file charges against members of the National Party hierarchy, did you intend at any stage to throw the support of New Zealand First behind National – or was all the drawn-out bargaining simply to get the best deal from the Labour Coalition? This may have been a clever tactic – but when was the issue of what we all understood to be your non-negotiable promise – the abolition of the Maori seats – actually raised?  If not, why not? 

What so many concerned New Zealanders have now realised is that the National government hasn’t given a hoot about the growing push towards actual separatism, very much encouraged by the long tenure of former Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson, viewed as highly sympathetic to smoothing the way for iwi and hapu making the usual, never-ending financial claims against all other New Zealanders. Moreover, letters to this Minister, and indeed the former Prime Minister  (both are long-time close friends) either get ignored or hit enough of a nerve,  in the case of Finlayson, to receive a tart reply. This is not good enough, given that the utterly fraudulent issue of the supposedly “partnership” between Maori and the Crown is increasingly pushed at us all. 

The importance of the undertaking you apparently reneged on is because abolishing the anachronistic Maori seats would have removed a focal point for that radical activism which seeks constant media attention – and financial gain. There are no longer any full-blooded Maori – many of those making most of the fuss are predominately European  – or Euro-Asian –  and how much of their constant centre-staging is due to an inordinate sense of self-importance  –or simply greed… for the gravy train to provide more –  certainly raises the issue of some sort of moral/spiritual crisis  among individuals who make a part of their ethnic inheritance the most important thing in their lives – and pass on the same dead-end thinking to their children. 

All this posturing is completely removed from the lives of most New Zealanders of part-Maori descent. Doctors, dentists, nurses, teachers, lawyers pilots, builders, farmers, fishermen, plumbers, contractors, chefs, truck-drivers…individuals with part-Maori ancestry – right across the professions and trades –  are living fulfilling and worthwhile lives, without  the slightest interest in obsessively focusing on  a part-Maori inheritance.  Many based or travelling overseas are glad to be away from it all. Far more worthwhile issues centre on their families, their jobs, and the commitment of the majority of most NZers to serve this country – while faithful to the democratic principles of respect for all individuals – regardless of colour, gender, race or creed. 

However, the bureaucratic push to centre-stage the issues on which radically activist part-Maori are basing their agenda is spreading its tentacles throughout every possible area of our life in this country. It’s coming from a very determined minority pushing hard to influence policy-making within government, local councils and wherever it can cause damage to our social cohesion.  

If we follow the allocation of money we find particularly egregious and damaging examples –  apart from the clamour for the universities and schools to now show “cultural sensitivity” – that is to prove that they regard suposed part Maori concerns as needing to be prioritised above all others! 

For example , we all know that government attitudes to science funding and innovation have been more than parsimonious – they have long been below the level New Zealanders should be able to expect to help advance our country’s interests, and our contribution to today’s world of discovery. Science funding for this reason has become hotly contested – and scientists have been turned into quasi-businessmen, forced to skew research interests to submit funding applications that follow strictly PC and racist lines.  Where the universities once valued and acknowledged the importance of pure research,  and paid their scientists accordingly, now the latter largely have to generate their own funding through business interests – as well as satisfying radicalised iwi. Their demands have brought about the situation whereby their race-based interests come first.  

 However, imposing racist criteria on funding applications is a disgrace. Few would disagree with the notion that scientific research should apply to part-Maori no more – nor any less – than to any other population group in New Zealand. 

This explicit or implicit requirement is found right across areas of government grants.  Vision Matauranga is a very good example, or rather, a very bad example of the recent National government’s politicisation of these and capitulation to these areas. The Endeavour Foundation of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE), distributing a total of $58 million, has a mission statement – “To support research science or technology or related activities with the potential to positively transfer New Zealand’s economic performance and sustainability and integrity of our environment to help strengthen our society (meaning?) and give effect to Vision Matauranga polices.  

The latter is spelt out in a jargon-ridden, 52 page, pompous doorstopper which not only prioritises supposed Maori interests but what are supposedly “authentic Maori voices”- whatever these are. On the face of it, “authentic” apparently means the views of those who wrote this tedious document.  What is simply inexcusable is now requiring ALL applications for research-funding from the MBIE to consider Vision Matauranga nonsense. Previously, apparently one was able to states that one’s research didn’t have such relevance. Now, chillingly, a scientist must” provide evidence if he/she thinks that Vision now Matauranga isn’t relevant!   E.g.” If you think Vision Mātauranga is not relevant to your research, you should test this assumption with independent advisors with relevant strategic Vision Mātauranga experience. You will need to provide evidence to explain why you consider Vision Mātauranga is not applicable.” 

As one scientist notes, the twisted logic of this requirement is so outrageous that it almost sounds as if it could be challenged legally. Given the threat to his or her job or position, what scientist  is going to have the courage to do so?  And this is just what whoever drew up this outrageous demand relies upon. We are now living in a country where so many, trying to survive in a highly competitive workplace feel it is too risky to speak up. We now have reached a valid comparison with the former USSR – where, as the Russian poet Yevtushenko told us, to simply speak the truth had become an act of courage. 

There are numerous examples now of this shockingly divisive move to push separatist and racist  policies on this country. Minister Chris Finlayson, for example, should answer to the public for getting it very wrong in relation to the foreshore and seabed legislation. Opening yet another can of worms, the National government has allowed “customary  title” and “customary rights” to be contested by iwi, either in a new high court process –  or through direct negotiations with the Crown. Yet we have already seen how much damage has been done where iwi, in other areas, have been able to avoid due court process to deal with apparently partisan  Crown negotiators. Well-based evidence from reputable researchers has been simply ignored by this past National government – in  favour of virtually rubber-stamping  various dubious claims which should have been put to far more rigorous investigations. 

To establish customary title, this apparently naive government assured the public that very few claims would be relevant – that iwi would need to meet a number of tests, but that few would be able to meet the criteria for seeking customary title as they would have to demonstrate uninterrupted occupancy of the area claimed.

Both John Key and Finlayson claimed that very few iwi would be able to meet this criteria – so very few claims would be relevant. Were they just naïve – or were we misled? What has happened, of course, is what most of the country thought would happen. These pseudo-tribes have now laid massive claims for all of the foreshore and seabed – right around the coast of New Zealand. Even worse, it has been estimated that mounting even a single objection to each claim “could cost the public some $60,000 in fees – to say nothing of any costs involved in having objections prepared.” And inexcusably (given that the Maori economy is now worth $50 billion, reportedly “each Maori claimant is being offered thousands of dollars to prepare and file a claim…rightly regarded as only grossly inappropriate and utterly unfair.” 

It is not the first time that iwi claims against all other New Zealanders have been compulsorily funded by the public.  This ongoing process has been well and truly supported by this National government – one reason why so many New Zealanders have been glad to see it forced into Opposition – even in the face of considerable misgivings about various Labour-Coalition policies. 

It is in the light of these flagrant examples of what can well be regarded as cultural bullying that so many regard Winston Peters as having let us all down with his failure to keep his word.

 

© Amy Brooke, Convener. See my book “100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand …what has gone wrong, and how we can control our politicians.” Available through www.amybrooke.co.nz, Kindle, or HATM Publishers.

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