Monday, October 29, 2007


The next Parliamentary General Election is due for this time next year. Already, the volume from some of the minor parties is being wound to 8 and beyond. Amongst the loudest is everyone's best friend Winnie the Pooh. From his leader's speech to the faithful at the New Zealand First conference this last weekend... (thanks Scoop)
Now answer this please, which subject about New Zealand has had the most coverage internationally – in all the major media outlets across the globe – in the last ten years?

I’ll tell you, because I saw it unfolding last week. It is an unnerving feeling, to be overseas and to see our country headlined, not because of economic or sporting success, but because of a bunch of malcontents running around the bush with guns.

That was the news that the world heard from New Zealand last week.

The biggest New Zealand story in more than a decade.

The result of behaviour which has been excused, condoned, nurtured and even encouraged over the past twenty years.

What type of country do we live in, when it is not the malcontents with the guns that get turned on by society, but the police?

That is an indictment on our values system.

We had hundreds of people protesting against the police arresting Tama Iti and his mates.

They are marching – not because he is guilty or innocent – they are marching because he is brown.

We once marched against apartheid, now they are marching for it.

We have groups calling for separate nations within our nation and prepared to use guns and violence.

If you don't believe that – watch TV One's Sunday programme tonight.

What is most obscene about this is that these same people who want their separate nation, want us the taxpayer to pay for it.

Just last Friday I was in a helicopter flight overlooking the forestry estate around Taupo.

What I saw were Maori workers, hundreds of them, on tractors and trucks, working hard and being paid for their work.

Not looking for a handout, not prancing around protesting – they were too busy working to pay their taxes and support their families.

What a contrast!

This is where the system is failing – taxpayer sponsored militant separatism.

These groups want separate development – but your money to fund it.

Rejecting all our values except collecting the dole each fortnight.

Get this clear – we are not having people opting out, demanding we pay for it, and then ramming their hymn of hate down our throats.

Fortunately this situation is not without hope.

Most Maori in New Zealand actually want to be part of and enjoy their country.

The overwhelming majority of Maori have jobs and want to raise their children for a better future.

Today we call on these Maori to join the fight against militant separatism...

Now those of right wing persuasion might quite like some of the things Winnie is saying, and that is understandable as he is trying hard to create an impact in that side of his market.

But, there is much in that quote that is just plain wrong as well.

He raves at the protestors who marched in Auckland and Wellington, and that
"...They are marching – not because he is guilty or innocent – they are marching because he is brown.

We once marched against apartheid, now they are marching for it."

That makes for great headlines. It stirs the pot even further into the apartheit corner where he wants it. It might even be good politics.

But read it again. One would imagine that there was only one person arrested - Tame Iti - and that all of the protestors were there in support of his right to justice. Well, it is probable that quite a few of the 1000 or so who marched did have that as their cause.

I suspect that more than a few, likely a majority, were in fact protesting the law and the process rather than the individuals involved. Certainly that was my motivation. Certainly that is my concern.

As a note, I went to Scoop tonight looking for news of the latest releasee from the Urewera 17. She was featured on the news from TV3. It will be very interesting to see what charges she was held on, and whether further charges are laid.

And to that end, the news tonight also mentions that the Police are talking to the Attorney General about the justification and nature of charges to be laid under the Suppression of Terrorism legislation. I will say that the chances of there being more than 6 of the 17 charged are pretty darned slim to zero. More to come over the next few weeks... not least the continuing reaction to Winnie the Pooh.

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