27 July 2014
If there’s one thing that defines kiwi culture it is a sense of equality. Kiwis hate privilege. Be it a minister trying to short-cut an airport security check, or Maori royalty gaining an exemption from criminal prosecution. Anyone who thinks they are above the law or superior to others will receive a serious reality check.
Over the last few weeks we have covered the ruling of Judge Philippa Cunningham to discharge Korotangi Paki (the son of the Maori King) after his lawyer argued a conviction would hinder his ability to accede the throne.
We are pleased to say the Crown has been aware of the widespread public outrage the judgement generated and has filed an appeal against that ruling. The outcome will be important for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it will test the defence that one’s royal bloodlines should be a factor in a prosecution.
Secondly, the judgement of Judge Cunningham will again be tested. If the ruling is overturned on appeal, then the issue of removing judges is likely to attract media attention. We know from a recent 5PM poll that there is widespread support for such a mechanism.
Maori Party objects to Party logo
The Maori Party has spent a good deal of time recently attacking the Conservative Party for its stand on the abolition of the Maori seats, saying this is a matter of agreement between Maori and the Crown only, and not something to be determined by the public at large.
They also ran that line of argument in an objection to the logo registered by the 1Law4All Party with the Electoral Commission. The Party has reported the Maori Party objected as follows:
“Our objection to this logo is that it is offensive to both Maori and non-Maori New Zealanders who respect the Treaty of Waitangi, because it is based on a political ideology which falsely proposes the abrogation of the law that relates to indigenous rights and property.”
“A further objection is that the logo is misleading. It is misleading to give the electorate the impression that the Treaty and indigenous law can be nullified, by a majority vote, and to assume that Maori enjoy some special privilege at law to the detriment of other New Zealand citizens.”
The Electoral Commission, it seems, did not agree and allowed the registration.
Exactly who decides issues like the abolition of the Maori seats is an important matter for debate. The Maori Party say it’s for Maori to decide. We say all New Zealanders have an interest in this issue and it is for everyone to have an equal say. It’s worth asking your local candidates at campaign meetings who they think should decide on the future of the Maori seats – Maori only, or all New Zealanders?
Cunliffe scores own goal
The best own goal of the week was David Cunliffe – again. This time it was for threatening to withdraw from TVNZ’s election debate because of its decision to use Mike Hosking as the moderator.
It was a silly thing to do, especially given Mr Cunliffe had just days before said it was time for Labour to avoid distractions and stay focused on the big issues, and even more ridiculous given his tough-talking comments in April that he would debate the Prime Minister “anytime, any-place, anywhere, I’ll even do it on Mike Hosking’s [radio] show.”
We thought the appointment of Matt McCarten as Labour’s chief of staff in April would bring some street-smarts to Labour’s campaign. That is not evident yet.
One can only assume Labour has given up on seriously contesting the northern electorates of Rodney, Whangarei and Northland. Their opposition to the extension of the northern motorway is shallow and senseless.
Labour’s transport spokesman Phil Twyford said, “It’s a spurious claim to suggest that knocking a few minutes off the journey time between Puhoi and Wellsford will somehow transform the economy of Northland and I think they do people a grave disservice to say that.”
Mr Twyford does not seem to have the intelligence to realise the highway extension is not only about further reducing travel time – it’s also about saving lives. In the last two decades we personally have witnessed six deaths on the road between Whangarei and Auckland. At least half were head on collisions, including a double fatality involving children. That’s six lives lost; shattered families.
It is obvious that highways are not only faster, but safer. In Germany, known for fast motorways, there are 60% fewer road fatalities per km travelled on their autobahns than on their roading network overall. Internationally that reduction is more like 70%, but as a general rule, motorways reduce road deaths by two-thirds.
Besides saving lives the motorway extension would bring much needed economic benefits to Northland – one of the most disadvantaged regions in the country. Shorter travelling times will invariable increase tourist numbers in the North and the number of people with holiday homes, as well as opening up industrial areas like Marsden Point.
While Labour’s opposition was surprising, more predictable opposition has come from the Green Party. Transport spokeswoman Julie-Anne Genter said, “The project…will only encourage more long distance commuting by car, worsening congestion.”
The Green’s of course don’t want people to travel in cars. Should people wish to travel, the Greens want them to take the train.
Quality of tail-enders questioned
It was a very short political career for National’s list MP Claudette Hauiti. She became an MP in May last year when Aaron Gilmore resigned for his much publicised bad behaviour. Ms Hauiti has withdrawn from standing at the general election following publicity about the inappropriate use of her parliamentary credit card, and what seems to be a clear signal from the Party that she was to be demoted to an unwinnable position on the list.
It does make one wonder about the tail enders of party lists. Watching Parliament on TV is a guessing game even to political followers – wondering who the rarely seen and never heard characters are sitting at the back of the House. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs in NZ politics when little known people of questionable potential are able to achieve winnable positions on party lists.
Last week we asked: “Would you like to see Winston Peters and Colin Craig go head to head for the electorate seat of East Coast Bays?”
On this readers were divided. 56% said YES, 44% NO.
It would open a door for Winston which he otherwise would not have. This would not reflect the real feelings of the electorate nationally. – David
It will only muddy the water and could split the votes and even benefit Labour. – David
This would be one of the more interesting outcomes of the election. – William
This week’s poll asks: “Who do you think should have the say as to whether the Maori seats are retained or abolished: Maori only or all voters?”
To vote, visit the www.5pm.org.nz website and look on the right hand sidebar.
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Frank and Muriel Newman
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