Submission to the Fisheries and
Other Sea-related Legislation Committee on the Foreshore and Seabed
Bill, Jul 10 2004 (edited)
New Zealand Equality Education Foundation
Although we think there is room for debate as to the
correctness of the landmark Court of Appeal decision in 2003 which
sparked this Bill, we consider that the decision was well enough grounded
for the Maori people to feel a justified sense of grievance that the Bill
is a majoritarian and racist attempt to rob them of their property. New Zealand
is professedly a democracy, and Parliament is of course sovereign, but the
naked use of legislation to overturn a court decision must always look like
an attack on the Rule of Law, which is bound to be destabilising -- especially
when the issue is a minority's rights.
Let me emphasise that we have long been in favour the National Party's
current position of opposition to racial privileges for Maoris -- in fact,
we held this position long before the National Party did. Routinely including
race as a research variable will routinely thrown up apparently race-based
variation which might well have appeared as a diet-based, drug-use based,
or family-structure-based (etc.) variation, if those variables were routinely
included, instead of race. (see: afaction.html
). However, one aspect of Equality is surely that one group's property rights
should not be selectively legislated into oblivion.
We would also like to take this opportunity to decry the bullying that
some Maoris -- like many Feminists -- use towards people who have been known
to say things that they dislike. I myself, for example, have occasionally
been subjected to not-so-subtle suggestions from Maoris that I might meet
with an automobile accident. Presumably, this is because I say things such
as that Maori loan-words in English should not be pronounced in a "proper"
Maori way, unless Maoris themselves return the complement by pronouncing English
loan-words in Maori in a "proper" English way. One senior Maori
teacher at The Correspondence School only just restrained himself from punching
me, when I expressed this point of view to him. Maori women (including Law
students) are also, in my experience, amongs the most physically aggressive
of Feminists. Because Maoris leave school relatively young, on average, Maoris
are particularly easy meat for simplistic Feminist, man-hating propaganda,
which many Maoris then take to be God's Truth.
Likewise, we are not so naive as to think that Non-Maoris would not be
excluded, in some cases at least, from areas of the seabed and foreshore that
Maoris were allowed to take control of. For example, I have been told that
a group advocating the abolition of separate Mori seats in Parliament were
ordered off a beach at Waitangi on Waitangi Day in one year (in 2003, I think),
on the grounds that it was a "Maori beach" !
Nevertheless, the New Zealand Equality Education Foundation believes that
Justice must be done. There has been a lot of talk on the political Right
of the need to end the so-called Maori "Grievance Industry". Suggestions
made in this context involved speeding up the processing of Waitangi Tribunal
claims, which seems quite reasonable. However, passing this Seabed and Foreshore
Bill will create a whole new Grievance Industry ! Putting these two facts
together suggests that the Right is less interested in doing Justice than
in being able just to forget about Maoris.
From a practical point of view, too, passing this Bill will just serve
to increase the "market share" and credibility of those "radicals"
who might otherwise appear to be on the lunatic fringe of Maori society. These
radicals are only using the Treaty of Waitangi for what they can get out of
it, and it is clear that they have racist constitutional aims which are incompatible
with any reasonable interpretation of the Treaty -- and these aims will only
gain in respectability within Maoridom, when Maoridom is radicalised by the
passing of this Bill.
There is also the international dimension. There is a vast international
list of entities ready and willing to turn the Maoris into heroic victims
and the rest of New Zealand into an international pariah on this issue, we
No matter that the term "indigenous" is incoherent, as usually
used (see: dumbindi.html ). The international
Indigenous Rights movement, Hollywood, and the international Human Rights
movement -- plus countries such as Japan, where expansionist ideas have often
been linked to theories of affinities between Japan and other Pacific peoples
-- are, we believe, ready and willing to turn New Zealand into another South
Africa. A lot of racists are ready and willing to feed on the racist tradition
that, if your ancestors had a white skins and used a sailing boat to conquer
a territory that makes you a "Colonialist" -- whereas if your ancestors
had non-white skins and conquered territories in canoes, on foot or on horseback,
this turned them into indigenous inhabitants of the countries they conquered.
The basic racism underlying this Bill, we feel, is a conservative wish
to keep the Maoris in their place -- at the bottom of the economic heap. We
all feel better if we can look down on someone -- in this case, on Maoris.
It is clear that the defeat of this Bill might well bring economic windfalls
to many Maoris, giving them control of economically important resources which
would take many of them off welfare benefits and out of crime, and give them
self-respect. The "False Prophet" said: "There's no use in
exalting the humble and the meek. They don't remain humble and meek once they're
exalted". We can't expect Maoris to be devoid of arrogance if their economic
situation improves, but that is not a good enough reason to deny them their