Special treatment

By Peter Cresswell

of Not PC

Originally published in January 2007, the ideas are still relevant today.

Are we all special? I ask because John Boy Key was saying yesterday at Ratana marae both that Maori are “special,” and at the same time that Don Brash’s “message” that everyone should be equal before the law “won’t be changing,” so either we’re all special, or else he’s just talking nonsense.

In a relaxed speech that began with a short introduction in te reo, Mr Key reiterated his view that the National Party believes Maori have a special place as the Tangata Whenua.

He says the National Party wants to engage in dialog with Maori and develop a relationship that will stand the test of time…

A speech by National’s previous leader, Don Brash, on race relations led to some strain between National and Maori, and Mr Key concedes there may be bridges to mend. But he says fundamentally his message won’t be changing from Dr Brash’s – but the tone may be different.

Those two statements — one that Maori should be regarded as “special,” and the other that everyone should be equal before the law regardless of colour — are so different that either he thinks we’re all stupid, or else he thinks the meaning of words is less important than the “tone” in which those words are said, the ’emotional vibrations’ put out with the words.

Either way, he’s disgusting.

The most sensible thing said yesterday at Ratana seems to have been said by Tariana Turia. “Maori don’t need patronising politicians,” Turia is reported to have said. Maori aren’t the only ones.

UPDATE: Lindsay Mitchell puts it bluntly: “When government accords one group special status they are by necessity taking from another. There can be no privilege without some corresponding disadvantage. If one individual or group is “special” then others are not.” Couldn’t say it better myself.

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