Water off a duck's back


By Michael Laws

Whether it's viewing Pixar's latest epic or Tinkerbell's candy-coated fluff, we are but slaves to kiddish command. Fortunately, movie moguls understand our sense of school holiday entrapment and try to enliven our gloom with their wry and sly fare.

While the kids laugh at the slapstick, we guffaw at the cult references and re-appreciate old-fashioned morality tales. So how instructive this week that the Maori Party should provide their own holiday rendition of The Boy Who Cried Wolf as they threaten, yet again, to uncouple from the National Party over something not very important.

Prime Minister John Key is their latest whipping boy because he had the temerity to express a truth: that the Waitangi Tribunal has no powers to mandate or manipulate legislation. That any recommendations it may care to make, are as persuasive as politics allows. Its latest hearing – designed to stall the Government's partial privatisation of its energy companies – is likely to be yet another example of excess. A waste of time, money, effort and energy.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has pronounced herself mortally offended by such observation. She is seeking urgent talks with the prime minister in an effort to avert a crisis of her own making.

An informal survey of the party's membership is under way. The Government plane is in danger, political media tell us, of losing its left wing. Or at least its left rudder. Which won't happen.

The Maori Party is but a remnant of its former self, having been cannibalised by both Mana and Labour. Its only hope for future electoral favour is to deliver tangible wins. Shorn of its quasi-government status, it has no show of doing so.

When this week's planned meeting does take place, Key should do more than politely nod. He should inform the Maori Party that the wider electorate has had enough of Maori separatism and privilege in any guise. That while such sentimentality and sensitivity may be indulged during brighter times, it is just liability when the economy is in dire straits. Especially when ordinary New Zealanders – Maori and non-Maori – are fighting a daily struggle to make ends meet. And losing that struggle, in too many cases.

The idea that more rewards, more favours and more tax finances should be delivered to one segment of the population – simply because of their culture and their colour – is inherently wrong.

The Treaty may be our guide, but it can never be an arbiter. It's a simple truth. And this is the season to deliver it. And it won't even need 3D, Dolby sound or a tub of popcorn to be understood.

Sunday Star Times, 15th July 2012

source: data archive