Brash the brave at Waitangi

FOTOPRESS A history of conflict at Waitangi – then National leader Don Brash is targeted by protesters in 2004.

Dr Don Brash appeared at Waitangi this year for the first time since his infamous 2004 visit where he had mud thrown at him. This year he accepted an invitation by organizer Reuben Taipari to speak at Te Tii marae.

Brash greeted his hosts and visitors in Te Reo, then switched to English for his speech, but listeners missed parts of it due to the constant loud heckling that he was obliged to speak over.

His speech, titled ?Where to Now??, is reproduced in full on the website of the New Zealand Centre for Political Research and can also be read on Whaleoil. Quote.

Rueben suggested that as Ngapuhi wait, and wait, for their turn at settling with the Crown, I should make some observations about how to improve the economic status of Maori New Zealanders, and Ngapuhi in particular.? End of quote.

Brash the brave! He would have known that some Maori would be violently opposed to his ideas for improving their economic status as they are the ones who won’t work, preferring instead to sit on the couch with their hands out, with oodles of time to protest and heckle. Quote.

Most Maori New Zealanders will never become economically prosperous through Treaty settlements. 

Nobody knows at this stage what the total of all Treaty settlements will be.  But let?s suppose it?s $5 billion ? five times the original so-called ?fiscal envelope? that Jim Bolger envisaged back in the nineties.  Let?s assume also that that total is invested to yield an average of 5% per annum in perpetuity. And finally let?s assume that 15% of New Zealanders, or some 750,000 people, are entitled to a share of that. 

That would increase the annual income of each Maori New Zealander by the grand total of just $333 ? better than a kick in the pants but certainly not enough to transform the economic status of Maori New Zealanders.   (Incidentally, I owe this insight to Ngati Porou leader Sir Rob McLeod.)? End of quote.

NZCPR Website

Winding up Treaty settlements is long overdue, and Brash holds the view that more can be done for Maori but it should be done on a needs-basis rather than a wants-basis. 

Brash also addressed the disproportionate number of Maori on welfare. Quote.

 Sir Apirana Ngata, in my opinion one of New Zealand?s greatest Maori leaders ? and a man I was privileged to put on New Zealand?s $50 bank note ? warned of the serious damage which the welfare state would do to Maori society.  He believed that readily available welfare would erode the proud tradition of independence which most Maori had.  And I believe his warning has been amply borne out, with a disproportionately high proportion of those on the unemployment benefit, and on the single parent benefit, being Maori.? End of quote.

So we figure out a date in the foreseeable future to wind up Treaty settlements; but how do we get Maori off welfare? Given welfare is hand-to-mouth existence, you would assume a job that pays well would be incentive enough.  Brash believes the answer to improving the economic status of Maori is in educating them for well-paid employment.  Quote.

What I would say without any fear of being contradicted, is that in the 21st century being well educated is an absolutely crucial ingredient to economic success.  That does not necessarily mean getting a tertiary qualification, but it does mean coming out of secondary school having a strong ability to read, to write, and to reason logically. 

And for that reason, I think it is a matter of enormous regret that the current Government has been so strongly opposed to partnership schools ? on the evidence to date, those schools provided enormous benefits to those pupils lucky enough to get into them, and that appeared to be especially true for those Maori pupils who were not well served by the traditional state schools.? End of quote.

I can?t disagree.  Some Maori and Pacific Islanders struggle in mainstream schools but excel in partnership (Charter) schools.

Brash is a spokesperson for ?Hobson?s Pledge? which lobbies for ?one law for everybody,? meaning equal opportunity for all New Zealanders. To give Maori equal opportunity in education means that partnership schools are essential.