The end of Treatygate?

So, John Ansell has brought to an end his Treatygate and Together New Zealand campaign and is, rather, providing some conditional support for the 1law4all Party (who plan to contest the next election).

So, this is the end of Treatygate. Good riddance, I say. Although Ansell has always claimed to be out to get what he calls “Griever” Māori, the tone of his campaign has really been one of forcing Māori to give up on any notion of restitution for past injustices and requiring them to give up on tikanga if they want to be proper members of New Zealand society. Ansell has railed against te reo Māori being used in documents, Māori having spiritual connections with the landscape and like, which have all been petty snipes at Māori in general rather than targeted attacks at things which could be even vague considered privileged behaviour by a minority.

That being said, just because Ansell is stepping down from his self-annointed leadership position of the (apparently) underprivileged Pākehā majority, someone else is likely to take his place, given that the steering committee of the 1law4all Party have the following agenda for equality in Aotearoa me Te Wai Pounamu:

  1. Strip from legislation all references to the Treaty of Waitangi and it’s recently invented “principles”.
  2. Abolish all race based seats and positions in central and local government.
  3. Abolish the Waitangi Tribunal.
  4. Ensure that no individual or group has preferment in legislation or funding on grounds of ethnicity.
  5. Ensure that there is no constitutional change without the support of three quarters of those voting in a referendum.
  6. End the official state promotion and enforcement of divisive bi-culturalism.
  7. Repeal the current foreshore and seabed legislation.
  8. Withdraw New Zealand from the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

A lot of this is material cribbed directly from the John Ansell hymnal, with the usual conspiratorial allegations (“[state] enforcement of divisive bi-culturalism”, for example). They then go on to say:

Those who advocate “one law for all” are on the right side of history. Those who denigrate us are either confused or malicious. How can a party that is dedicated to equal rights for all New Zealanders, regardless of race, be damned as racist? Only by fools and knaves.

How can the advocates of the 1law4all Party be branded as racist? Because they might be choosing to ignore the existing inequalities in society which has entrenched privilege with Pākehā, such that a policy of “one law for all” will do nothing to fix said inequality. Because when they advocate “one law for all”, they are basically asking Māori to abandon tikanga and accept the results of colonisation unconditionally. The people who will brand the members of the 1law4all Party are not necessarily fools and knaves, whilst those who do advocate such policies almost certainly will be.1

It remains to be seen if the 1law4all Party will go full-Ansell and use the rhetoric of “There might well have been people here before the coming of the Māori” (my suspicion is that they won’t, given the membership of people like Peter Cresswell). They do use some of the arguments Ansell developed or resurrected, such as the argument there was no real tragedy at Parihaka (but they don’t seem to be citing Kerry Bolton, which I suppose is a kind of plus?) (as Lew Stoddart has pointed out, the Parihaka article cites Kerry Bolton, whose unsavoury history and radical views on local history will not play well to the New Zealand electorate should 1law4all end up campaigning in the next election). Like Ansell, they also provide a completely decontextualised list of ways in which Māori, via funding, apparently have special privilege in Aotearoa me Te Wai Pounamu (New Zealand).2

The 1law4all website is a weird beast. Whilst it’s more clearly laid out than Ansell’s Treatygate site, it seems a step back from the information he had collated and presented. Ansell, no matter my problem with him, had an awful lot of content to hand. The 1law4all Party seems to be starting entirely from scratch, which seems odd, given how little difference there is between their agenda and Ansell’s. On the positive side, I’m probably going to be able to reuse a lot of my critique of Ansell and just swap “Treatygate” or “Together New Zealand” with “1law4all”. On the downside, if 1law4all manages to get registered as a party, the media spectacle of journalists talking with Ansell and him getting a chance to air his views is likely to be repeated with whomever ends up being the spokesperson for what is, effectively, the replacement Treatygate Party.

So, the criticism of blinkered and mistaken Pākehā views that, somehow, Māori are the real privileged people in Aotearoa me Te Wai Pounamu (New Zealand) must continue. The monarch (John Ansell) might be figuratively dead, but there will soon be a new monarch.

Oh, and said monarch has a shop where you can buy branded merchandise to show your subjectness to the royal doctrine of “one law for all”.

So, don’t rush out and buy a t-shirt!

Notes

  1. Take point 4 of their policy list, for example. When they say they will advocate to “Ensure that no individual or group has preferment in legislation or funding on grounds of ethnicity”, they are effectively claiming that if any ethnic group happens to be treated unequally by the existing way of doing things, they won’t support any legislation or funding to fix it. What great guys these 1law4all people are?.
  2. There’s an awful lot of talk about “taxpayers” on the 1law4all site, as if Māori are not proto-typical payers of tax.