Wednesday, November 25, 2020

In New Zealand today ....

 On Morning Report, we heard again that structural racism was behind the forced uplifts of newborn Maori babies from mothers whom Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry for Children, deemed incapable of looking after them properly.

We hear a lot about structural, aka “institutional”, racism. It falls into the same category as so-called unconscious bias, which can be defined as the bias you have when you didn’t know you had a bias. (So how do you know you have it? Because woke activists tell you. They recognise it even when you can’t.)

Structural racism is an ingenious notion because it means racism no longer needs to be intentional or even conscious. We’re told it’s an intrinsic part of the power structure created by privileged Pakeha.

By this yardstick all whites are racists. We are all smeared with the taint of racism, regardless of how much goodwill we might feel toward Maori or people of other ethnicities. The purpose of this is to make us feel guilty and ashamed of the society we’ve created, and therefore more amenable to radical change. That’s what makes it such an ingenious concept.

But back to that Morning Report item, in which we heard from RNZ’s Maori news director, Mani Dunlop, that besieged Oranga Tamariki boss Grainne Moss now concedes that the “structural racism” represented by baby uplifts has had detrimental consequences for the relationship between Maori and the Crown. (Incidentally, the line between journalism and activism is now so hopelessly blurred that I’m not sure we can rely on Mani Dunlop for neutral, balanced reportage on issues concerning Maori.)

We’re told there’s an urgent need for change in the way Oranga Tamariki operates. Dunlop reminded us that Maori babies are five times more likely than non-Maori to be taken from their mothers, as if that’s conclusive evidence of structural racism.

Taken at face value, it’s certainly a damning statistic, and few people would deny that forced uplifts must be a very traumatic experience. But rather than accepting the five-to-one figure as proof of racism, shouldn’t we consider the possibility that Maori babies are disproportionately at risk of harm, and ask how that might be remedied?

Later in the programme we were told that transgender people are having trouble accessing “gender-affirming” health care. Some have to travel to other towns to obtain prescriptions for hormone treatment or see a psychologist. One such person, who identified as neither male nor female, complained that “they” (RNZ uses the gender-neutral pronoun) couldn’t get public funding for surgery to remove breast tissue and had to raise the money from family members.

Apparently it’s now the taxpayers’ responsibility to ensure that free “gender-affirming” health care is available on tap for people with every permutation of sexual or gender identity, including some that were unheard of a few years ago. They’re a tiny minority, but their needs are evidently so urgent that we must have a national strategy to deal with them. We even learned there’s an organisation called the Professional Association of Trans-Gender Health Aotearoa. (Of course there is, Karl; don’t be silly.)

Meanwhile, over on NewstalkZB, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta was trying to explain to Mike Hosking why she intends to abolish a law that allows voters to veto council proposals to create special Maori wards.

While emphasising how much she valued local democracy, Mahuta clearly didn’t think this should extend to voters exercising their right to reject the idea of race-based wards that provide Maori with a short cut to power.

All the evidence indicates that when strong Maori candidates run for councils, they have a good chance of being elected. If more Maori could be encouraged to engage in the democratic process (or as Kelvin Davis put it in 2016, “get off their arses and vote”), their prospects would be even better.

But Mahuta wants guaranteed seats for Maori, which strikes me as extraordinarily patronising. It suggests Maori can’t get elected on their own merits, when history shows otherwise. But worse than that, it amounts to differential treatment on the basis of race – surely the essence of racism.

As I wrote in a column when Northland Maori were lobbying for a greater say in local government last year, what we’re really talking about here is power through the back door. The advocates of guaranteed Maori representation want to bypass the democratic hurdles that other candidates for public office must leap over.

I pointed out in that column that in the 2016 local government elections, Porirua elected its first Maori mayor, Mike Tana, who beat a favoured Pakeha rival. Wellington acquired a Maori deputy mayor, Paul Eagle – now an MP – and a new Maori councillor who succeeded Eagle in the deputy mayoralty. Eagle, incidentally, had increased his majority in three consecutive elections.

In those same elections, South Wairarapa voters elected three Maori to their district council, Napier gained a Maori councillor and a Maori was elected to the Horizons Regional Council. All this happened without the benefit of separate Maori wards or other forms of special treatment. (I haven’t checked to see how Maori candidates did in the 2019 elections, but it doesn’t matter; the point is made.)

I also mentioned Georgina Beyer and Ron Mark, former Maori mayors of Carterton, and rugby league hero Howie Tamati, who served on the New Plymouth District Council for 15 years (and then contradictorily insisted that Maori needed their own ward). Case made, surely.

On NewstalkZB this morning, Mahuta had no convincing answer when Hosking put it to her that all Maori had to do to ensure better representation in local government was to run for office. But at least the question was put.

On Morning Report, by contrast, people promoting the identity politics agenda are rarely, if ever, challenged with awkward questions. State radio’s flagship news and current affairs show has morphed into a Woke Chronicle: a daily recitation of grievances and demands by minority groups whose special pleading is accepted without so much as a raised eyebrow.

New Zealand has to decide what type of place it wants to be: a diverse, harmonious, tolerant, multicultural country with a common interest in prosperity and freedom, or a splintered one in which multiple groups jostle for special treatment on the basis of real or imagined differences of ethnicity, sexual preference, culture, religion, gender or any one of the many other divisive “identities”. I think I know which society most New Zealanders would opt for.



Andy Espersen said...

It is such relief to read this blog, Karl. Thank you. Here you clearly identify the real villain, the real threat to our NZ civilisation, namely “wokeness” - a peculiar concept, very difficult to qualify satisfactorily, but clearly representative of a “Counter Enlightenment movement” –

Immanuel Kant wrote that [European] Enlightenment consists of “humankind’s emergence from its self-incurred immaturity, and its submission to the dogmas and fomulae of religious or political authority”. And its cornerstone was freedom of thought and speech. New Zealand politics are at this very moment enchained in that very philosophy.

By the racist decisions made today by our inane government we are creating a mire of racial problems for future NZ generations to extricate themselves from : hatred between our two races will increase hugely. We will conquer it in the end – but it will be be an ugly process. Enlightened humaneness and sound reason will prevail.

We are one people.

Trev1 said...

The fracturing of society into oppressors and the oppressed paves the way for a Marxist totalitarian State. Not too far to go now.

Owen said...

There was an interesting comment in I think Joel Maxwell's piece of child uplifts: he said that some of the strongest advocates of uplifts were the Maori social workers.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

But we do all suffer from unconscious bias. We must. The NZ Police says we do.

"Police understands the potential for unconscious bias when it comes to the use of discretion and decisionmaking. For this reason, we have made the identification and management of unconscious bias a priority. The first step in managing bias is having all staff identify that they have them. People can then challenge their biases to understand how they influence their decisions and behaviours. To achieve this, we have started to roll out targeted unconscious bias training to key staff across the organisation."

Lindsay Mitchell said...

And the Public Service has solved the problem of pronouns for us:

As you say.... in New Zealand Today

monty said...

It's such a relief to drop by and read your blog every few days Karl. It's like reaching a cool shady oasis with a bubbling spring of sweet fresh water after enduring brine and flies, day after day, trudging through a desert of wokeness.
Thank you so much for your input.

Homepaddock said...

Identity politics divides, forcing us to focus on what makes us different and distracting us from our common humanity.
" : ". . .groups that are formed around fixed, unchanging and non-overlapping identities—for example, sex, race, or ethnicity—while fostering tight bonds between their members, will tend to sow division and cultivate hatred between groups. These groups are likely to breed resentment, foment animosity, and promote tribalism."
Ele Ludemann

Brendan McNeill said...


As always you have correctly identified the symptoms of our cultural malaise. The ‘old’ ideas that informed the culture in which most of us who read your blog were raised have been set aside. We can no longer agree on what it means to be human, let alone what makes for human flourishing.

We are attempting to build a new social order founded upon ‘tolerance, diversity and inclusion’, but have you noticed these are not absolutes in the form of historical virtues; patience, kindness, self-control, diligence, courage, humility, faithfulness and the like, they are simply attributes that are meaningless without a context.

Should we be tolerant of domestic violence? Are there behaviours that warrant exclusion from society rather than inclusion? How do we navigate diversity of beliefs in our legal and justice system in where one rule of law is applied universally? Why shouldn’t a man have four wives, or marry his sister?

Functional societies are founded upon a common understanding of what is sacred, and agreement upon the ultimate source of authority. Both of these questions are essentially religious or ideological in nature. Interestingly, the present cultural revolution is being driven by an ideology rather than the State. The enforces are large technology companies, corporations, banks and even airlines who are scrambling to express their ‘virtue’. For these new puritans, those who hold dissenting opinions are not just wrong, but evil.

Those with an understanding of history can envision what comes next.

Andy Espersen said...

Our woke masters will not tolerate that our public services do not consist of people with the exact same proportion of skin colours as in the general population. That is unnatural, they declare – though not able to show any evidence whatsoever of just how and why that “unnatural” fact has come about. Positive discrimination is now under way to rectify the situation. This is a very blunt, social-engineering tool indeed - but there is no doubt it works. So within a few years we will indeed have the demographically (and politically) correct hues of our doctors, police, etc..

It is not realised, however, that this will inevitably lead to the actual dumbing down of our public services. Not, of course, because coloured folks necessarily are less able to function in such jobs – but simply because we introduce other, and decisive, yardsticks than excellence into our methods of appointing new staff. There is a specially constructed, psychological aptitude test on hand for each profession that each applicant must complete. There is a bottom line that each applicant must pass, pertaining to the various strengths and qualities (intelligence, moral character, emotional stability, physical strength, etc.) that the various professions ideally must possess. Up until now it has been the accepted procedure to pick the most excellent of the applicants – which, in fact, is the reason why we in New Zealand have such excellent police – and such excellent doctors.

We must at all times strive for excellence - but with this new racist factor to consider we will necessarily, logically, finish up with a less excellent police force – and with a less excellent health service. The consideration of applicants’ skin colour is completely unnecessary - and is an abomination.

Andy Espersen said...

It is so amusing to contemplate that the old Maori way of choosing, of selecting, their “trusted persons of authority”, their “wise councilors”, their chiefs, was never like the inefficient system we Europeans suffered under for millennia, namely dictatorship under the rule of inherited power and might. Just observe the Maori chiefs of old that negotiated with the crown the Treaty of Waitangi.

These were all older, immensely intelligent people with the ability to marshal their thoughts and concepts through glorious oratory. Chiefs were individuals handpicked over a lifetime for showing exceptional abilities, for being exceptionally successful through life’s ordeals. They were the pick of the bunch.

None of our present, inane insistence that “anybody will do” to become a policeman or a doctor – as long as they are tolerably able to function.

We must at all times strive for excellence - and never compromise.

Doug Longmire said...

Thank You Karl for a well written common sense article, reporting on the issues/situation clearly and without bias.
We really need journalists like you to counteract the mainstream media in New Zealand, which is becoming more and more biased to the Left.
I no longer watch TV3 news at all. It is just a woke joke !!

Hilary Taylor said...

What monty said. With knobs on after the risible prostration of Stuff(ed) yesterday...hard to even know where to start with that, but I'm sure you'll say it better than me! Re the OT fuss, so many have had so long & so much dosh to do better with our nasty underbelly, and political regimes don't dent of the strains of social putridity lurking in good ole EnZed. The latest fuss is all bout the fussers and none about the poor children.