Tuesday, December 14, 2021

New Zealand's march toward condominium-style co-governance

(The following is a guest post by my long-ago colleague Peter Isaac, who regularly posts at www.mscnewswire.co.nz). I think it's a succinct and insightful summary of the ideologically driven madness gripping New Zealand.)

Unbeknownst to most of its inhabitants an Oceania nation is transforming itself into the world’s newest condominium, a rare form of governance in which sovereignty is shared by two legally defined categories.

In New Zealand’s case the two categories are Maori and non-Maori.

This transition is incremental and the change is imperceptible to all but the political activists driving the split governance scheme.

This imminence of it was reinforced by the New Zealand government serving notice that it intended to nationalise municipal water.

This followed the announcement of a centralising of public health currently run by 20 elected boards centred on district local hospitals.

In both these shakeups there is scheduled to be a substantial if not dominant role for those claiming Maori heritage.

Maori electoral districts known as wards are being shunted through for local government authorities.

State broadcasting channels are ramrodding through the Maori language at every and any opportunity.

In this whole evolving framework the government taps into a deep-seated craving for New Zealand to achieve recognition on the world stage wherever progressive values command the agenda.

This is variously described as “holding our head high,” or more colloquially and more famously “punching above our weight.”

The Labour government is acutely conscious of this yearning to be seen to be leading any social advance. It now sees what amounts to condominium government as its instrument for attaining its international “best in class” status, as it sees it.

It knows it has the power to implement a condominium bipartite or two-system form of governance because its polls continue to tell it that it has the allegiance of the commanding blocs of the electorate.

These voting blocs include the entire education system and anything to do with the media-arts, along with most other public institutions.

In contrast this leaves its National Party opposition holding only the property and real estate sector and clinging with an increasingly tenuous grip to its traditional agribusiness base.

As a condominium looms for the nation it is salutary to examine the last one in Oceania. This was the New Hebrides before it achieved independence in 1980 and became Vanuatu.

Governance was shared between Britain and France. Everything existed in mirrored pairs. There were for example separate British and French governments, which meant two immigration policies and two corporation laws.

There are signs that the New Hebrides condominium experience has been studied by the local condominium governance architects. This is because language in practical terms became in the New Hebrides era the most serious impediment to smooth running, since anything official at all had to be interpreted and then re-interpreted into French and English.

The condominium scheme, the new one for New Zealand, is well under way. So anticipating the same New Hebrides language operational obstacle, government agencies daily increase their double-up of Maori and English in announcements as well as in correspondence and documents.

Officials in any capacity understand that their career prospects will be much enhanced should they use every opportunity, and at the expense of effective communication, to apply Maori words and ideally whole phrases or, better still, entire sentences.

In the old New Hebrides condominium inhabitants were given the choice of which government they wanted to be ruled by: the French one or the English one. This is the evolving pattern in the New Zealand scheme.

Matiu Rata was the Minister of Maori Affairs in the nation’s third Labour government and he was renowned for bluntly yet concisely summarising any state of affairs as he saw it.

On one occasion he was asked who exactly was a Maori. “You are a Maori if you think you are a Maori,” he declared.

As New Zealand incrementally but so purposefully moves toward condominium governance Matiu Rata’s yardstick, like the New Hebrides experience, demands earnest evaluation.

Peter Isaac is a former journalist and public relations consultant. He lives in the Wairarapa.


Trev1 said...

The New Hebrides condominium analogy only goes so far. The Aotearoa-New Zealand condominium will also have a cherry on top: the Tribal Monitoring Committee which will have oversight of the two race-based governments. Rapid progress is being made under the Ardern regime towards implementing the segregationist He Pua Pua vision; you can find a handy checklist of progress here: https://www.hobsonspledge.nz/what_it_says_and_where. There has been a minor hold-up on Three Waters but otherwise everything is tracking sweet as. You haven't read this in the media? How very surprising.

Andy Espersen said...

Great and thought provoking article from Peter Isaac – may I add to it the fact that in New Zealand's case, of the two "condominion languages” dreamt about by Labour one is as dead as a door-nail - whereas in the New Hebrides we had two living languages, in regions side by side, spoken by hundreds of millions throughout the world, complete with functioning grammars and huge, naturally developed, fully adequate vocabularies. And like all living things, once dead a language can never come to life - as all linguists will tell you. Only Israel has managed to revive a dead language, namely Hebrew. It took many years to develop this (and most likely a final, "correct" grammar has not even yet been fully determined) – and necessitated many years of banning all communication from authorities on languages other than Hebrew.

Labours hare-brained, totally absurd plan to “revive stone-age te reo Maori for all New Zealanders in the future” is a physical impossibility - period. It is believed that by “full immersion” a child can learn Maori . Yes – but only if at least one parent knows that language as his/her mother tongue - and such Maori parents no longer exist. And what about all the modern items and concepts that do not appear in old te reo? English is now the living mother tongue for all living Maori!

It can be argued that it is a cruel, psychological experiment to deprive a child from receiving a natural mother tongue. Should that not be a human right? Should not full immersion in an artificial, non-existing language be banned as possibly harmful to a child?

another man said...

Maori Apartheid is it’s name.

Unknown said...

How would it be possible to translate Maori to English successfully, when English has more than 170 thousand words and Maori between 10 and 20 thousand in common usage. Doing the mahi seems to appear with monotonous regularly. Definition, apparently means an activity. What type of activity? Looked up translation for word petrified, which in English has more than one meaning. According to online Maori dictionary means, and I quote "shit scared". Only comment to make is a mastery of vernacular language.

Andy Espersen said...

Unknown - You are so right. It is downright impossible - which is why the whole idiotic idea should be scrapped.