Friday, February 06, 2009

"A day off"

The NZ Herald polls on What Does Waitangi Day Mean To You?

I didn't even have to think about it. A day off.

* Anniversary of the Treaty: 754 (14%)
* NZ's national day: 1444 (27%)
* A day off: 3150 (59%)

And Chris Trotter makes a egg-on-your-face prediction in the Dompost;

"It is indeed a new day for the Maori people, not because, at the level of the typical Maori family, life has got materially better, but because for the first time in a long time they feel that the colonial victors want ( and need) more from them as a people than their sullen acqiuescence at being the first hired, first fired.

For that John Key will win not only their support, he'll claim their love."

Key can only fudge it for so long. Property rights, constitutional issues, economic and social disparities will all have to be faced eventually. Rather than uniting Pakeha and Maori, the Treaty stands as a reminder and reinforcer of our segregated and culturally divided histories. It will not help us to move towards better understanding, more tolerance and better economic outcomes for all. It would have happened by now.

The only NZ Prime Minister who was "loved" was Micky Savage. If people expect Key to follow in those footsteps then I am afraid he would have to prematurely depart this earth, or at the very least, his office. Savage died just after passing his cradle to the grave legacy. He was beatified. But in the decade that followed the people became highly dissatisfied with his predecessors over the working of social security. Maori in particular found they continued to be discriminated against, now by the newly formed social security department. Fraser and Nash were villified. They were the fall guys for Savage.

And returning to the beginning of this post, if I were to ring a Maori friend and put the question to her, what does Waitangi Day mean to you, I am almost certain she would reply, time and a half.

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