I feel sad that Dr Tom Johnson who seem unable to accept the inevitable (Soap Box – 8/7/15). He quotes the New Zealand Centre for Political Research to justify his claim that Maori claiming recompense for breaches to the Treaty of Waitangi is somehow damaging to social cohesion. It is unfortunate that the New Zealand Centre for Political Research doesn’t actually appear to do any research. I can not find any published results on their website if there is any. You would think there would be some. What I do find is a whole lot of opinions written by people who have similar views to Dr Johnson. To my mind this negates the validity of his argument. It suggests to me that it is not Maori that are damaging to social cohesion, it is those who continue to express racist and extremist views such as those involved with the New Zealand Centre for Political Research. I happen to agree with Voltaire, who said “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” Dr Johnson is entitled to his opinion. However we should not be complicit and imagine that his opinions have any basis in fact. He can quote as much as he likes about historical sales of land etc. This does not correct the issues that some of these sales were made in breech of legislation at the time, nor that governments over time have not kept other promises made under the Treaty. Maori grievances are real and cannot be ignored. If giving Mana Ahuriri first right to buy a 50% stake in Ahuriri Hawke’s Bay Airport goes some way to addressing these grievances then it should be done. It is certainly better than the alternative which may be giving back all 107,247 hectares of the Ahuriri Block. Imagine the furore that would create.
Published 17 July 15
Excitment: Must have pushed Tom Johnson’s buttons just a bit. Got this responce in the Napier Mail 22 July 15