I recently blogged about an opinion piece Dr Tom Johnson had published in the Napier Mail. He was arguing that the Treaty was creating race based division in New Zealand. Dr Johnson is a big fan of the New Zealand Centre for Political Research.
In this weeks Napier Mail he responded as follows:
I feel as if I have arrived. Dr Johnson claims that I am a product of Gramsci’s cultural hegemony. As I see it this means that I agree with the proposition that “in Gramsci’s view, a class cannot dominate in modern conditions by merely advancing its own narrow economic interests. Neither can it dominate purely through force and coercion. Rather, it must exert intellectual and moral leadership, and make alliances and compromises with a variety of forces.”
Now I have never been a student of Gramsci. My research of his thinkings is based on a wikipeda search so is limited. But do I believe that power should only come via intellectual and moral leadership, and with alliances and compromises with a variety of forces? Hell yes. Certainly I do not believe that money or violence should be the dominant reason for being given power.
And this is where Dr Johnson and I disagree. I believe that the Treaty grants partnership between the government and Maori. Not governments right to dominate by economic and military power, as has happened in the past.
Now I’m pakeha, and my family has been in New Zealand for over 120 years. Do I feel guilty about decisions that were made in the past by my forefathers? When we consider the context in which they were made, no. Do I think the mistakes made in the past should be rectified. Yes. It’s funny that Dr Johnson somehow forgets that it was Sir Doug Graham, a minister in Jim Bolger’s National Government that negotiated some of the earliest Treaty settlements. To me it’s about being fair and honouring contracts. Perhaps Sir Doug Graham was of similar mind. Simple as that really.
How I came to this view should be irrelevant. That Dr Johnson argues otherwise shows how insular his thinking is. However given the amount of education his generation had on Treaty issues when they were younger it comes as no surprise. In this respect I feel sorry for him. What I do see is a younger generation who are far more understanding of the importance of the Treaty in modern New Zealand. This encourages me greatly and is all that really matters