A real estate agent is facing a five-year ban after refusing to complete a compulsory short course on Maori culture and tikanga.

Janet Dickson labelled the course “woke madness” in a Facebook post and said that she was going to fight for her rights “to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else”.

Her refusal is based on concerns that an industry body can force its members to complete training “on a subject that is only peripherally connected to their job under threat of losing their right to work.”

[… ] As well as hiring a lawyer Dickson is backed by lobby group Hobson’s Pledge which is headed by former National Party leader Don Brash.

The course that Dickson objected to is a one-and-a-half-hour compulsory professional development course called Te Kakano (The Seed).

“We have commenced the series with Te Kakano to provide licensees with an opportunity to develop or deepen their understanding of Maori culture, language and custom, particularly with respect to land, and an understanding of the historical context of Te Tiriti o Waitangi,” an excerpt from the course outline reads.

[…] Enlisted real estate agents must complete two hours of compulsory training as well as eight hours of training from a list of elective topics each year to retain their licence.

Te Kakano was one of the two compulsory topics for 2023 but has since moved into the elective category for 2024 – meaning it’s not compulsory for new real estate agents.

Dickson works for Harcourts International and its CEO Bryan Thomson told NZME that he had completed the compulsory course.

“I think you learn new, and often important, information from any training you do,” he said.

“For someone to take a stand like this then they must have a very strong view about it.”

Thomson said that the REA was clear about agents’ responsibilities when it came to completing compulsory training but some in the industry considered it “draconian” for someone to lose their licence for five years if they didn’t complete it.

Hobson’s Pledge head, Don Brash, also labelled the rule draconian.

“It’s inappropriate for the REA to force people to do a course that’s not relevant to their work,” he told NZME.

[…] “We don’t want a particular view of the world forced on anybody.”

Poutaki Matauranga Maori adviser at Waipapa Taumata Rau (the University of Auckland) Bernie O’Donnell told NZME it was important for realtors to understand Maori cultural values because they are in the business of selling land.

“You can’t go into that profession blindly in Aotearoa … it’s important they understand the history of their country,” he said.

Here’s the thing: for those who pushing the ToW as a ‘partnership’, it doesn’t just mean a partnership between the Crown and Maori: it means a partnership between Maori and the rest of us.

What does this mean in practice?

Using the analogy of an onion, the first layer means Maori have the right of veto. This, I’m sure you can already see is happening.

The next layer is Maori having 50 per cent control of health, education, local councils (and eventually government, although in that case it’d most likely be in the form of a Maori Upper House that will have total control over what legislation gets passed and what doesn’t).

The next layer is the private sector. You think I’m kidding? I wish I were.

As in the example above, this means requiring, for example, professionals to kowtow to the ToW as a ‘partnership’ (and I know of at least one other example). But it goes much further than that: it means that private businesses will need to have at least 50 per cent Maori employees and of course 50 per cent Maori at the top levels.

And just in case you think I’m exaggerating: remember we are dealing with people who believe that Maori rowed to Antarctica, are capable of creating nuclear fusion and also rowed regularly to England and back.

Libertarian and pragmatic anarchist. Has voted National and ACT. May have voted Labour once but too long ago to remember. Favourite saying: “There but for the grace of God go I.”