What makes a country great?

It’s a timely question to ask, because over the last few weeks, with ferries running aground, air force planes breaking down, and electricity pylons falling over, we’ve all had cause to question whether New Zealand can still be regarded as a highly developed western nation, or whether we have become a struggling backwater.

The truth is that first world status must be earned. Regrettably over recent times we’ve taken our eye off the ball and fallen badly behind. We can no longer say, hand on heart, that we are a world leader in education, healthcare, infrastructure, or any of those other foundations of a civilised society.

Fortunately, the way to build a successful society is not a mystery. It’s just unfortunate that too many of our leaders have been blinded by their own agendas to be able to see what’s needed.

There are a number of core principles that underpin highly successful societies. The first is individual freedom.

Freedom gives us the ability to think and speak our mind without fear of retribution. It gives us the right to participate in our democracy at every level.

A free society is one where different values and cultures are respected, and where everyone has a right to live according to their own beliefs.

New Zealand’s Bill of Rights goes some way towards protecting those rights and values, but as we found out to our cost during the Covid pandemic, it does not go far enough.

A second principle underpinning successful societies is the right of individuals to enjoy the rewards of their own effort. Motivating people to work hard to improve their circumstances is the key to building a better quality of life for future generations.

But let’s not forget that governments exist by consuming the wealth created by others. Light touch governments, like Singapore, which consume only around 20 percent of a country’s annual income, are considered to be free market economies. It’s no coincidence that the most prosperous countries have light-touch governments.

At the other end of the spectrum, heavy-handed governments dig deep into the pockets of their citizens. In extreme cases, societies effectively become servant states where citizens are forced to kowtow to the demands of a privileged elite.

The point is that personal reward is the incentive that drives the wealth creators and risk takers in a society to innovate and create economic growth. That’s why socialism is such a catastrophic failure.  

A third principle of highly successful societies is having a mindset firmly focussed on the future. History is for memories. What matters is not only what’s done today, but what is planned for tomorrow.

And that’s why the agenda of the Maori elite, who seek to gain power by dragging us back to the past, is so damaging.

Those seeking advantage from race, are obsessed with the past. They not only re-write history to bolster their claims of racial victimisation, but they indoctrinate children with their poison.

This backwards looking race-based approach, has now become a serious handbrake on New Zealand  society. Ever since the passing of the 1975 Treaty of Waitangi Act by the Kirk Labour Government to establish the Waitangi Tribunal as a permanent commission of inquiry into Treaty breaches, the country has been focussed on the past.

Former Labour Justice Minister Sir Geoffery Palmer exacerbated the problem in 1985 when he extended the Tribunal’s mandate back to 1840, and then in 1986, when he inserted undefined “Treaty Principles” into legislation through the State-Owned Enterprises Act.

His Resource Management Act, that required anyone requesting a resource consent from Councils to consult with Maori, has been a disaster. As a result of 20 years of on-going extortion by Maori, RMA compliance costs have significantly contributed to the unaffordability of housing and other services in New Zealand.

The reality is that as long as we remain mired in the past – tangled up in the politics of race and the Treaty – New Zealand will continue to fail.

We will become a racist backwater – a divided nation where the tribal elite call the shots and all other New Zealanders become second class citizens in their own country.

In fact, this week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, research historian Dr John Robinson, believes that New Zealand has already become a racist society:

We live in a strange world, not the one I was born into in 1940, the year of the hundredth anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi.  This is not the same country; there is no feeling of national purpose and unity, of a fair go, or of working together with and for one another in a friendly community.  Young people are alienated; they, like the country, lack a moral compass.

The foundations of New Zealand were laid down by those British who had just put an end to slavery.  They would never have written, or agreed with, a Treaty that divided the country into two unequal races, having asserted the very opposite, that all New Zealanders were equal British subjects.  This was a precious legacy for the new nation, to be safeguarded and never be taken for granted.

New Zealand has paid the price of ignorance and inactivity, allowing a determined minority to build a tribal, ‘indigenous’, race-based division which destroys the claim to equality and liberty of all others.

Dr Robinson is right. History shows that divided societies fail. No nation can prosper when one sector advances at the expense of another.

In fact, since New Zealand is an immigrant nation, with our ancestors arriving at different times and from all corners of the globe, it makes no sense at all to draw a line at some arbitrary point in our history and say some are more privileged than others.

Societies only work for all citizens when everyone is valued equally – irrespective of family background, the colour of their skin, or any other attribute. That’s not to say everyone will end up with an equal status, but in a free society, the poorest have an opportunity to become rich, the weakest can become strong, and even those who are the most disadvantaged can become leaders.

That was the vision of Martin Luther King: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

His call for equality and freedom, which was delivered during a march to Washington in 1963, became a defining moment in history.

Who could have ever imagined that here in New Zealand the elite of Maoridom would be attempting to turn back the clock, to replace equal rights with race-based rights in order to take control of the country.

That’s the overarching ambition of this influential clique that has been on a 40-year journey to seize power. The problem is that the serious threat they pose to our society has been dismissed as fanciful and few elected leaders have had the courage to take the matter seriously.

The division accelerated after the 2020 election when Labour empowered the tribal elite to move into overdrive to progress their agenda. Their blueprint, He Puapua, revealed that their grand plan is to replace democracy with tribal rule by 2040.

To achieve this goal, the media was bought off through a $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund that required recipients to promote a fake Treaty ‘partnership’ agenda to justify tribal rule.

The public service and influential agencies within the private sector were captured through legislation and regulation forcing commitments to Treaty principles and co-governance.

Even the Judiciary has been ensnared: by declaring that “tikanga”, or Maori custom, is part of New Zealand’s common law; they have undermined the Rule of Law, enabling it to mean whatever Maori activists want it to mean.

Nor are the elite of Maoridom taking the Coalition’s promise to remove race-based rights from legislation lying down. They are doing everything they can to preserve the framework for tribal rule they established under the Ardern-Hipkins Government, so that when a coalition with Labour is again elected, they will be ready to replace democracy with tribal rule.

As a result, they are fomenting racial division and disharmony at every opportunity, using the Waitangi Tribunal whenever they can to do their dirty work.

Perhaps their intimidation is working, because even though the Coalition was elected on a promise of removing Treaty principles and race-based rights from legislation, two Bills that are now in front of Parliament contain Treaty principles and co-governance – just as if Labour was still in Government.

The Hauraki Gulf Marine Protection Bill not only includes a Treaty principles clause but it establishes marine protection areas that ban fishing for everyone – except Maori. And the Fast Track Approvals Bill allocates a statutory co-governance role to the tribal elite through one of four positions on the Expert Panels established to assess whether projects should proceed.

So, while our elected leaders are dragging their feet over their commitment to equal rights, our once proud egalitarian society is being fractured by an emerging elitist cult of entitlement and superiority that was epitomised by the claim made to a Select Committee by the Maori Party MP Mariameno Kapa-Kingi about children in State care: “They are not New Zealanders. They are Maori children.”

But the Coalition should never forget the fatal flaw that lies at the heart of claims by the Maori elite that the Maori race is superior.

The world’s largest ever biological research collaboration, the Human Genome Project, which was launched in 1990 to map human DNA, found that humans share the vast majority of our genetic makeup, proving, without a shadow of a doubt, there is only one race – the human race.

In other words, there is no genetic basis for race. There is no Maori race. Being Maori is a political construct used by the tribal elite to gain political advantage and swindle New Zealanders out of public resources that belong to us all.

With no genetic basis for race, the tribal elite can be exposed as frauds. They use bullying and intimidation to get their way, calling anyone challenging their supremacist agenda a racist.

If this is to be stopped, the Coalition needs to do more than just pay lip service to their election promises. They need to take this situation seriously and put a stop to the division and destruction that’s happening right now under their nose.

They also need to face up to the reality that New Zealand will never be safe from the threat of a tribal takeover until all references to “race” are removed from legislation.

In fact, it’s an indictment of successive governments that in spite of the revelation of the Genome Project that classification by race is political not biological, such categorisations have remained in public policy as a mechanism for awarding privilege.

This scam must stop. All special rights by race must be removed from our Statute books. That includes the Waitangi Tribunal and the Maori seats.

The tribal elite are using their past to enrich their future. Regrettably, this bandwagon is supported by half of the political parties in Parliament.

But the cost can be counted in the erosion of New Zealanders’ living standards as our country fails to prosper. And as long as New Zealand remains mired in the past, we will continue to flounder.

If we are to become a successful nation like a Singapore or Switzerland, the myth of racial superiority must be replaced with an overarching commitment to equality – valuing all members of our society equally and ensuring no one is left behind.

New Zealand needs our elected leaders to step up and refocus the country on building success, where those who work hard and demonstrate initiative will be rewarded, while those who undermine equality and demand racial superiority will be condemned.

Dr Muriel Newman established the New Zealand Centre for Political Research as a public policy think tank in 2005 after nine years as a Member of Parliament. A former Chamber of Commerce President, her...

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