Monday, July 17, 2017

And he says he's not racist...

Last week, Winston Peters was in full outrage mode because the Greens had dared to speak the truth and call him what he was: a racist. This week, he wants Pakeha to have a vote on whether Māori should be effectively represented in Parliament:

Mr Peters also said that if New Zealand First was part of the next government, he would let the public to decide whether to abolish Māori seats and cut the number of MPs in Parliament to 100.

He said Māori seats send a terrible message and vowed to hold a mid-term binding referendum on the two matters.

"The fact is that Māori don't need to be told that they're not good enough to be equal, or that somehow they should be handicapped or somehow they should be pigeon-holed," Mr Peters said.

What the Māori seats actually do is ensure that Māori are effectively represented in Parliament, and can never be silenced by the Pakeha majority. We also effectively have a referendum of Māori voters on them every five years when the seats are recalculated after the census. Māori have overwhelmingly chosen to be represented that way. Against that background, a referendum seems to be a calculated attempt to strip representation and silence voices Peters and his redneck followers would rather not hear.

Fundamental rights should never be decided by referendum. The good news in this case is that if Winston wants his binding referendum, he'll need legislation. And he'll never get that from the left. So I guess the question is whether National will also rule it out, or whether they're so desperate for a fourth term that they're willing to return to Brash-style racism to get it.