Frequently around New Zealand you hear people say that politicians are all the same.
It’s a convenient way to dismiss any careful investigation of the truth of that statement.
New Zealand First since its inception has been committed to ‘one law for all.’
And that, amongst other principles, has made our party seriously different.
‘One law for all’ is again under threat, nowhere more so than at Ihumatao.
We can’t let protesters have their way and today we’ll set out why.
As a country, we have acknowledged past injustices where they have occurred.
We are a better country for doing so.
And in this sense the Treaty resolution process has in the main served a useful purpose.
But the Treaty was always too narrow a device to drive our country forward as a cohesive and united people.
One lament, after a long career in-and-outside parliament observing the direction of our race relations, is that in 2020 too many Maori, aided by a small minority of wokish fellow traveller elites, cannot shift their mind-set.
They are trapped in the past.
They wallow in it.
Which means they want you to wallow in it too.
Never-ending self-flagellation about the past by elites in Maoridom and in our universities and cities, not to mention certain political parties, does not serve the national interest.
These elites don’t want us to be one people with many futures.
They want us to be two peoples trapped living in a mythical past.
That is the path to division.
That is the path of separatism.
That is the path of tokenism.
That is the path of paternalism.
And it cannot be allowed to stand.
We are a country with many rich strands.
You don’t need to rely on our judgement about that.
Just look around you, at your families and in your communities.
It’s a richness to be proud of.
But if we are to have a prosperous future together we need to seriously shift gears.
Away from endlessly backwards navel-gazing;
Away from the innocent being made to feel guilty;
Away from dependence to independence.
At the start of 2017 government formation talks, New Zealand First raised with the Labour Party its concern about any repeat of the sort of politically correct policies that undermined the Helen Clark governments.
That was the foundational basis agreed prior to government formation talks even beginning.
That’s how critical it was to us.
Then, on 26 July, 2019, while travelling abroad as Foreign Minister, the Prime Minister halted the Fletchers housing development at Ihumatao.
No consultation was ever done with our party, as by Labour’s agreement with us should’ve happened.
That intervention was a terrible decision.
The land’s history was that it was freely sold to Fletchers by the local iwi, the keepers of the land.
Then along came Pania Newtown with her band of malcontents who got so much unjustified publicity, sticking mainly in the throat of traditional Maori.
She sought to overturn a legitimate sale.
Worse, she seeks to create an entire new wave of Treaty claims.
To perpetuate grievance;
To unpick settled Treaty architecture;
To keep us forever trapped in the past.
Let’s make this clear: Pania Newton and her ilk have no standing with respect to Ihumatao.
She is not mana whenua.
And so we said no to Labour.
We saw what happened when John Key became Prime Minister.
As a sop to liberal elites he invited the Maori Party into National’s fold.
They then set about wrecking the Foreshore and Seabed settlement of 2005.
On April Fool’s Day in 2011 National repealed that Act.
They replaced it with the Marine and Coastal Area Act.
They were the fools.
Because since 2011 3,500 claims that overlap, undermine, and contradict each other have been lodged.
Now we’ve got iwi fighting iwi on the foreshore and seabed issue.
How many more years will it now take to resolve these claims?
So we said no to Labour.
But three times.
We went to the wall over Ihumatao.
Labour asked us to ‘Agree to Disagree’.
We said no.
It was just too important for the country’s future.
For us it was a matter of deep principle.
For us it was fundamental to whether we maintained confidence in Labour.
So we told Labour that.
And staved off any action before the election.
But the question today is this?
If Labour governs after the election, by themselves (heaven forbid), or with the Greens (God help us all), then they will do a deal at Ihumatao.
Nothing is more certain.
So if you want a future free from the past and free of guilt choose the only party that can stop Ihumatao and its domino effect and fallout.
If you don’t want a new wave of claims on previously settled Treaty claims it’s in your hands.
If you want to live in a country where there is ‘one law for all’ only New Zealand First can protect you.
National can’t, whatever they say. They are nowhere in this race,
David Seymour is leading any who vote for him to the furthest reaches of parliament’s backbenches.
Don’t waste your vote.
We know iwi around the country are looking closely at Ihumatao.
If the Crown weakens its resolve after the election you just watch the flood of action on previously settled Treaty claims.
All of a sudden new ‘sacred ground’ will be discovered all around the country.
And if that happens the whole Treaty framework will unravel and the cost will be unbearable.
We say this election is a crucial turning point for the nation.
Veer left and the pain of division and grievance will intensify,
Veer right and you’ll be powerless to prevent that pain.
Vote for New Zealand First and we will stop any dangerous settlement at Ihumatao.
We promise you that.
We don’t ask you to take that promise on faith.
We ask you to accept our promise based on our actions these last two years.
We ask you to back not just your future but all our futures.