Jul 12, 2011

Native Affairs Debate

I often find myself disagreeing with Brian Edwards, but I agree and support his praise of Maori TV and Native Affairs. Last night’s debate between Dr Don Brash and Dr Pita Sharples was brilliant. Julian Wilcox’s handling of the debate was perfect as well. He was even handed and he posed the questions that needed to be asked. Native Affairs is easily the best current affairs show in New Zealand and Julian is the best presenter. Full credit to Maori TV.

In terms of who won the debate, I’ll tentatively call it for Pita. Pita remained largely composed and raised stronger points, including the need for equality and the need for specific measures to address inequality. Brash largely relied on the notion that Article III bars Maori from enjoying rights that other New Zealanders do not enjoy, while conveniently ignoring Article II may I add, and he also hammered the argument that Maori enjoy some sort of constitutional privilege. God knows what he meant by this. For more analysis on the debate see Tumeke and Kiwipolitico.

As an aside I love it how Brash calls it “the Maori issue”. Although old man Brash attempts to argue substantively, he always reverts to offensive terms, slurs, anecdote, selective readings of history and warped interpretation of fact. He calls Maori “animist” – which is fine, however the word carries negative connotations and is too similar to animalistic – Brash also slurred Pita Sharples calling him a “radical”. Brash frequently reverted to what “people tell him”, he conveniently ignored Article II and he then went on to advocate the minimum wage which discriminates against young people. I thought Brash was all about equal rights? Apparently not.     

Every time this rights debate surfaces I wish a Maori politician would echo Thomas Jefferson:

There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.  


  1. I was dissapointed. I thought Julian missed his opportunity to nail Brash. He rattled Brash with his question regarding ACTs support for private property rights yet not supporting Maori through the F&S and CMA acts. Brash managed to slide out of that. Julian should've swung him back on to that point. And there were other moments that lacked that killer blow.

    Equally I felt Sharples lacked any killer blow. I agree Brash was very selective in his use of Article 3 at the expense of the far more important article 2 rights which I believe do confer equal obiligations on the Crown to have to consult if not in fact negotiate on a required equal footing with Maori. But just not grabbed and run with.

    I have to say, the minimum wage - well numbers don't lie. The correlation between the time the minimum wage was got rid of, to the appalling youth unemployment spike is too strong to deny. I can't help but feel you contradict yourself here particularly in light of your very good Jefferson quote. Youth are not equal in the job market. They don't have the wisdom or experience to foot with older more experienced workers who will work at minimum wage. The youth wage gives a foot in the door re first job opportunities.

  2. Oops, just a quick correction to my previous post. I mean 'youth' as opposed to 'minimum' wage.

  3. Anon, Julian's job wasn't to 'nail' Brash, that was Sharples' job.


  4. Let's get real. Native Affairs 'nails' people all the time. Julian did it to Sharples during straight after the by-election (Sharples v Harawira). So NA does take a partisan approach. And int this instance, given that Brash was making the extraordinary claims (not Sharples), Julian was well within 'boundaries' to go after Brash - maybe nail isn't the right word - so let's go with probing questions and keep directing Brash back when he tried his 'slippy slidy' thing.

  5. AFTER the by-election being the operative words there. Hone wound up with 49% of the vote, Sharples' man 8% of the vote. Those numbers dictated who would get the criticism.

  6. I've got to say your assessment of a Sharples victory doesn't seem at all tentative. I don't see a single criticism of Sharples or praise for Brash. Frankly to go by what you've described it sounds like Sharples hit it out of the park.



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