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.