Maori seats against the Treaty of Waitangi

It seems that whatever happens in New Zealand, we are told we have to reserve some special space for Maori as part of our “treaty obligations”. The Maori Party wants to have special Maori seats on the Auckland council for example.

Many people say the Treaty of Waitangi established a “partnership” between Maori and the Crown.

But most of the people promoting these ideas don’t seem to have actually read the Treaty. The three articles of the Treaty of Waitangi are:

Article the first

The Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand and the separate and independent Chiefs who have not become members of the Confederation cede to Her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty which the said Confederation or Individual Chiefs respectively exercise or possess, or may be supposed to exercise or to possess over their respective Territories as the sole sovereigns thereof.

Article the second

Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession; but the Chiefs of the United Tribes and the individual Chiefs yield to Her Majesty the exclusive right of Preemption over such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective Proprietors and persons appointed by Her Majesty to treat with them in that behalf.

Article the third

In consideration thereof Her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the Natives of New Zealand Her royal protection and imparts to them all the Rights and Privileges of British Subjects.

To summarise, the chiefs were to hand over all sovereignty to the Queen (Article 1), while retaining full ownership of all their lands and possessions (Article 2), and gaining the protection of the British Empire and the same rights as any other British subjects (Article 3).

Importantly, in Article 3 the Treaty established one law for all New Zealanders.

The Treaty neverĀ  suggests a partnership. In fact, it specifically precludes it, when it says the Chiefs will “cede to Her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty”.

Some people claim the Maori version was translated poorly, and the Chiefs understood this to mean something else. So, what does a literal English translation of the Maori version state?

The Chiefs of the Confederation and all the chiefs who have not joined that Confederation give absolutely to the Queen of England for ever the complete government over their land.

This is even clearer!

The Chiefs may however have had a different idea to the Crown about what this word “government” actually extended to. They may have believed the Crown would have had a more limited role and they would have had greater freedom to run their own affairs. If you believed this to be true, you could argue for a smaller government on the basis of the Treaty.

But I have never heard anyone argue for this. On the contrary, most activists appear to be socialists wanting to extend the State further, while giving special treatment to anyone with brown skin.

I am sure those who signed the Treaty would be disgusted.

We are one heavily interbred people. It is pointless to maintain a racial divide that becomes more artificial with each generation. Let’s embrace the Treaty of Waitangi instead, and have one law for all New Zealanders.

Compulsory “volunteer” work

Gordon Brown has decided he wants to make volunteer work compulsory:

Gordon Brown has announced plans that could see every teenager in the country complete up to 50 hours of volunteer work by the age of 19.

The automatic reaction to something being compulsory is to resent it. No-one likes being told what to do. This is one reason why schoolkids here will play up in class and bunk – school is compulsory. In Africa by comparison, kids will walk for miles in bare feet to attend school, just like people in the West did in former generations – because school is a privilege that they value.

If Gordon Brown wants to ensure kids hate “volunteer” work and don’t choose to do any more than the bare minimum 50 hours, this is the way to go about it.

It can never be compulsory to volunteer. Check a dictionary.

Hat tip: Fairfacts Media

Plastic bag tax

National’s resident greenie, Dr Nick Smith, is considering a tax on plastic bags because, in his personal opinion, “New Zealanders were over-using plastic shopping bags”. We’ve lived in Ireland with such a tax, so here is a brief summary of the good and the bad:

The Good:

  • Reusable bags don’t break. They are much nicer to use than disposable ones.

The Bad:

  • You use disposable plastic bags for all sorts of things – lining rubbish bins for example. When you don’t get them from the supermarket you are forever running out of them, and have to buy plastic bin liners – defeating the environmental purpose of the tax.
  • Reusable bags are bulky.
  • You often forget to take enough reusable bags with you, and have to either buy more reusable bags or disposable ones. So in practice you waste money one way or another.
  • Most reusable bags are plastic. It must take a lot of resources to make one, so you would have to replace a large number of disposables with one reusable to make it worthwhile. In practice they only have a limited life before they get lost or have something disgusting spilt through them, so you don’t actually replace as many disposables as you would expect with each reusable bag. The environmental benefit is therefore questionable.
  • The main winners are the supermarkets. They sell more reusable bags (with their own logos on). They sell plastic bin liners as people aren’t recycling disposable plastic bags as bin liners. And in Dr Smith’s plan, they might even get the plastic bag levy itself. Expect the supermarkets to support this plan, but not for environmental reasons.

So I can only think of one advantage – reusable bags are strong and good to use. There is nothing to stop you using reusable bags now for this reason, and many people already do (for example MacDoctor).

It is highly debatable whether there is any environmental benefit from this whatsoever. Plastic bags are a minute fraction of NZ’s waste (0.2% according to the Dominion Post), much of which will currently be recycled supermarket bags containing rubbish. Most of these will be replaced by new plastic bin liners if this law goes through – in other words, there will be less recycling, and plastic bags will still be about the same amount of NZ’s waste, just more expensive.

Fortunately we have a far more sensible Prime Minister:

Mr Key said there was no way he was going to support a charge that was in effect a tax going into the coffers of supermarkets. “My preference is to find a voluntary and industry-led solution,” he said.”I’ve made that very clear to the minister.”

Asked whether he would preferred to have known in advance about both issues, he replied: “I think it would be more useful if I found out about things before I read about them in the newspaper.”

Good on you Mr Key!

Other comments around the blogs:
MacDoctor: Fantastic Plastic
Madeleine: Blue is the New Green: National’s Bag Tax
Homepaddock: Bin that idea, Nick
Not PC: Nanny Nick taxes bags
Whale Oil: More on Bags

Sir Roger Douglas’ economic plan

Now I won’t say I agree with every detail of his plan, but Douglas certainly seems to understand why we are in the mess we are in better than any other politician.

As voters, we seem to have bought the false notion that we can all be made wealthy through government. Elections have become an opportunity for politicians to promise they will take more money off you, only to give it back to you in another way – a gold card for superannuitants, a tax credit for working families, or an interest write off for students. If we each pretend that we can be made wealthy through taxing others, then we’re destined for poverty. We are increasingly relying on others – be they foreign lenders or domestic taxpayers – to sustain our way of life.

You don’t hear that sort of straight talking every day from politicians!

Douglas’ plan is to set up an alternative taxation system that you can opt into – with low taxes but you must pay for your own health care and superannuation – or you can stay in the current system. There would certainly be practical problems with maintaining two separate systems alongside each other (such as having some people eligable for state-funded healthcare while others are not), but it is an intriguing idea, and a good contrast with National’s plan. Read his full plan here.

On the tax side, he is proposing a tax-free threshold of $30,000 for individuals, $50,000 for families, and 15% taxation above that, with a flat 15% tax rate for business. That would really draw industry back into the country.

But there is a big “marriage tax” in there – note that if you have two single incomes your tax-free threshold is collectively $60,000, while if you marry it is now only $50,000 (plus a certain amount per child). It would be far better to have a $60,000 tax-free threshold for families, and not incentivise family breakdown. You should never subsidise something unless you want more of it.

On the welfare side, he is proposing:

To ensure that families are able to adequately provide for themselves, there will be a guaranteed minimum income for families. The guaranteed minimum income will ensure that, should they find themselves earning less than the tax-free threshold, families will receive a tax credit to boost their income.

The problem with this is that there is little incentive to work at all – it is unclear but reads like you have a guaranteed tax-free income of $50,000 (inflation adjusted to boot), which you can live on quite comfortably especially if you don’t have the expenses of having a job (fuel to get to work, work clothes etc). Even if you have to be doing some work to get it, there is little incentive to work more than a couple of hours a week. It is only for families, but if you don’t have to be married to call yourself a family it could be claimed by flatmates – this is far higher than the student allowance!

A guaranteed minimum income is a simple way of providing a welfare safety net, however having it set so high is likely to be a strong disincentive to work. Or you can work, and still get your free money. Consider this scenario.

  • You have no job, and are surviving on government handouts.
  • A farmer takes pity on your family, gives you free accommodation in a spare house, free use of a work vehicle and as much produce as you can eat.
  • Out of gratitude you “help him out” on the farm.

It’s a win-win situation:

  • You get almost all your expenses for free and pocket most of your welfare money, effectively earning far more than most farm workers.
  • The farmer gets a cheap worker.

It is impossible to completely avoid such fraud, but it would help if the “guaranteed minimum income” were set at a level of basic subsistence, to provide for those out of work while encouraging them to actually get a job. Requiring a couple to be married to qualify would help the money go to genuine families, although people could marry just to get the cash. Giving part of it in food or accommodation vouchers would help to discourage fraud, although not prevent it. It would also help if you only lost 50c of your tax credits for every dollar you earned – meaning even if you can only get a part-time job you will still end up with more cash in the hand, rather than working hard and ending up with the same pay as if you did nothing.

So Douglas’ plan needs some work, in my opinion. But it offers a good alternative perspective to National’s current big spending plans, and I hope Key is willing to listen and incorporate some of Douglas’ ideas.

Child dropped from bridge – blame politicians

A man has dropped his 4 year old daughter to her death from a bridge in Australia. So who do people blame?

The roading authorities. Because there weren’t any safety barriers stopping him.

That is ridiculous. If someone is wicked enough to want to kill their daughter, they’ll figure out a way to do it. If there are barriers on that bridge they’ll just do it somewhere else. You can’t expect the government to prevent every problem. Why do people have to find someone other than the perpetrator to blame whenever something like this happens?

No, this girl died because her father is a sick idiot. That is all.

A new ‘lost generation’?

The recent case of children being adopted by a gay couple against the wishes of their family in Scotland is shocking, and makes you wonder how this thing can happen in the West. But social engineering like this has a long history.

For over a century it was the policy of the Australian government to forcibly remove Aboriginal children from their families to be raised by white families. They believed if the children were removed from the “corrupting influence” of their parents they would grow into “good” members of society. This was a disgusting, racist practice that resulted in a “lost generation” of Aborigines that do not know their ancestry, and was finally halted in the 1970s. But it was just social engineering by people who genuinely believed they were doing the right thing for the children.

Today we have some people who believe they know what is best for children (being raised by gay parents for example), and believe it is in the child’s best interest to be taken from their families to allow this.

How is this different?

Also, if a child is taken from their family because a parent smacks them, because the current crop of bureaucrats believe smacking is “wrong”, how is this different?

The State has no right to kidnap children from a loving family. Certainly, as Sb has pointed out, if the parents are actually abusing their children this must be dealt with through the criminal justice system, but that is relatively rare.

We MUST NOT allow this destructive social engineering to take hold in New Zealand.

Children forced into adoption by gay couple

Two young children are to be adopted by a gay couple, despite the protests of their grandparents.

The devastated grandparents were told they would never see the youngsters again unless they dropped their opposition.

Right, this is completely wrong on so many levels. Certainly I don’t like the idea of gay adoption. But the biggest issue is

Why is the State dictating who raises the children at all?

This should be the decision of their family. The State has no business taking children away from a loving family, full stop.

KG at Crusader Rabbit asks “Time for insurrection?“. I don’t know if they are serious or not. But taking people’s children away is serious business, and some otherwise law-abiding people will feel forced into violence to protect them, especially in the heat of the moment. Policies like this could certainly lead to civil unrest, if not armed revolt. Hopefully our government can have the sense to step back and not provoke people into that.

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