February 14 2017
Don Brash Orewa 2017
It never will be racist to call for equality, former National Party leader Don Brash told Orewa Rotary tonight.
Don Brash returned to Orewa Rotary, with Casey Costello, representing the Hobson’s Pledge Trust, almost exactly13 years
since his historic speech that caused one of the biggest poll jumps that any New Zealand political party had ever seen.
In 2004, Dr Brash as National Party leader presented a speech that mirrored a speech by his predecessor Bill English in
Mr English said in 2002 that “the solution to the challenges that the Treaty presents to all New Zealanders lies in a
single standard of citizenship for all”.
Hobson’s Pledge is based on the words of New Zealand’s first Governor, William Hobson, who said to each chief after they
signed the Treaty of Waitangi “He iwi tahi tatou” which translates to “we are now one people”.
The speeches of Casey Costello and Don Brash are reproduced below.
OREWA ROTARY SPEECH 14 February 2017
He iwi tahi tatou . . . . . we are now one people.
In the early 1980s the talented William James Te Wehi TAITOKO captured the hearts and smiles of New Zealanders.
Billy T James made us laugh, at ourselves, at him, at our differences and our similarities.
He delivered the most repeated seven seconds of television in New Zealand history when he joked:
“Where did I get my bag? I pinched it!”
And we laughed.
This wasn’t considered racism, casual racism, institutional racism, hate speech - it was just funny.
So, what has happened to the New Zealand of the 1980s -- when Billy T did comedy and we were allowed to laugh?
Since then we have had treaty settlements, separate Maori broadcasting, separate Maori pre-schools and schools, and a
separate Maori Party.
In 1990, the first treaty settlement was made.
A total of $2.47-billion in financial redress had been paid in 61 treaty settlements, as at March, 31, 2016.
The Maori Broadcast Funding Agency, Te Mangai Paho, was established in 1989 to fund Maori language programming.
By 1993, a total of 819 Kohanga Reo had been set up for pre-school children to protect the Maori language and culture.
By 1999, Kura Kaupapa Maori delivering total emersion education were designated as State schools.
In 2004, Maori TV was founded through Maori Broadcast Funding and a national network of 21 iwi run radio stations were
We got separate funding, separate broadcasting, separate pre-schools, separate primary and secondary schools. We soon
got a separate political party.
The Foreshore and Seabed Act in 2004 sparked the formation of the Maori Party winning four seats in Parliament in the
2005 election, going on to five seats in 2008.
This huge investment in things Maori has coincided with the growth of tribal businesses and the emergence of a Maori
There are currently 25 Maori MPs in Parliament representing just over 20% of the total number of seats.
Standing on the outside it would seem the consideration and recognition of Maori issues ensured every opportunity for
Maori to succeed.
However, we are told that Maori are suffering from “post-colonial traumatic stress disorder”.
Tariana Turia, who became co-leader of the Maori Party, used these words to liken the impact of British settlement to
the experience of Jewish survivors of the holocaust.
What message does this send?
It appears that the message is that Maori are crippled by events that began to unfold 177 years ago.
Treaty settlements, separate Maori broadcasting, separate Maori have been the official response to “the Maori problem”.
Anyone critical of this official response is immediately branded a racist.
This name calling has the effect of shutting down debate because no one likes to be called a racist.
Our Race Relations Commissioner last year created an entire, government funded website, to post our “experiences of
Last month she advocated for the Police to gather data on hate crimes.
The nation that laughed with Billy T James in the 1980s is now too scared to have a casual conversation without being
called a racist.
You are not exempt if you have Maori ancestry.
Two weeks ago, another New Zealander who the media promotes and who shall remain nameless, claims that Winston Peters is
being racist against his own race.
Accusations of casual racism, institutional racism, or hate speech, make us scared to speak freely and runs the risk
that we can never laugh at ourselves again.
I am a New Zealander, a Ngapuhi decendent, and a descendant of Anglo/Irish settlers who came here in the 1860s.
But firstly, I am a New Zealander.
We all have our journey that brought us to this country and our unifying factor is our New Zealand citizenship.
Regardless of when we or our ancestors came here we have always known that our citizenship assures us equal recognition
and representation before the law.
But this is changing, and we need to stop being complacent about the change.
This issue has never been more real and more critical to New Zealand than right now.
I served as Police officer for 14 years, mostly in South Auckland, and I can see the change taking place.
I am speaking here with Don Brash representing Hobson’s Pledge.
Hobson’s Pledge seeks to make it okay to speak out and tell our government to roll back some foolish policies* before
foolishly creating an apartheid state.
As a New Zealander I am represent our melting pot culture.
I take pride in my Ngapuhi ancestry and in the ancestry of the brave settlers who came here in the 1860s to create a new
I am partly Maori yet other partly Maori people say I have no authority to speak on issues that affect Maori people.
To be clear I do not speak for Maori, I speak for all New Zealanders.
I speak for New Zealanders in the hope that those who feel the frustration and disappointment with the direction of our
current Government’s policies will know it is okay to speak out.
My efforts to defend our citizenship, the citizenship of all of us, are not being racist.
We are all citizens of the same country and that country is New Zealand.
New Zealand has more ethnicities than the world has countries.
A total of 189 languages are spoken here.
We do have a problem.
A treaty elite has promoted the ideology of biculturalism, of treaty partnership, of Maori and non-Maori, and that
biculturalism legitimizes the treaty elite.
These people get rich from treaty settlements, through political appointments, consultancy services.
They are demanding more and more.
At the same time, those most at need at the bottom of the heap remain vulnerable and receive virtually none of the
benefit of these settlements.
Hobson’s Pledge is totally committed to equality for all – for inclusion and unity for all New Zealanders.
I chose to speak out for Hobson’s Pledge in the hope that it will become okay to have the conversation about:
what is really holding Maori back,
what really needs to done to make sure those in need get what is needed and to stop giving in to “want”.
I am immensely proud to stand with Don Brash for Hobson’s Pledge.
Don Brash has never stopped promoting equality for all of us, the founding principle of the Hobson’s Pledge Trust.
I, along with many New Zealanders of Maori ancestry, have become fed up with the excuses for Maori are represented so
badly in all the wrong statistics.
These issues exist not because of something that has been done “to” Maori but because of what is not being done “BY”
The challenges that face those in need are not going to be addressed by more settlements, more pay outs, separate
They will only be overcome when there is personal accountability and responsibility for the here and now.
The solutions for those in need are based upon their need and do not depend on when their ancestors arrived in New
When you tell anyone that their economic prosperity will be handed to them through a settlement what better way is there
to demotivate any individual from standing up and being accountable for themselves, their family and their community.
Some Maori leaders blame current problems on events that happened over 150 years ago.
But if you say Maori people are crippled by events that happened long ago how will you ever inspire the next generation
to move forward with a belief in our own ability.
At some point the word “Maori” became an excuse for failing instead of a reason to succeed.
And for those of Maori ancestry who do succeed, who dare to speak out and point out that what is happening is wrong……….
well we told are told that we are just racist against our own people.
If we continue to throw a protective blanket of “don’t be racist” over all issues that need to be scrutinized, the
problems will never be understood and we will, before long, become an apartheid nation, split along a Maori-non-Maori
Now is the time to focus on our future, on the path that New Zealand is taking in the years ahead.
There are many challenges that face us in terms of housing, protecting our environment, managing our nation’s resources
and supporting those in need.
These are issues for all New Zealanders and are not peculiar to any ethnicity.
And yet we are constantly being asked to identify by ethnicity and not citizenship.
I was raised at a time when I did not know that my Maori ancestry deprived me of an opportunity to succeed.
When I stood beside my grandfather while he worked his land in Whakapara, no one told me he was poor, that we were
My grandfather, Honi Pani Tamati Waka Nene Davis, never considered that he was not equal and that he had been prevented
from achieving economic prosperity.
What he did know was that he was responsible for his family and he got up every morning and proudly took care of those
who depended on him.
That is what I know to be Maori, that is what it IS to be Maori. No excuses, no handouts, no asking for more and more.
Pride, dignity and family.
Excuses are much easier than looking within to find the strength to be better, to work harder, to look forward, and
focus on solutions that create opportunity.
There is nothing in New Zealand that prevents any one of us from stepping forward and making a great life.
We see migrants arriving here every day with nothing and yet still able to build a good life.
It is okay to speak up and point out that what is happening is wrong and speaking out doesn’t make any one of us racist.
Maori are not being held back, we are being told to sit back and wait, because another hand out is on the way.
Some Maori achievers, in academia, performing arts, or business, are told that they aren’t a real Maori.
I’m told that I’m not a real Maori.
Celebrate success, invest in unity, acknowledge diversity, protect individual culture and those aspects that make New
Zealand special but first and foremost STOP our slide into separatism.
A respected and accomplished Maori leader, Sir Peter Buck, said “Beware of separatism. The Maori can do anything the
Pakeha can do but in order to achieve this we must all be New Zealanders first.“
Please speak up, contact your MPs, challenge those seeking to be elected, and make sure that they know we are not the
Join Hobson’s Pledge and let us send a clear message that we demand more from our Government.
As Governor Hobson said to each chief upon signing the treaty:
He iwi tahi tatou . . . . . we are now one people.
“WE ARE NOW ONE PEOPLE”
GOVERNOR HOBSON’S PLEDGE A CHALLENGE TO THE PRIME MINISTER
An address to the Orewa Rotary Club by Don Brash
Co-spokeperson for the Hobson’s Pledge Trust
14 February 2017
It’s almost exactly 14 years since I first addressed the Orewa Rotary Club, and almost exactly 13 years since I came
here as Leader of the National Party to give a speech which, for a time, turned “Orewa” from a place to a date, so that
people spoke of “before Orewa” or “after Orewa”, rather than north of Orewa or south of Orewa!
An odd thing happened after I spoke here 13 years ago. As soon as I’d finished, the pundits pounced. As pundits do. They
know more than us, don’t they? And they certainly knew what my speech would mean. They said I’d lost the plot. They said
National’s ratings would plunge. They said it would be a disaster for the party. And of course they were absolutely...
National’s poll ratings shot up: one of the biggest jumps ever. Eighteen months later, in the 2005 election, we almost
became the government. As it was, we won 21 more seats than we had had in 2002. Our party vote was the highest in any
election since 1990 and 18% higher than it had been in 2002.
I believe my speech here triggered that amazing jump in support. I believe the people - not the pundits - knew what I
was saying. They knew that it was not - and never will be - racist to call for equality. They knew what they wanted New
Zealand to stand for: A fair go, a fair deal. For everyone. Not favouritism for some. And definitely not favouritism
based on race. They wanted New Zealand to be a country where everyone shared the same air - which is the meaning of the
hongi - the same rights, and the same opportunities. The people knew then - and they know now - that all racism is
racist, no matter which race benefits. And they didn’t want a bar of it! Not then. Not now.
But, 13 years on, racism still rules the roost. The push for privilege persists and our politicians still pander to it.
Inch by inch, step by step they have created islands of influence, and positions of power...for one race only. Make no
mistake, our Parliament has done this, our politicians. They’ve been busy passing racist laws while dishonestly branding
other people ‘racist’, using a lie to replace logic. They call the people who disagree with them a fringe. Well, we’re
not a fringe. We’re a throng. They label me a lone voice attacking the Treaty. But I’m not.
The Treaty is a wonderful stick for activists to beat the rest of us with...It’s been the basis of a self-perpetuating
industry in academic and legal circles.
That’s from the Bruce Jesson Memorial lecture delivered in 2000 by...David Lange. He criticised “the preoccupation of
successive governments with the Treaty of Waitangi” because, and these are his words,
the Treaty cannot be any kind of founding document, as it is sometimes said to be. It does not resolve the question of
sovereignty, if only because one version of it claims one form of sovereignty and the other version claims the opposite.
The Court of Appeal once, absurdly, described it as a partnership between races, but it obviously is not...
As our increasingly dismal national day continues to show, the Treaty is no basis for nationhood. It doesn’t express the
fundamental rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and it doesn’t have any unifying concept...
The Treaty itself contains no principles which can usefully guide government or courts. It is a bald agreement, anchored
in its time and place, and the public interest in it is the same as the public interest in enforcing any properly-made
agreement. To go further than that is to acknowledge the existence of undemocratic forms of rights, entitlements, or
So, in 2000, David Lange was concerned about the “dangers posed by the increasing entrenchment of the Treaty” especially
since “its implications are profoundly undemocratic.”
Then, in 2002, Bill English, as Leader of the National Party, discussed the Treaty in a speech at the New Zealand Centre
for Public Law and noted that
Hobson and the missionaries took great pains to explain to Maori the decision they had to make, and the kind of
sovereignty and order the British would create… Maori were prepared to cede their sovereignty because of the anticipated
benefits of a common, non-segregated polity in New Zealand… The solution to the challenges that the Treaty presents to
all New Zealanders lies in a single standard of citizenship for all.
What’s happened since those speeches were made?
In May 2003, Bill English committed a future National Government to the abolition of separate Maori electorates, as the
1980s Royal Commission on the Electoral System had recommended if MMP was adopted.
In 2005, believing that historical grievances would damage race relations in New Zealand if they dragged on endlessly
and weren’t resolved, I committed a future National Government to resolving these grievances within six years, and also
pledged to scrap Maori electorates.
John Key made similar commitments in 2008.
Tragically, we’ve been moving in exactly the wrong direction ever since.
The National Government has certainly sped up the resolution of historical grievances but the process still drags on,
and too often involves granting not just financial redress but also so-called “co-governance”, giving unelected tribal
appointees the right to have a decision-making role in local government.
Maori electorates – created for just five years in 1867 to give all Maori men the vote, whether they owned property or
not – are still with us 150 years later. The Government has quietly abandoned any suggestion they will be scrapped, and
a Labour MP has a Bill in the Members’ ballot which would, if drawn and passed, “entrench” Maori electorates. And this
despite the fact that the need for Maori electorates to ensure Maori voices are heard in Parliament has long gone, with
more than 20 MPs now identifying as Maori.
A Bill to amend the RMA now wending its way through Parliament would, if passed in its present form, require all local
authorities, within 30 days of an election, to invite their local tribes into “iwi participation agreements”, which
would entrench co-governance on a grand scale.
The legislation setting up the Auckland super-city said there had to be an Independent Maori Statutory Board, made up
of unelected appointees, and Auckland Council chose to give the members of this unelected Board voting rights on most
For several years now, the Government has been talking behind closed doors with tribal leaders about how to give them a
special right, based only on tribal affiliation, to influence how fresh water is allocated, despite the Government’s
long-held contention that “nobody owns water” and despite decisions about the allocation of water being traditionally
the exclusive right of elected local councils.
In recent months, discussions have been going on, almost entirely below the radar, which are likely to lead to half of
the members of the Hauraki Gulf Forum being tribal appointees. This body has potentially far-reaching powers covering
the sea area of the Hauraki Gulf and all of the extensive land catchments around it.
Last year, we saw the Maori king expressing the hope that by 2025 Maori would be able to “share sovereignty” in New
Zealand, and nobody pointed out to him that all Maori already “share sovereignty” because all Maori adults have a vote.
But I suspect that wasn’t what he had in mind. I suspect he was continuing the myth that Maori chiefs did not cede
sovereignty when they signed the Treaty, despite overwhelming evidence that they did do so, and understood that was what
they were doing, as Sir Apirana Ngata insisted in 1922 when he wrote “The Treaty of Waitangi, An Explanation”.
Very recently, we’ve seen Labour and the Greens saying they would make it compulsory to learn te Reo in all schools,
even though I believe that learning to read and write good English would have much greater practical value for all
children, including Maori children. And that’s not just because English is spoken by the vast majority of New
Zealanders, but also because it is the only genuinely international language – the language in which most scientific
articles are written, the language in which most international commerce is conducted and the language of international
Increasingly, we see unfounded claims that the Treaty involved some kind of partnership between the Maori people and
the Queen, and we see this idea of partnership particularly being promoted in the education and health sectors. Indeed,
endorsing this partnership idea seems to be essential for any kind of leadership appointment in the government sector.
But as Winston Peters said in a speech in Paihia earlier this month:
If no-one in the British Empire was in partnership with Queen Victoria on the 5th February 1840, how come the New
Zealand Maori was one day later?
The expression partnership is either creative and legally and constitutionally wrong or had to include every New
Zealander regardless of ethnic background being in partnership with the Crown.
Last, and by all means least, the newly formed Opportunity Party is so confused by this imagined partnership that it
wants to create an Upper House of Parliament, with half its members being Maori.
As I said earlier, those of us who say these developments are totally inconsistent with any reasonable interpretation of
the Treaty or the meaning of democracy are routinely abused as racists, even though what we are advocating is not only
not racist it is in fact the exact opposite! We’re saying that all racism is racist. We’re saying that no one race
should have any kind of constitutional preference. We want New Zealand to be a country where every citizen, of every
colour and creed, has the same political rights, no matter when they or their ancestors came to the land we share and
the country we are building together.
To call that racist is the epitome of Orwellian double-speak.
It is important to stress that we are not arguing that Maori are “privileged” in any economic sense. While a few Maori
are among the wealthiest in the land, average Maori incomes are well below the average for other New Zealanders. And of
course because of that, Maori New Zealanders rightly receive a larger share of government social welfare and education
budgets. Most government spending is rightly geared to need, and not to ethnicity.
But we say that giving constitutional preferences to those with a Maori ancestor – along with ancestors of many other
ethnicities too – is leading us down the road to racial conflict.
And who benefits from these unprincipled constitutional preferences? Assuredly not most Maori. They gain absolutely
nothing from such preferences, which overwhelming benefit only the Maori and Pakeha elite. It is that elite who get the
big directors’ fees, and the fees paid when consulting with Maori is a legal requirement. It is the same elite who get
to play with the millions handed out in Treaty settlements, not Maori truck drivers or freezing workers or builders or
the thousands of others in the work force.
Many Maori, in professions, business and trades, resent being patronized by current policies which seem to imply that,
without special privileges, they’re not good enough to make it on their own. They know they are.
They want what Governor Hobson said, as each chief signed the Treaty, to stay true today. “He iwi tahi tatoa. We are now
In 1922, Sir Apirana Ngata wrote that the second part of Article III of the Treaty, which “imparts to [all the Maori
people of New Zealand] all the rights and privileges of British subjects”, was the most important part of the Treaty.
“This article”, he said, “represents the greatest benefit bestowed upon the Maori people by Her Majesty the Queen… It
states that the Maori and Pakeha are equal before the law, that is they are to share the rights and privileges of
Those of us behind the Hobson’s Pledge Trust share the view of great leaders like Sir Apirana and Governor Hobson that
New Zealanders became one people when the Treaty was signed.
We reject absolutely the notion that the Treaty created different rules and different rights for those with a Maori
ancestor and those without. We stand proudly with Martin Luther King and share his great vision:
I have a dream that my children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin
but by the content of their character.
"...Judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character" That’s our goal. And I believe it is
at the heart of who we are and what we want New Zealand to be. Those who built this country were determined to put rank
and status and privilege behind them. They wanted this to be a land of equals, an egalitarian land where your choices
and your chances didn’t depend on class or colour but on character. Yes, we’ve failed sometimes, I acknowledge that. But
let’s not fail again.
We cannot abolish privilege by creating privilege. By agreeing to do so, our politicians are creating a new injustice
and poisoning our future. I say the racism of our elite has done its dash and had its day. We have a duty to our history
and to the best dreams of our ancestors to stand for equality and demand a fair say, a shared say, with no privilege
granted on the basis of race.
If you share that vision, join Hobson’s Pledge and help us spread the word.
Especially this year, when you can tell your Member of Parliament, and anybody standing for election to Parliament, that
you want New Zealand to be, as Martin Luther King said, a place where every citizen, irrespective of the colour of their
skin, is treated as an equal.
Ask anybody seeking your vote: Which do you support? A single standard of citizenship or race-based rights for some? If
they won’t answer you or say they support race-based rights, then tell them they will not get your vote.
And challenge our Prime Minister to explain how current policy is even remotely consistent with the National Party’s
longstanding commitment to equal citizenship, and to his own unambiguous statement in 2002, that “The solution to the
challenges that the Treaty presents to all New Zealanders lies in a single standard of citizenship.”