Yellow Peril by Tze Ming Mok

I don't care what you call him either

Apparently, this whole 'blood-quantum' rehash hoo-ha has been a 'total misunderstanding', on the part of the Maori Party, who are far more confused about race and ethnicity (particularly their own) than Don Brash, because he is married to a Han Chinese who are racially pure compared to everyone else.

Let's iron out these misunderstandings. According to Brash, the Treaty partnership is basically irrelevant because the Maori populations in 1840 were a (racially) distinct group from Pakeha. Now Maori are no longer racially pure, and so therefore aren't a distinct indigenous group that anyone can have obligations to.

This stumbling, offensive and patronising wielding of 'race' being somehow legally superior to ethnic identity is pretty funny of course. Check some transcribing below from the bFM interview this morning as he and Noelle McCarthy discuss Tariana Turia:

DB:"I don't mind if she wants to think of herself as Maori. Everyone knows her father was American."

NM:"but do you think of her as Maori?"

DB: "...I want the state, the government to treat Tariana Turia in exactly the same way as they treat any other New Zealander."

NM: "...Are you saying you have reservations about her Maoriness?"

DB: "No! I don't care if she's Maori! I'm more than happy to let her be Maori. If someone wants to identify as Maori, if they have no Maori blood I don't care. It's a matter of total indifference to me."

I'm sure Tariana will be pleased that Don is going to 'let her' be Maori, even if 'everyone knows her father is American', poor misguided woman.

Unbelieving laughter aside, the core of the matter is that 'race' obviously does matter a lot to Brash, because his desire to nullify the contemporary application of the Treaty of Waitangi is now openly resting on two arguments.

The first, 'one law for all', has been the one that at least makes some kind of theoretically fundamentalist liberal sense, even though it displays (or exploits) a total ignorance of how law and equality work.

The other idea he seems to be now using more overtly, has been lurking in his various stray ignorant and patronising comments about Maori culture - savages jumping up and down half naked but actually quite pale etc - for rather a long time. He does actually think that the 'disappearance' of 'real', racially-pure Maori actually nullifies any legal protections that Maori have under either the Treaty or customary law protecting native title. What this actually means is that he thinks 'race' rather than ethnicity, customary group ownership, or historical relationships negotiated through legal process, is the foundation of claiming group rights and protection under the law - which totally contradicts his first principle.

He's not going to understand this, is he. Well, this is why you do not call in Reserve Bankers to make pronouncements on law, social justice, and ethnicity.

Shooting more of Brash's legal-philosphical solecisms flopping around ineffectually in the discursive barrel, here's No Right Turn on what Justice Baragwanath's paper was actually saying:

Justice Baragwanath does not suggest any "special rights" for Maori. Rather, he proposes amending the Foreshore and Seabed Act so that it conforms to those settled conventions, by (at minimum) allowing compensation to be awarded where ownership can be proven. We accept this principle with regards to Pakeha property, and we should do the same for Maori.