Do you remember what it felt like when you first learnt that there is no Santa Claus?
That’s kinda how I feel today after being alerted to an article about Amnesty International.
Until now I have always supported AI. I even used to write letters for them. But after finding out about this I have serious doubts about ever supporting them again.
In fact, they have lost all credibility in my eyes now. I’m totally disillusioned. I thought they were a great outfit, campaigning for the victims of injustices in countries where human life is cheap and human rights seem non-existant. I believed that if AI were taking up a cause it would have done it’s homework and know what it was talking about.
Not so it seems. For now they are petitioning the United Nations. Claiming that….well, I’ll let you read it for yourselves – quoted from Te Karere Ipurangi:
Posted by karere under Maori News
Amnesty International has told the United Nations that New Zealand is continuing to discriminate against Maori through the Marine and Coastal Area Act.
The organisation made a submission to the UN Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights meeting in Geneva.
The committee examines all member states to assess their compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1976.
Every few years New Zealand gets looked at. This is its third assessment.
In a submission, Amnesty says the Marine and Coastal Areas Act was intended to replace discrimination against Maori in the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act.
But Amnesty says the new act is also discriminatory, because the customary interests it promotes exclude the right to exclusive occupation, preventing Maori from excluding the public as freehold owners can.
It notes former Attorney General Hon Simon Power agreed with this view, but justified it as a balance between the rights of Maori and the general public.
Copyright © 2012, Radio New Zealand
Maori have no right to claim that they are the indigenous people of New Zealand. Their own legends tell of how they came here by canoe (waka). They are colonialists, just like the rest of us.
There is also plenty of evidence that there were people here well before Maori. Of course Maori extremists deny this, but the evidence exists all the same.
Sharples should never have been allowed to go to the UN, to claim, falsely, before the UN that Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, or to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Key allowed him to do this without the agreement of parliament and without the mandate of the people of New Zealand.
This quote from a study done by Jodie Ranford, a primary graduate student at the Auckland College of Education, says it beautifully:
It is therefore my belief that the term ‘Pakeha’ does not identify an ethnic group. Both ‘Pakeha’ and ‘Maori’ terms instead offer us a way to differentiate between the historical origins of our settlers, the Polynesian and European. “In the beginning we were all immigrants to these islands, our ancestors boat people who arrived by waka, ship or aeroplane. The ingredients of our indigenous cultures too were imported: the East Polynesian language that became Maori, and English; Papatuanuku, and the Bible; Maui and Tane Mahuta, Robin Hood and Horatio Nelson; the kumara and the kiwifruit . . . An understanding of our respective origins is the beginning of our present selves” (King, 1999, p11). Is it not true that we “become indigenous to New Zealand at the point where our focus of identity and commitment shifts to New Zealand, and away from our countries and cultures of origin” (King, 1999, p235). It is certainly true that in a country that has been inhabited for little more than one thousand years everyone is an immigrant or a descendant of immigrants.
The fundamental principle of a democracy is that all citizens are equal before the law, and all have equal rights. It is just plain wrong to argue that the rights of any citizen should depend on who his ancestors were.
I am extremely disappointed in Amnesty International for taking this stance. There are enough separatists and racial problems in this country already. If we allowed any one race to control our beaches as AI suggest, it would be a recipe for disaster. It would engender the kind of resentment that has led to armed conflict in other countries. I’m sure most of us do not want that.