Tuesday, 14 May 2019

"Hello, Pot" Says the Kettle

'Divisive group of haters' in Hobson's Pledge 'Must be Investigated'

Māori Council Displays Prejudice

John Weekes

Don Brash says the 'absolutely outrageously stupid' decision and rhetoric from the Māori Council has led to him taking legal advice.  The New Zealand Māori Council said on Wednesday it had asked the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to investigate the group, which is led by former National Party and Act leader Don Brash.

Hobson's Pledge was formed in 2016 and campaigns against what it says is preferential treatment given to Māori.  New Zealand Māori Council executive director Matthew Tukaki said the council had made the move because "no one's called them out".

"They've been given a significant amount of latitude," Tukaki told Stuff.  He hoped the HRC would censure the group.  He said the "accumulation" of Hobson's Pledge's behaviour and statements, rather than any one incident, influenced the decision to go to the HRC.

Tukaki also said Hobson's Pledge was "nothing more than a divisive group of haters who would do nothing more than send us all back to the dark ages.
  They may wear suits and drive around in late model expensive European cars ... but they are nothing more than a gang of misfits that seek to incite hate and divide the country.  They should be held to account," Tukaki said.  "They're creating an environment...in which hate is breeding and not just breeding but duplicating and replicating."

He said if the lobby group wanted to become a political party it should "go for it" because "then all of your policies will be seen for what they are."  Tukaki said the Māori Council was concerned that comments Hobson's Pledge leaders had made in public constituted "incitement to both violence and racism, hate and the segregation of New Zealand society".

Hobsons' Pledge spokesman Don Brash said claims of racism were "absolutely outrageously stupid" and he was taking legal advice.  "It's a serious accusation ... not only of racism, but also of advocating violence."  Brash said the "name-calling" showed the Māori Council was a shadow of its former self.  "I'm deeply saddened that the Māori Council, which used to be a group of eminent and respected people, should descend to this kind of silly name-calling.  I have a four-year-old Korean Hyundai, for the sake of the record."

Brash said if the HRC censured Hobson's Pledge it would prove the Commission "has absolutely lost its marbles.   We're in favour of a single standard of citizenship for all."   He said the Māori Council was probably attacking Hobson's Pledge because the lobby group "was actually having an impact".

The New Zealand Māori Council was founded in the 1960s and is made up of representatives from 16 district Māori Councils, as well as an executive committee.  It describes itself as a "statutory body for all Māori".  The council's current chairman is former High Court judge Sir Edward Taihakurei Durie.

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