Monday, April 20, 2015

letter from Hone

“The last time I was in Canberra was for SORRY DAY 2008, when I listened to Kevin Rudd apologise to generations of Aboriginal people for the theft of their lands, the destruction of their culture, and the dehumanising of their people” said Hone Harawira, leader of the MANA Movement of Aotearoa (NZ).
“Today I am back in Canberra during ANZAC WEEK 2015, and I am reminded that television channels, radio stations and print media on both sides of the Tasman are full of the remarkable stories of courage and heroism exhibited by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp during World War One, right across the Western Front of the European campaign, and the beaches, hills and trenches of Gallipoli” said Harawira, “And as it happens, to cement that union of battle, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is today unveiling a memorial to Australian soldiers who died in WW1, at Pukeatua Memorial Park in Wellington, New Zealand” said Harawira.
“But today, as he unveils a memorial to the mindless destruction of a century ago, Tony Abbott is quietly drawing a veil across the genocide being committed by his own government in Western Australia through the enforced closure of remote Aboriginal communities.
Genocide is defined under the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide as (e) forcibly transferring children of one group to another, and (c) deliberately inflicting on one group, conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part through measures such as:
  • removing children from their families,
  • cutting off basic medical needs,
  • ignoring needs for basic infrastructure such as public transport,
  • labelling remote communities as breeding grounds for paedophilia,
  • taking away community work programs,
  • neglecting aboriginal housing programs, and
  • withholding and freezing bank accounts.
The forced closure of Aboriginal communities is genocide – plain and simple – something that colonialistshave been trying to do ever since their arrival, originally through the gunbarrels of white settlers and now through the legislation of overwhelmingly white governments.
Although the United Nations recognises the overwhelming authority of the Indigenous people to the land of Australia, it seems that Australian governments simply refuse to accept the reality of their continued racism.
When John Howard introduced the hated Northern Territory Intervention Plan back in 2007, he earned the universal animosity of Indigenous people the world over as “a racist bastard imposing racist policies on a people who are not in a position to fight back”
Tony Abbott’s backing of Western Australia’s Closure of Remote Communities in 2015 is exactly the same, and deserves exactly the same response – “Tony Abbott is a racist bastard imposing racist policies on a people who are not in a position to fight back”
White Australian governments happily dumped Aboriginals into the outback, out of sight and out of mind – until they realised that they had inadvertently given them rights to millions of acres of land beneath which sat vast deposits of billion dollar minerals and oils.
The Intervention Plan, and now the Closure of Remote Communities, is genocide with a blunt instrument – put an end to Aboriginal title by forcing them from their land, let the big mining companies bully their way in, and force the Indigenous people to take their case to court where they stand no chance of ever winning.
As the leader of the MANA Movement in Aotearoa (NZ), I join with indigenous leaders across Australia and the Pacific in condemning the Closure of remote Communities, and I call on all those who support justice to join in the Day of Action to Stop the Forced Closure of Aboriginal Communities on May 1, both here in Australia and back in New Zealand.
If the ANZAC spirit truly lives 100 years after the defence of the British Empire, let it be in the defence of our own indigenous communities in 2015.
Hone Harawira
MANA Leader

Friday, April 10, 2015

your display is offensive

These incidents upset me - so much has been taken from indigenous people all around this world, yet it is not enough, they still want more, they want everything.
Nearly 1000 people have signed a petition to have a Native American doll removed from an Auckland mini golf course display.
The doll, that has been labelled a "grotesque caricature", is part of the Lilliputt Around the World Minigolf course at Sylvia Park shopping centre and depicts a Native American man sitting in a tepee...
Rachel Hopkins, a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma said she could not see a way to make the display culturally appropriate. 
"The point here is that the community decides how they are represented, and takes the lead in creating that, not the other way around," she said.
"And it's not about seeking permission after the fact." 
And that is the point, well made by Rachel. NO ONE gets to decide how indigenous people represent themselves, except members of the group themselves. This is a basic tenet that cannot be broken unless the group decides it can be. It cannot be seeking permission after the fact - don't bother - just take it down and start again. And starting means talking with the group you wish to represent. Otherwise it is just a continuation of the denigration and othering of indigenous people that happens everywhere.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

more going racist for ratings

Photoshopped images of "this year's Te Matatini winners, Te Whanau a Apanui from Opotiki" linked to by More FM will not be shown on this blog. Needless to say I agree with this
Willie Te Aho of Aotearoa Kapa Haka Limited described More FM as, “a bunch of thieving, silly and stupid people who need to get their heads inspected, perhaps even drug tested”... and "I'm disgusted with how More FM denigrated kapa haka and the mana of performers from Te Whanau a Apanui."
Yes it is racist, yes it is disrespectful, yes it is offensive and disgusting - although these photo manipulator know not what they do, that is just not good enough.
The images of Tiare Tawera and Rawiri Waititi were manipulated which saw their faces being moved to their stomachs and other faces being superimposed on their bodies as well as a number of other parody images of the individuals.
Terrible and a direct insult to Māori and these fine men.
While More FM has apologised and removed the post which was originally sourced from meme website Redit based in America, the images are still circulating on hundreds of websites and social media platforms online. 
Yep they will be there forever now - what a disgrace More FM - hang your bloody heads in shame - you have embarrassed yourselves and shown yourselves as simple lowlifes.

Go home - it is a safe place - make it so

We need to rethink a few things. Climate change is reality and so is peak oil and the effects of both along with the degradation and pollution we have wrought on Papatūānuku. There is a time of change upon us - we created it and we will have to live with and through it. We will have to give up some things but we will also gain a lot and the things we give up are not valuable whereas what we will gain is invaluable. To paraphrase JMG - collapse now and avoid the rush - or maybe collapse now while you can. Collapse? WTF! Yep and what it means is moving to a simpler lifestyle a more direct lifestyle from what we do to what we get. A reduction of all of the intermediary steps/jobs/people between what we do and what we get. Eating food grown locally for instance, rather than exotic stuff flown in from godknowswhere so that we, in our extravagant western lifestyles, can eat it. We are all going to have to make changes and Māori as indigenous people of this land can lead and show others how to do it.

Many Māori are on the way and programs like Manawa Hou are also invaluable - they show how we used to live and that knowledge of the past is essential to build our futures. It would take some wrangling but this idea from Rankin would be a good start
An economic historian is calling for the benefit system to become more flexible to allow people to function within traditional subsistence economies.Keith Rankin from Unitec was responding to a challenge from Mana leader Hone Harawira that the Abbott Government’s removal of support from remote Australian Aboriginal communities was similar to Work and Income’s policy of not paying benefits to Maori who return to their home rural villages.
He told Radio Waatea’s Dale Husband that being able to turn to a subsistence lifestyle during downturns in the economic cycle was a normal part of capitalism.
Instead of calling people to the cities, help them move out to the rural areas and pay the to do it. This would rejuvenate those areas, release pressure from the cities infrastructure, help reinforce connections and communities, teach the basics like how to grow food, how to live in a community, how to live simpler lifestyles and so on and so on. Many Māori are connecting back to their ancestral marae. This connecting can be encouraged and facilitated by Government for all of the reasons above. To further encourage the move I'd pay superannuation earlier to Māori going home so that they could learn and teach and build the mana of their marae and themselves.

The destruction of our currently structured society is likely to be slow, with falls, then plateaus, with false hope, then dashed dreams - we will live it and we will need to adjust to it, physically and mentally. Go home - it is a safe place - make it so.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Stop the forced closure of Aboriginal Communities in Australia.

Stop the forced closure of Aboriginal Communities in Australia.

This battle to protect and stand with our indigenous brothers and sisters began with this
It has been six months since the federal government signed over funding responsibility for providing municipal and essential services to Western Australia’s 274 remote Indigenous communities to the state government and four since the WA premier, Colin Barnett, said between 100 and 150 of those communities faced “closure” because they were “not viable”.
On Tuesday, Tony Abbott further inflamed the situation by saying his government could not be expected to “endlessly subsidise lifestyle choices if those lifestyle choices are not conducive to the kind of full participation in Australian society that everyone should have”.
Tony Abbott is so bad he makes John Key look okay. Lifestyle choices??? The response has been sharp
The Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson has blasted Tony Abbott’s comments that living in a remote community is a lifestyle choice, saying it is a “deranged debate” conducted in a “substandard manner”... He described the comments as “shameless” and a “disgraceful turn of events”.
The chairwoman of the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia, Michelle Nelson-Cox, said Abbott’s comments were “hugely disappointing”.
“The prime minister’s comments about Aboriginal communities place no value on the connection to country and culture that these communities provide, nor the important role they play in the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people,” she said.
“Aboriginal people are obligated to maintain a connection to country to sustain spiritual beliefs, customary activities and traditional lore. In addition to providing a home to many Aboriginal people, these communities provide a continuing sense of identity through this ongoing connection to country.”
This article dispels the myth of closing these communities because of sexual abuse.

And Gerry Brownlee
 denied co-leader of the Māori Party, Marama Fox leave from the House of Representatives to vote on a motion to condemn the Australian Government’s impending closure of remote indigenous communities in Western Australia.
What can we do from here to support our brothers and sisters over there?

Facebook site here  And here is a great profile of Sam Cook who is one of the leaders of the social media campaign.

March on 1 May to show support - will update soon.

UPDATE: Current A-Z listings of upcoming actions ‪#‎SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA‬

Thursday, April 2, 2015

whose left?

The dust is settling. Mana took a body blow by losing Hone from Parliament but the Mana Movement is still intact, and still fighting against inequality and imo will rise again, better, stronger and more politically astute. The kaupapa has not changed, the will to make change has not wilted nor will it because Mana activists live the reality of inequality every day along with the people.

Mana contested Northland and Rueben Taipari Porter didn't get many votes as expected but by fielding a candidate Mana showed they are still alive and kicking - and still have a great sense of humour - go here to read Rueben's thoughts.
With my stunning result of 55 votes, beaten even by the LegalizeCannab1s party, you would think that I would crawl under a rock andhide…But after studying the result figures I didn’t do too bad. FocusNorthland and the other candidates chose to vote strategically whileNational and Labour candidates got thrashed! Actually as the firstMana candidate to ever stand in any Northland General Election, Inever lost any majority so actually I came in 2nd to HonourableWinston Peters (haha that’s hilarious, but reality is what you make ofit ps phone calls are still coming in so who knows what goodies I canget for us aye?) and my trophy wall is filling up… butcongratulations to Winston, he ran an amazing campaign, it was aprivilege to participate in that historical election and watch himwork. I was watching very closely…
The win by Winston affects Mana but really only indirectly. The Mana Movement and NZF are after different voters and that is very good. The win by Winston does affect Labour and the Greens in the way I described in the last two posts and that affects the left including the Mana Movement. It is going to be interesting watching the developments. Winston has already said 
Winston Peters says he would support mining in Northland if the region benefited from at least 25% of the royalties.
sadly he is old school, focused on money and economics - I tend to agree with Haami on this one too
"He’s been a constant critic of Maori issues and of Maori communities and Maori organisations for decades now, so I wouldn't put him in the Maori MP category, he may have Maori ancestry. And also his party is the party that tried to introduce legislation to remove all references to the Treaty of Waitangi from New Zealand legislation so I don't think it's true to say he represents in any shape or form a Maori perspective," he says.
 Yep the Mana Movement and NZF are polls apart in so many ways.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

the stone in Winston

The Greens made a good choice in not standing a candidate in the Northland by-election but the win from Winston and NZF is not good news for them.

I like the Green Party and I'd be happy if they were dominant in Parliament but they aren't and they have some major issues to sort out notwithstanding Winston's win. They have to elect a new co-leader and that is a big one. Russel Norman is a very effective co leader - I have had issues with some of what he has said in the past but he does have gravitas and he speaks with authority. He can and does take the fight directly to National and he can look them in the eye with disdain whilst asking the hard questions. He will be very hard to replace and his replacement will have a very big job on their hands.

The Greens have a dilemma in that they have an eternal internal battle about what their kaupapa is. Yes the environment but social policy and economic policy are currently welded in there to. Some want them to concentrate on the environment and be available to work with both Labour and National - this would make them palatable to the 'middle' and dispel the meme that they are kooky, and others want a broad left approach to the issues of social and economic policy so that they remain true to their traditional constituency. The last election result where they at best held their ground provides reinforcement for both ideals and I don't know the answers or what they should do to be honest. I'm not sure what will move the balance and create momentum for a bigger presence in Parliament. You'd think that public self interest with the looming global issue of the effects of climate change and peak oil would guarantee votes for them but with the clamor of voices saying it's 'business as usual' shows that the basic drive for self preservation isn't being felt. Will it take a calamity, a disaster to move people? Probably, but by then it will be too late.

If NZF and Winston goes head to head with labour and National for the middle movable votes and achieves success then the Greens have a big problem electorally. NZF will cut the Greens out. If they become dominant they will cut them out directly, if, after the war of attrition, Labour retains it's position as the big 'left' party they will need the Greens but on their terms not the Greens terms and history has shown that Labour and the Greens aren't the buddy/buddy team that they could be. For the Greens to have influence they must get the votes and a 4 way competition for the 'middle' isn't going to give them those votes. The 'middle ' is not the solution, the 'middle' is the problem.

So big issues for the Greens that I hope they can resolve and become the force they need to be - the election of Winston Peters in Northland is not good for the Greens, not even slightly.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

the win in winston

Unintended consequences has been a concept on my mind recently - some thoughts on the recent by-election in Northland.

The election of Winston Peters in Northland will have unintended negative consequences for the left I think. The left as a whole and the individual parts of the left and I'll start with Labour.

As I've mentioned before I think the way Labour went about the Northland by-election was a mistake. The number of times I heard Labour people say - we can't win, we won't win, this un winnable - was depressing. Whether it was true or not is beyond the point - don't forget the big man key said Winston could and would never win - yet he did.

Okay let's assume that Labour could and never would win - what to do? Yes one option is to help Winston win with the view that giving National a 'bloody nose' is valuable because it will erode the win-meme attached to Key and Joyce and lead the way to a victory for Labour next election - that is certainly the line being used and now that Winston has won it will be interesting to see this meme develop. At this stage Key and Joyce are just pretending that they never lost and that it doesn't matter. Key is spinning it, "well I got it wrong and didn't expect Labour to capitulate and send their people to Winston" and Joyce is going, "yep you win some and lose some, that's politics..." I think their spin will work - it certainly has worked up to now with the almost continuous lying from Key and the almost continuous support he still receives. Time will tell on this one but it by no means certain that the winkeymeme is over or even really dented.

Labour missed a big opportunity to go hard, push Little out there and their candidate, push their policies, push their alternative Government meme - but they decided not to. Sure Prime will get a nice list placing and in 2.5 years is much more likely to get into Parliament. But Little and Labour have snapped a couple of arrows in their quiver - the moral high-ground over deals in Epsom around ACT and the Dunne electorate too. Everytime they go down that 'moral' road, Northland will be chucked in their face - even if it wasn't a deal and not really comparable to what National does - I just don't think the movable voter will care about those details. So Labour are going to have to do more of this 'strategic' dealing and i just can't see it going well for them - mainly because I do think they have more morals than National and as we've seen with Northland - it is difficult to front up and say it like it is especially when innuendo and nudge nudge are easier to do.

Andrew Little will need to be careful with Winston - their can be only one leader of the opposition and although Labour have the numbers, Winston has the ego, experience and wind in his sails after this win. He will get offended very quickly and dish out some smartarse remarks likely to get up Little's nose. The 2 of them are not going to get on I think - sure they'll pretend for a while but before too long the truth will out and that truth is that they are political rivals in a very direct way. Winston's age may be bought in but I would be careful about that because everyone's getting older. I'm calling that Winston will end up disliking Little as much as he does Key and that will be significant if the negotiations need to happen in 2.5 years.

Labour have let a wolf into the henhouse - National have received their bloody nose but they will heal. Labour may not heal from the win of Winston.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

choices made

I feel a zeal to begin blogging again but we'll see how we go lol.

Firstly congratulations to Winston Peters and NZF for the Northland win over the forces of the National Party. This really gives fantastic momentum to NZF and bodes well for them for future parliaments. I didn't like the labour campaign from day one - the slight of hand and whispering didn't really do it for me - but it did do it for labour supporters who moved their vote to Winston instead of the Labour candidate. Is this strategic voting? I'd say yes but for NZF not Labour and not the left. I remain unconvinced that Winston Peters and NZF will advance the left, especially the far left where I sit, and if any further convincing of that is needed the rumour mills are touting Shane Jones as a possible successor to Winston. Oh deary me - that would be diabolical if that happened although the 'middle' would probably love it - I'd rather have Ron Mark but time will tell.

The reason I think Labour will come to regret the decisions they made around this by-election are because as NZF ascends, I think Labour will descend. NZF are not going to get Green Party votes. They may get National Party votes but those votes are 'centre' votes - they wobble, they move. NZF are going to muscle into the 'middle' and they will take votes from both Labour and National but more from Labour I think, notwithstanding the relatively good start by Andrew Little - Labour's leader. The problem for him is that perception is reality. No more moral high ground over deals - even though this wasn't a deal, National have successfully spun it as one, the media have agreed. Another reason that Labour will descend is that it still is hanging on to so much deadwood that unless those people leave the Party is tainted - not just by Rogernomics but also the Clark years - those 9 years seem a long time ago now.

Anyway that is what I think about all that.

I've also taken a 2 week break from The Standard as a silent protest against Stephanie's ban on Murray. I like Murray and I like Stephanie's posts and I just feel that the ban was unnecessary. I do not feel it was a gender issue - it was just a bad call - although I can understand why Stephanie thinks it was. I respect The Standard authors and I didn't want to protest to them - that is inappropriate - but I did want to make a point and I did want to choose. In the past I have defended Stephanie because I have felt that she has received gender bias comments. I just don't think this was the situation in this case although I have to say some subsequent comments there have been offensive to me and sexist. So kia kaha Stephanie and see you in 2 weeks The Standard.

Monday, March 23, 2015

the last guide

the last guide

We climbed through clouds
the first day up to the pass
my body sang laments to
each stoney step and at the top
we went to sleep to a dire
ukulele strummed hard by
a german youth reliving a past

The wild kiwi slid through
the bush and we watched
and at Heaphy a Rangitāne
and I hongi, later a descendant
of Te Rauparaha and I kōrero
about the voices we hear here
where here enemies are friends

as I cradle my baby, home,
softly rocking and reaching for
another son to touch his head
and still his sighs, his mother,
my love, leans across my lap
and I realise the cadence of my
breath is still a walk, my pack

sits serenely on my shoulders