Stating Opinon as Fact

September 1st, 2009 at 6:21 am by David Farrar

In a classic case of stating opinion as fact, Northern EMA CEO Alasdair Thompson writes:

Maori have the right to be elected to reserved seats on the new under the terms of the .

Now of course the Treaty says no such thing.

Certainly some, maybe many, will argue that having reserved seats on the Council would be consistent with the Treaty of Waitangi.

But I get annoyed when people form an opinion on what should be done, and then claim that so and so is a “right” under the Treaty of Waitangi.

It is a way of trying to stop debate.

UPDATE: Alasdair was writing in a personal capacity. I mentioned his work role, as that is how almost everyone knows him.

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26 Responses to “Stating Opinon as Fact”

  1. deanknight (263 comments) says:

    “But I get annoyed when people form an opinion on what should be done, and then claim that so and so is a “right”…”.

    But, DPF, isn’t that precisely what you and others did in relation to the EFA, dismissing – if I recall, anyone else who advanced opinions that many of the restrictions on political expression were justifiable under the Bill of Rights Act?

    [DPF: I believe I made clear that it was my opinion - I did not purport my opinion to be fact. And I do not believe I ever argued against there being some restrictions. I argued that the restrictions introduced in the EFB were so onerous that they were an assault on free speech - a view that was shared by the Human Rights Commission and the NZ Law Society. The EFA was better than the EFB, but the EFB was so flawed that it should have been stopped. It also should have had a public policy process as National is now doing]

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  2. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Alisdair Thompson is the main reason that the EMA is not taken seriously by almost everyone – hes always overstating his case. He wants lower taxes ‘like Australia’ – but Ausy taxes are higher, and he always seems to be saying rather stupid things.

    The Maori seat statement is just another example of his tenuous grasp of the language.

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  3. deanknight (263 comments) says:

    @ DPF: Well, on those points, we might have to agree to differ…

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  4. hj (6,995 comments) says:

    When you consider what the treaty said you have to remember that it was made when Maori were the vast majority (60 to 70,000 Maori to 2000 European) . The left like to tell us the treaty is great news and we need to “go forward” but the reality is a lot simpler, a lot more basic; something like: the country is divided up into tribal areas; the chief controls those areas and Maori own everything except what has been sold to outsiders. English law applies in so far as it is beneficial to Maori. [late for work]

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  5. peterwn (3,271 comments) says:

    But there is this weird concept called the ‘principles’ of the Treaty of Waitangi which some legislator dreamed up. The late Lord Cooke of Thorndon set out to define these principles when in the Court of Appeal in New Zealand Maori Council v Attorney-General . Unfortunately I cannot find the case on the web (although it will be on pay sites used by lawyers). Seems public sector job applicants need to have an understanding of the principles.

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  6. scanner (340 comments) says:

    What a crock of shit, most of the country, with the exception of those who benefit form having their trotters in the trough that has become the treaty process, regard the whole treaty process as a “load of old cobblers” with it being dragged out for as long as it possibly can for the gain [financially] of the legal profession, the few Iwi that haven’t upgraded to the latest Fairmont.
    As long as we have the do-gooders from Rent-a -Mob stirring the pot on behalf of the hard done by “indigenous” people we will continue to fill our prisons with Maori and beat our children to death.
    Wake up and smell the roses, for 95% of Maori, the Treaty and all the rubbish attached to it will be a millstone round the neck of Moairidom.
    The worst part will be when the innocents finally reach the end of the rainbow and work out that all that is left not a “pot of gold” but a “bucket of shit”.
    In the meantime Maori children still walk the streets in bare feet, Maori still fill our jails, how about a hand UP instead of a hand OUT.

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  7. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    A guy who can get so many things so wrong is the leader of an influential NZ business group??

    Good grief. What the hell is going on in this country???

    What is the EMA really, if it endorses this buffoon as its CEO??

    Unbelievable.

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  8. Paulus (2,626 comments) says:

    What’s with this guy. I did noot know we had such an intelligent pontificating dork as Thompson.

    Tell his employers to get him on his bike, and deal with his real job, not this kind of crap from its mouthpiece

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  9. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    You could include the ETS too.
    another crock of shit which will backrupt us and destroy any competitiveness we might have.
    All based on political manipulation of some science and computer modelling and demonising those scientists who take a different viewpoint on the same data and disagree with the modelling.
    Not on using common sense.

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  10. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    One citizenship
    one law
    one representation
    no racist laws or seats

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  11. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    I would have thought “elected to reserved seats” was an oxymoron.

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  12. scanner (340 comments) says:

    I would have thought “elected to reserved seats” was an oxymoron.

    I thought that was how the list system worked?

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  13. JC (955 comments) says:

    I’m not Maori so can’t speak for them, but I can observe what they say and do.

    Since 1986 Maori have been crossing the ditch in huge numbers.. a fifth now live in Oz. Their reasons for leaving are mostly better opportunities and getting away from negative factors in NZ.

    Thirty five years ago it was considered the Maori language was being lost, so we set up language nests and a $400 million fund per annum to protect it.. the result has been fluent speakers have declined from 70,000 to just 18,000 today. The single biggest achievement has been that Pakeha now know many more Maori words than they did.

    In the last two elections Maori have overwhelmingly voted Labour, not the Maori Party. Like migration and the language issue they clearly have aspirations and concerns that are typical of Europeans, not unique Maori issues like race based seats. That some are pushing for Maori seats on the AK supercity indicates great and justified concern that 138,000 AK Maori wouldn’t vote for candidates on purely racial grounds.

    JC

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  14. Chris Diack (741 comments) says:

    Heavens Alasdair is absolutely all over the place.

    There is no established Treaty right to a franchise based on race in either central or local government. In fact the Parliamentary seats are by their nature pan tribal (based on one’s general Maori racial background and where one happens to reside; not where one comes from). They are a very Pakeha creation both in inception and design. Politically between the 1930’s and until recently they have been largely ineffectual and politically sidelined.

    The Maori party’s primary concern is about Manawhenua representation in the Auckland region (ie the 25,000 – 30, 000 out of 130,000 total Maori population; ie those Maori that actually come from the region) In this view the remaining non Manuawhenua Maori have no greater status than Pakeha.

    Take these clangers from Alasdair:

    “For representation on the Auckland council, Act seems unwilling to uphold Articles 1 and 2 of the Treaty.

    National is not comfortable with this either, as it apparently does not want Maori to exercise their authority under the Treaty to manage their own affairs, land, forests, fisheries, and the things they treasure (e.g. language, waahi tapu, pounamu and so on) in this forum.”

    This is nonsense. Regarding National’s position the PM stated the National party’s long held philosophical view about race based political representation was the dominant consideration of Cabinet. His other stated reason was that this notion would have to apply generally throughout local government not just in Auckland.

    Alasdair also invents an entirely new constitutional convention; race based seats in local government (Bay of Plenty Regional Council) elect members who limit themselves to the concerns of local Maori i.e. the exercise of public power for private purposes.

    It’s very odd that somehow public power is about issues of self management. Of course self management and self determination for either individuals or an iwi group should not involve the exercise of public power which is ultimately backed by the power to compel. The whole idea is to get the exercise of public power out of affairs of individuals or iwi groups. In fact Alasdair gives voice to an old paternalism.

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  15. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    What gives Thompson the right to say that? Is he speaking for the majority of employers and manufacturers? I doubt it

    Anyway, I liked Rodney Hide’s argument on Q&A yesterday
    Article 3 of the Treaty state – Maori shall be given equality under the law- ACT is actually upholding the treaty

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  16. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Heck, next they’ll be wanting to tax the airwaves under the treaty. Or the foreshore and sea-bed.
    What next, the very air we breath?
    When’s all the crap going to stop?
    [And I speak as someone of part Maori descent]

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  17. OTGO (549 comments) says:

    About a year ago my company decided not to pay our EMA membership fees. This jokers stupid comment reinforces our action. We remain members of the Chamber of Commerce though which delivers better training courses and networking opportunities and has a nice bloke at the top.

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  18. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    emmess

    “What gives Thompson the right to say that? Is he speaking for the majority of employers and manufacturers? I doubt it”

    That’s probably why he is described in the Herald as “Alasdair Thompson, a Pakeha, is a former mayor of the Thames Coromandel District who had a close working relationship with iwi”, with no mention of the EMA. In other words, he ain’t wearing his “EMA hat” when he speaks on this.

    Chris,

    “There is no established Treaty right to a franchise based on race in either central or local government. ”

    On this, reasonable minds may differ. For example, Justice McGechan in Taiaroa v A-G described the Maori seats in Parliament thus: “The seats became a Treaty icon. Equally there is no doubt Treaty principles impose a positive obligation on the Crown, within the constraints of the reasonable, to protect the position of Maori under the Treaty and the expression from time to time of that position … Maori representation – Maori seats – have become such an expression. Adding this together, for my own part I consider the Crown was and is under a Treaty obligation to protect and facilitate Maori representation.”

    The issue is whether the guarantee of tino rangitiratanga under article 2 cashes out into some form of guaranteed representation for Maori in the institutions of government (be it local or national). Thompson thinks it does – hence he is quite justified in talking about Maori seats as being a “Treaty right”. Of course, others may differ. In which case, they could take the time and effort to say why they think he is wrong in his understanding of the Treaty. Instead of just getting annoyed when THEIR own desired social policies happens to conflict with others’ opinion on what the Treaty “requires”.

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  19. Brian Marshall (202 comments) says:

    Just reread the treaty.
    http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/treaty/read-the-treaty/english-text
    and as I suspected, it’s not listed in there. Also not the 50% of everything as claimed by one kid of about 12 during the foreshore and seabed protests.

    If I missed it, could someone point it out for me please.

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  20. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    Brian,

    Here you go: Ko te Kuini o Ingarani ka wakarite ka wakaae ki nga Rangitira ki nga hapu – ki nga tangata katoa o Nu Tirani te tino rangatiratanga o o ratou wenua o ratou kainga me o ratou taonga katoa.

    http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/read-the-treaty/maori-text

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  21. ISeeRed (236 comments) says:

    Another guilt-ridden self-loathing “Pakeha” enabling more Maori master-race supremacist bullshit. So glad to have left it all behind.

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  22. Chris Diack (741 comments) says:

    AG:

    You mean the line of cases Taiaroa v Minister of Justice [1995] 1 NZLR 411, and Taiaroa v Minister of Justice [1995] 2 NZLR 1. These cases dealt with notice to Maori for exercising the Maori option. It was held at the CA and HC that the Crown had acted reasonably.

    These cases were decided under the reasonablness head of Administrative Law. In the CA Justice Cooke disavowed the need to found the cause of action in the particular case in the Treaty or in partnership principles or in fiduciary duties or in a mixture of all three. Instead the reasonableness requirement was inherent in the concept of notice. It was squarely and narrowly an administrative law approach.

    Our august former Attorney General, former Minister of Justice, former Speaker and newly returned to academe Margaret Wilson makes a similar point about the narrow approach of the Court in these cases here:

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/nz/journals/WkoLRev/1997/2.html#fnB13

    Thus the comments of McGechan J in the HC are obiter (opinion). There is no finding in this line of case that there is a Treaty right to Maori seats it parliament or on Councils. Nor is the line of case recognition of an established treaty right to either.

    It maybe that such an Treaty right emerges at some point but it has not thus far. Absent of such express judicial recognition or a law stating it to be so and as reasonable people, we must conclude that Thompson is more wrong and DPF is more right.

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  23. tvb (4,418 comments) says:

    I get a bit tired of these people who make controversial comments and then state “oh that was made in my personal capacity”. What rubbish. Thompson has standing because of his position with the Manufacturers Association. I doubt anyone would regard his views as interesting but for that position. Essentially he is purloining the status of the organisation he represents to push a personal barrel

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  24. Brian Marshall (202 comments) says:

    AG (843) Vote: 0 1 Says:

    September 1st, 2009 at 12:38 pm
    Brian,

    Here you go: Ko te Kuini o Ingarani ka wakarite ka wakaae ki nga Rangitira ki nga hapu – ki nga tangata katoa o Nu Tirani te tino rangatiratanga o o ratou wenua o ratou kainga me o ratou taonga katoa.

    http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/read-the-treaty/maori-text

    Nope. The Maori translation of the english text, translated into English again still doesn’t say anything like 50-50 on everything or separate seats.

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