Chris Trotter repeats one of the great myths of the Labour left as he makes excuses for Labour legislating away the rights of Maori to go to court:
But, of course, your enemy's enemy can just as easily be your enemy too – and in the case of the foreshore and seabed debacle this was especially true. Labour's erstwhile deputy-leader, Michael Cullen, was telling no more than the truth when he pointed out that his government had no room to manoeuvre over the Foreshore & Seabed Bill.From the moment the Court of Appeal's decision was announced, Labour's pollsters began to register a rising level of anti-Maori feeling in the Pakeha population. Clearly, it would require a strong, bi-partisan effort to withstand such political pressure. Of course, National's pollsters were picking up the same racist vibes as Labour, but, rather than stand against them, the strategists surrounding National's new leader, Don Brash, opted to exploit them.
The Orewa Speech delivered by Brash in January 2004, and the extraordinary shift in political allegiance from Labour to National that it accomplished, destroyed any hope of a bi-partisan approach to resolving the issues raised by the Court of Appeal.
I've seen Labour push this version of events often, and am disappointed that Chris has fallen for it. Quite simply it is a lie, and the dates prove it.
- Thursday 19 June 2003 – Court of Appeal announces decision
- Monday 23 June 2003 – Clark and Wilson announce they will legislate to prevent any applications for title
Yes Labour announced the legislation just four days (or two working days) after the court of appeal decision. I'm sick of the fucking lies about Labour backing down under a nasty Don Brash led campaign that finally forced Labour to legislate.
Labour announced legislation as their first reaction – not their last. They panicked – totally. Thursday they hear the decision, and within 24 – 48 hours they would have resolved to recommend to Cabinet they legislate.
Even more stupid is the attempts of the left to portray Labour's decision as being linked to Brash's leadership and his Orewa speech. The dates for those are:
- Brash becomes Leader on 28 October 2003 – 127 days after Labour announced they would legislate.
- Brash's Orewa speech was on 27 January 2004 – 218 days after Labour announced they would legislate.