Between the extremes

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key will use his Waitangi Day address this morning to tackle extremists on both sides of the race relations divide, saying they cynically damage the goodwill needed to put an end to grievance in New Zealand. …

His comments will target both sides – including Pakeha who believe the Treaty settlement process is a “gravy train” and that the price is too high, so past injustice should be ignored.

He will also tackle Maori extremists, describing them as those who promote a culture of entitlement and separatism, who believe colonisation entitles Maori to special treatment and whose sole objective is division.

I think the speech is necessary and overdue. However that does not mean it will automatically be effective.

In his speech at the marae yesterday, Mr Key discussed progress on Treaty settlements and said 2010 could be the year for a breakthrough on the foreshore and seabed. However, he said he needed to voice a note of caution that both sides had to compromise.

He also raised the 15 per cent Maori unemployment rate, saying improving education outcomes for Maori children would help address that.

I think improving education outcomes for Maori children is the most important thing that the Government can do. Except of course there is a limit to how much the Government can do by itself.

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