A new “anti-separatism” campaign fronted by former National Party leader Don Brash has been launched to pressure politicians into opposing preferential treatment of Maori.
The campaign group is running a number of newspaper ads calling for an end to separatism and race-based laws – and will consider donating to any parties willing to “commit strongly to a colour-blind state”
The campaign, Hobson’s Pledge, is named after the first governor of New Zealand, Captain William Hobson, and his statement upon signing the Treaty of Waitangi that “we are now one people”.
The campaign says it wants to “arrest a decline into irreversible separatism” by ending race-based structures and co-governance models, but claims “we are not in any sense anti-Maori”.
Brash, anti-MMP campaigner Peter Shirtcliffe and Canterbury University law lecturer David Round are among the group’s members.
Brash said the catalyst for the campaign was a number of government policies which would “create a constitutional preference for those with a Maori ancestor”, such as proposed changes to the Resource Management Act to require iwi involvement.
“I’m not trying to win another election – I’m out of politics – but I want to avoid New Zealand drifting further into a racially-based society.”
The Treaty of Waitangi was not based on “some kind of ongoing partnership between two different races”, but the idea of New Zealand as one people.
And what will the campaign do?
Brash said the campaign had paid for newspaper ads, calling for “an end to separatism”, which would run over the next fortnight.
“If funds permit”, it would also make donations to any political parties that were willing to “commit strongly to a colour-blind state”.
This could be interesting. The Brash campaign could end up raising money for Winston!