Seymour slays Wilson

David Seymour responds to Simon Wilson:

We understand that liberal democracy, the idea that one person should have one vote, and every human being is born alike in dignity, is the best system of government humans have discovered, period.

William Wilberforce’s opposition to slavery, Kate Sheppard’s campaign for votes, Fran Wilde’s Homosexual Law Reform, Louisa Wall’s marriage equality. They are all part of a liberal democratic project to end discrimination and make human rights universal.

Equality of suffrage is a fundamental human right that is in both global human right declarations.

He believes that if you don’t believe in the co-governance of, say, Three Waters or healthcare, you are not honouring the Treaty.

As he correctly notes, Act has always supported Treaty settlements. Many of them have returned property that was wrongly taken from contemporary New Zealanders’ ancestors.

That was done after careful consideration by the Waitangi Tribunal and Parliament.

That our country has been prepared to look back 180 years for injustices and breaches of property rights, and offer redress where possible, is a triumph. In some cases, rather than giving back fee simple, an interest in governing the asset has been offered.

The co-governance of Auckland’s volcanic cones is an example of that. It was an appropriate way to recognise a specific loss.

Wholesale co-governance of councils, healthcare, Three Waters infrastructure, and resource consenting decisions is quite different. There is no historic grievance, such a grievance is impossible. For example, the Drainage Board built the first known three waters infrastructure, in 1845. Public healthcare as we know it was established by the first government in 1938.

These modern public institutions were created in a democracy, post-Treaty. They should be governed democratically. Co-governing them means that Māori have inherently different political rights, rather than the same rights to their property as everyone else.

I wish more politicians would be this forceful in pointing out the fallacy behind the argument that public services should be co-governed.

Proponents of that view want a “tiriti-centric Aotearoa”, with “tangata whenua” ( people), here by right and “tangata tiriti” (Treaty people), here by permission. Assigning different races different rights is racist.

Again it is a universal human right that someone born in a country to citizens of that country has full rights of citizenship. This is not dependent on race or bloodline.

Our best future is a modern, multi-ethnic, liberal democracy. Each of those words matters. We should be a leading society with an equal place for all, no matter a person’s background.

Nobody should be born special, nobody should be born a second-class citizen. It’s a sad sign of the times that you can have a regular column in the country’s largest paper, and think such beliefs are “racist”.

Sad but not surprising.

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