By Willie Jackson
I get sick of people bleating about the special privileges that Maori are supposed to be getting.
We got that line from Don Brash in his ugly Orewa speech and, to New Zealand's everlasting shame, Mr Brash and the National Party immediately shot up in the polls.
Don's dumb speech and the support were demonstrations of just what an ignorant society we have.
You could spend hours listing the ways in which the mainstream Pakeha establishment has undermined Maori and helped deprive us of our tino rangatiratanga.
It's nonsense to suggest that, because the country has a system for "settling" Treaty breaches, it's all being sorted satisfactorily and that there is now an even playing field for us all.
Let's take just that issue of Treaty settlements.
The compensation for the theft of our land comes out, on average, at a bit under 2 per cent of the losses.
In other words, Maori are writing off 98 per cent of the debt. Naturally, that's not our preference.
It's just that the Government has taken the stance that 2 per cent is all it can afford. No real debate. Take it or leave it.
Some privilege, eh?
And now we have Rodney Hide surfacing with another variation on the tune that Maori are having it too sweet.
He's got a bee in his bonnet that second-rate Maori students are making it into medical school ahead of first-rate and far more deserving Pakeha.
As you may have come to appreciate, as perky and pleasant as Rodney may be at times, he has a talent for getting things wrong. A case in point has been his bungling of the local government reforms.
And you might suspect as well that hooking up with the ACT party in the first place was a sign of serious mental and moral deficiency.
On this business of selecting students for courses, Rodney is arguing that there's something "dark and sinister" going on – and that being brown is giving an applicant an advantage over a pale skin contender.
That's not true.
What has been happening, though, for maybe 30 years now, is that some professions belatedly began understanding that if you choose recruits entirely on the basis of their academic results you'll miss out on a lot of talent.
And some of them realised too that, if the selection criteria and panels are exclusively Pakeha, then Maori and Pacific Island applicants aren't going to do too well.
The change in approach, however, has been clumsy and slow, and I doubt if we have even one profession where the practitioners represent and understand the Kiwi communities they are serving.
That's the crime, not Maori privilege.
Auckland Now, 22nd June 2012
source: data archive