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Don’t be afraid of anti-co-governance, aka democracy

In brief
  • “Nothing to fear” is the condescending refrain of co-governance proponents casting opponents as irrational (and racist). 
  • Would co-governance be rule by billion dollar ethnic-based “sophisticated entities” (aka iwi)? 
  • Polls rarely, if ever, mention co-governance as a category to choose, making it seem less of an issue. 
  • Anti co-governance is, in fact, nothing to fear. It’s the repudiation of racism, not its endorsement.

“Nothing to fear”

One of the most common refrains by proponents of co-governance is that it’s nothing to fear. Proponents’ go-to argument is that people fear co-governance because it’s misunderstood or unknown. They often argue that opposition is irrational and racist

Don't be afraid of anti-co-governance, aka democracy - Centrist
Julian Batchelor – anti co-governance.

Perhaps the fault is with the mainstream media, which puts relatively little effort in explaining that co-governance is anti-democratic and endorses a race based system of rule. 

That said, there’s no indication that people reject co-governance out of fearful ignorance or are motivated by some sort of racist animus. 

Graham Adams writes: “Telling critics they have nothing to fear is not an argument; it’s a condescending ploy to cast opponents as irrational and anxious.”

The voters who claim to be the most knowledgeable when it comes to co-governance support ACT. For this group, it is the number one issue and they reject it outright because it promotes racist inequality. It rewards blood-lines with political power in a manner that most would consider abhorrent if applied to Europeans. ACT’s David Seymour says “The great promise of New Zealand is that everyone’s equal.”

It’s worth mentioning here that, aside from ACT, most polls we’ve seen focussing on voters’ concerns  do not provide co-governance as an option to choose. Similarly, the Labour party seems intent on keeping this monumental change under the radar. Would they do that if they thought it would be well received?

Maybe people should be leery of co-governance

Generally speaking, proponents justify racist co-governance measures by making the case that Māori are the victims of colonisation. Co-governance is purported to be a way to right colonialism’s wrongs. 

In an interview on why people fear co-governance, Ben Thomas, a public relations consultant promoting co-governance, boasted that iwi involved with co-governance aren’t “some village in the middle of nowhere”. These are “sophisticated entities”, he said.  

The host, Mihingirangi Forbes, herself a staunch pro co-governance activist, quickly cut him off and changed topics. Perhaps the thought of losing democratic accountability to “sophisticated entities”, some of which are valued in the billions of dollars, may warrant being wary. But even losing democratic accountability to ordinary folks is a “no fly zone” for many.

Anti-co-governance is not racist 

Co-governance proponents have attempted to paint accusations of a Māori elite driving co-governance as racist and “far right”. Anti co-governance activists reject the label. They argue this “elite” group doesn’t represent the vast majority of Māori, which is a view that would imply the opposite of racist. 

Indeed, the narrative around the Māori elite has morphed from ‘they don’t exist‘ to ‘so what if they do exist?‘. 

The idea that racism is fuelling the anti co-governance movement is unfounded scare mongering. 

Opposing the anti democratic aspirations of an elite group is not racist. It’s common sense and it would apply equally to any group that tried to push anti democratic forms of government. 

Pro co-governance supporters shouldn’t fear anti co-governance. Expunging co-governance is a repudiation of racism, not an endorsement.

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