Simon Bridges likely to treat Māori the way John Key treated state house tenants

By   /   March 3, 2018  /   7 Comments

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I think having a Maori political leader is a very positive and hopeful step only if that leader uses his position and influence to dispel destructive stereotypes about Māori – not perpetuate them.    

There are certain things women notice more than men- such as how, Simon Bridges, during his first press interview as the leader of the National Party, didn’t pour his own water and instead gestured to his deputy, Paula Bennett, to do it for him.

Now, I’m definitely not a Jacinda-worshipper but I have a feeling she could listen to a reporter’s question and pour her own water at the same time- maybe it’s true what they say: women are better at multitasking.

The other thing I noticed was how Bridges never looked at his deputy or his wife as he thanked them for their support, even though they were standing right beside him. Maybe he was too nervous and just focusing on getting through his speech.

Talking about his deputy and his wife- was it really necessary to have them standing next to him for such a long time, silent and still like two decorative potted plants?

I know Bridges was just following protocols- but, as a viewer, I felt sorry especially for Mrs Bridges who must have been wishing to be at home with his three young children.

So, what else did I notice during that speech?

Well, I noticed what he said about Māori.

He said he believed “Maoridom was changing”.

We didn’t have to wait long to find out how he thought Maoridom was changing because he went on to say:

“I think clearly we are seeing Māori succeed in business, both small and large, and they are as aspirational as every other New Zealander”.

So basically what Bridges believes is that Māori are changing by being more aspirational.

Isn’t that a clear dog whistle to the racists who believe the failures of the Māori are due to their lack of ambitions and general laziness and nothing to do with historical wrongdoings and structural and institutional racism?  

Listening to Bridges I was reminded of how John Key, when questioned about the cold and damp conditions of some state houses, used to repeat the story of his solo mother keeping their state house dry by regularly airing it and generally managing well by working hard.

National supporters loved John Key’s stories because it perpetuated the myth that, poor housing, like the one that killed two-year-old Emma-Lita Bourne in South Auckland, was generally due to neglect and laziness of the tenants, and nothing to do with the systematic failure of the Government to provide adequate housing for their citizens.

John Key never failed to capitalize on being a state house kid- but what did he ever do for state house tenants?

Well, he planned to sell their homes – including the one he was brought up in.

You see, The National Party’s ideology is based on a neoliberal model that encourages individuals to own their success by ignoring their privileges and good fortunes and by feeling that they- and they alone- were responsible for their achievements in life.

The flip side of this type of thinking assumes individuals must own their failure.

In other words, if you fail, it is because you are a loser- nothing to do with, for instance, the sate failing to protect you when in their care as a child; or any of the other numerous misfortunes that many people suffer in the course of their lives.

I think having a Maori political leader is a very positive and hopeful step only if that leader uses his position and influence to dispel destructive stereotypes about Māori – not perpetuate them.    

The disappearance of the Māori Party from the Parliament should be a stark warning to Simon Bridges that Māori would not hesitate to let their votes do the talking.

 

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About the author

Donna Miles

Donna Miles is a British-born, Iranian-bred, New Zealand citizen with a strong interest in human rights, justice and equality issues.

7 Comments

  1. WILD KATIPO says:

    … ‘ The disappearance of the Māori Party from the Parliament should be a stark warning to Simon Bridges that Māori would not hesitate to let their votes do the talking ‘….

    And ne’er a truer word spoken.

    All this tokenisitic claptrap that is spouted by these politicians , as they merrily lump whole races together in stereotypical opinions and behavior , – and then have the colossal gall to preach to us about the evils of racism , and that we must be tolerant.

    Hah ! Tolerant.

    Translated that means we must be tolerant of them and their unmandated and destructive policy’s to let in thousands upon thousands of immigrants from foreign country’s to provide cheap labour and drive down wages and ramp up housing prices to un – affordable levels through housing speculation.

    Those issues haven’t gone away and wont for a very long time. Such is the damage of 9 years of National party ‘deliberate’ incompetence.

    And do they REALLY think we cant see through their hypocritical bullshit in trying to create a total free market paradise with them and their elitist supporters enjoying the benefits of a low wage economy with an expendable , casualized workforce bordering on serfdom and living in precarious and unhealthy living quarters?

    So,… just quietly? ,… I dont think anybody gives a flying shit anymore about what Simon Bridges or any other of the National party ‘ inner core ‘ thinks ‘ Maori’ think or dont think , – I think everybody can plainly see he is grandstanding in the worst possible way and racially generalizing to advance his own agenda.

    Which is par for the course for the National party.

  2. countryboy says:

    All I see is blue, and stupid hair. Is there more to see?
    Ooh. Right. A lawyer degree an’ that.

    simon bridges is a lawyer. Say that fifty times and see what happens to your brain.
    That means he’s well versed on all, and every, permutation of how to fuck us on the deal.

    He’s a walking deal-fuck. A talking snake with oil to burn. It doesn’t really matter if he was a Martian. A Plutonian. A Uranus-ite. A Starun-ese. A Moon-ster. A Mercurian. A Venitian-blind sider. A Neptune-arian. Etc. ( I’ve run out. )
    He’s going to fuck us on the deal. There’s one thing for certain. Deal? Fucked.Us.On.

  3. Muttonbird says:

    I also like the one where National supporters say the poor should grow their own vegetables.

    Firstly, where? They are shunted from house to house with depressing regularity if renting privately and the sell-and-intensify policy of the last government means state tenants will no longer have room.

    Secondly, why? Anyone who has tried growing vegetables in an urban backyard environment knows that you don’t do it to save money because to get crops it’s more expensive than buying.

    • Quite right, Muttonbird. In fact, I posted one story on precisely this problem a clouple of years ago: https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/06/26/poor-people-let-them-eat-cake-grow-veges-not-breed-and-other-parroted-right-wing-cliches/

      The tenant of that property had a remarkable garden, along with chickens. One day s/he left the property, and the gardens fell into a state of over-growth. For well over a year, the property was empty. Last year, it, and others adjacent were demolished and has become a building site. (Anyone wanting to look at it themselves can find it easily enough, as it lies adjacent to the McAlister Heights tower block in Adelaide Rd, Wellington.)

    • Michelle says:

      The gnats mentality is they can grow their veggies in the car or vans they live in maybe on the car roof or maybe the motels can have raised gardens.
      It reminds me of Shipleys’ benefits soup she tried to force beneficiaries and the poor to eat but she wouldn’t have a bar of it herself bloody patronizing tory hypocrites

  4. Winston Moreton says:

    There is an ancient expression in the USA for indigenous folk who are ashamed of their heritage.

  5. Dorothy Bulling says:

    Simon Bridges has about as much personality as a dead fish lying in the sun. As for his Maori heritage, how come he has never claimed this publicly before? I hope that Maori who are interested in politics, don’t get screwed up with his small percentage of Maori blood.