Waitangi 2021 – We’ve all been failed by the Treaty 

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The First
The chiefs of the Confederation and all the chiefs who have not joined that Confederation give absolutely to the Queen of England for ever the complete government over their land.

The Second
The Queen of England agrees to protect the chiefs, the subtribes and all the people of New Zealand in the unqualified exercise of their chieftainship over their lands, villages and all their treasures. But on the other hand the chiefs of the Confederation and all the chiefs will sell land to the Queen at a price agreed to by the person owning it and by the person buying it (the latter being) appointed by the Queen as her purchase agent.

The Third
For this agreed arrangement therefore concerning the government of the Queen, the Queen of England will protect all the ordinary people of New Zealand and will give them the same rights and duties of citizenship as the people of England.

The beauty of the Treaty is that it spells out the power dynamic between the State and all the peoples of New Zealand.

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It is the State’s obligation to protect the rights, agency and self sovereignty of all people and seen within that lens, the State has not only failed Māori appallingly, it has failed us all.

Intergenerational poverty, widening inequality, skyrocketing suicide rates, domestic violence rates that never stop, racist justice systems.

The State has failed in its obligations to us.

The enormity of the number of vulnerable children abused by the State in NZ must force reflection…

Royal Commission into Abuse in Care: Estimated 250,000 victims

The numbers are astounding – figures out this morning from the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care estimate there are up to 250,000 victims over 70 years.

They are children, young people and vulnerable adults who suffered beatings, sexual assault and other cruelty while in state or religious care between 1950 and 2019.

The cost to society of the physical and mental injuries, criminal behaviour, homelessness, lack of education and unemployment is calculated at $217 billion.

…at least quarter of a million NZ children abused, costing over $200billion and causing immeasurable social carnage.

THAT is the legacy of NZ welfare, that is the legacy of the State failing to protect our collective rights under the Treaty.

The neoliberal welfare state is an underfunded punitive stick with which to beat the Christ out of the weakest members of society.

We must all hang out heads in collective shame.

This is what happens when a punitive culture of mini tyrants are left in charge of an underfunded process designed to punish the poor.

Once upon a time in New Zealand, the agencies of state welfare were constructed as an instrumental and direct means to ensure our egalitarian values.

Social welfare was seen as a way to redistribute back to the most vulnerable amongst us and these agencies were critical in carrying out that redistribution.

There was a pride involved in this public service, our compassion made us unique and it built the values from which we as New Zealanders have benefitted from.

That simply is no longer the case.

Between the 1950s-1980s, a perverse mix of ignorance, zero oversight and the darker side of our nature dominated large insinuations that acted more like an abusers paradise than a socially progressive democratic welfare system.

For the last 30+ years, the neoliberal experiment has turned our once egalitarian welfare state into a neoliberal welfare state. The branches of social welfare, the MoD, CYFS, Corrections, Parole Services, Housing NZ, WINZ and Mental health have all been warped and mutated into weapons to punish the poor for being vulnerable.

In a culture of me first and gimme, gimmies where success is private and failure is personal , we see the poor as victims of their own circumstance rather than as a result of the hegemonic structures of power.

The poor, the vulnerable, the weak, the sick and the disabled do everything in their power not to be needing assistance from these Government agencies, because these Government agencies don’t help, they only punish.

We have a MoD who put homeless people into illegal housing.

We have a WINZ service who break people each day and force them to grovel on their belly to make ends meet. Who perform mass surveillance spying on beneficiaries to catch them out in ‘relationships’ despite WINZ not telling anyone what the actual relationship equation is and we have 60% of beneficiaries oweing WINZ money because WINZ claims they’ve defrauded the system by having a ‘relationship’.

We have a Corrections department that is more interested in hiding prisoner suicide stats than actually looking after their prisoners.

We have a Paroles Service that almost every NGO despises having to work with because it’s staffed by people who enjoy the power they have over prisoners lives and are concerned with  only throwing them back into prison.

We have an agency that sexually molests, abuses and assaults the children they are supposed to look after while continuing to remove children from families.

We have a mental health system that still sees skyrocketing suicide rates.

We have a Housing NZ more focused on throwing people out of their homes based on flawed meth testing than providing shelter to the poorest amongst us.

22000 are on social housing waiting lists, 1 in 5 children live in poverty and speculators are pricing home ownership to of reach for every generation who isn’t a boomer.

For me, nothing  sums up the horror of our neoliberal welfare state more than what happened in 2016 with the Auckland Action Against Poverty beneficiary clinic they held for 3 days outside a South Auckland WINZ office. Over a 1000 people lined up to beg for help from activists to gain some type of assistance from WINZ.

Just comprehend that.

WINZ are so evil to these people that a 1000 of them lined up to gain assistance from AAAP. Some had walked since before dawn to arrive in time to get help. Many were in tears and emotionally distraught by the way WINZ had treated them.

What kind of an indictment is that?

Right now we have Oranga Tamariki, a neoliberal welfare experiment that argues early intervention will save the State downstream costs and we are seeing the exact same types of State abuses occur again!

Which demands questions of us on the Left.

Is this abuse because of grotesque underfunding of a welfare system that is about punishing the vulnerable or is there something innate about the State that means its lack of oversight and accountability will always be reduced to an abusers paradise?

The older I get, the more convinced I am that the biggest abuser of rights in NZ is the State.

Every passing year I become more of an anarchist at a time when the State will be essential for surviving the climate crisis.

Elections change Governments.

Revolutions change the State.

We need a revolution at the ballot box to seriously reform the State or we are simply enabling it to continue to damage our fellow citizens.

Our forefathers died and bled on foreign shores to prevent Governments from damaging their own people like this, perhaps the real fight was always here.

 

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34 COMMENTS

  1. “The older I get, the more convinced I am that the biggest abuser of rights in NZ is the State.”
    And unfortunately the generic managerialists within – often parachuted in from the empires, are quite happy with that
    And the older I get, the more I realise just what conservatives JA and one or two of her teacher’s pets are. Unwilling to make any meaningful or fundamental sort of change to the status quo.
    We have government agencies- again, often designed by Labour’s right wing predecessors where everything they touch turns to shit, and which have an investment in maintaining the status quo. And we have a government that despite the promises of kindness and transformation are unwilling to address the problem, That’s even if they recognise what the problem is – that would be the charitable explanation.

    The older I get, the more I realise that the best thing the government are good at are excuses and spin.
    And you’ve got to wonder whatever happened to the promises of transparency too.

    I guess they’re really busy “balancing a number of competing factors” in this space going forward in order to preserve that status quo, which means things like a housing emergency, exploitation and trafficking, the climate emergency, child poverty and abuse, etc. will just have to take a back seat

  2. Perhaps the only hope is a powerful and radical Maori Caucus within the Labour government. As they fight to improve the lot of Maori most affected by the Great Experiment any victory they achieve will be a victory for all of Ao/NZ.

  3. The State doesn’t ‘do compassion’ with any success at all.

    The state has to have rules and administrative guidelines the public servants have to follow. Sometimes the individual’s case fits within the rules, sometimes not.

    And being compassionate as a full time job is exhausting for the staff, so they burn out. Then you get the abuses starting and abuse of power becomes standard practice.

    • Doesn’t have to be that way. There are number of compassionate public servants – usually at the lower to mid levels. Just as there are good people in agencies like the Ombudsman’s Office, and the Childrens’ Commissioner. The burnout usually happens through pushing the shit above uphill, and knowing that when they stuff up, they’ll simply be shunted sideways elsewhere.
      In many cases, the problem is self-evident – things like high staff turnover and the amount of PR spin that has to be dished out in the largely unquestioning media (with a few exceptions.) In a way, it’s no wonder the uni-tasker Faafoi likes things just the way they are, otherwise it might mean more people in the media would be demanding more of the promised transparency and accountability.
      And as @Maama says (below), being compassionate doesn’t have to bring stress. It can actually be quite rewarding

    • Ekshully, I wouldn’t be surprised if various public [so-called-service] Chief Executives, and even those in the PM’s “team” – schooled in the arts of comms and marketing haven’t been instructed to undertake several “pieces of work” in the gummint and business spaces (going forward).
      It’s possible they might even have commissioned some “independent” consultancy – a Booze Allen, or a KPMG lookalike consultancy maybe to provide advice.
      And if that is the case, I won’t be surprised if some amazing new [read recycled] management theory concept is trotted out. Kaizen maybe. That’s due for a second or third run.

      Meanwhile, Bernard Hickey, on his way to partner with Josie Pagani on RNZ’s Sunday panel counted 8 people sleeping in doorways. I think I found him another 2 to add to the tally – just in passing. One near Wellington railway station, the other near Newtown Countdown.

      Thankfully, the bullshit is wearing thin and the clock is ticking

  4. Sorry Ada, I don’t believe being compassionate brings stress – working with your heart can be a two way operation. It is when you are practicing negativity that the stress moves in, and antagonism takes over leading to burn out. But you are 100% right with “the State does not do compassion” that is never the goal.

  5. Tell me Martyn, what exactly is racist about our justice system? And before you start, inequality of outcome does NOT equal racism.

    • Inequality of outcome, such as Maori receiving more punitive sentences for like crimes does not equal racism eh?

      Bomber has been around long enough to know what penal researchers have consistently demonstrated for decades but feel free to continue your Pontificating.

  6. The Treaty was a fraud. A cynical move to coopt Maori, presenting equality only in terms of British law which is that of private ownership of property and the state institutions (the “crown”) designed to protect it.
    “Protection” pre-supposed Maori acceptance of this capitalist hegemony. Maori were unprepared for the private ownership of land, and after their military resistance was defeated, recompense has been made only in the token terms of ‘honouring the Treaty’. Still a fraud.
    Our history of continuous colonial domination by Britain proves that this injustice cannot be undone short of a national revolution to break all ties with Britain, and its current big imperialist brothers the US and China, that leads to a post-capitalist society of real social and environmental welfare.

    • Better late than never, I suppose.

      Good to see the Covid near miss told for what it was: largely a product of geography, with bit of fumbling in the dark that nearly ended in tragedy.

      By the way, I don’t caller her leader. I call her fake; fraudster; con artist; opportunist, acolyte of Tony B Liar etc.

    • Christ! You place credibility in Oliver Hartwitch. I guess a clock is accurate 2 times in a day – or so says yet another boffin parachuted in from the empire.
      If I had to ride on Ollie’s pontifications, I’d have fucking starved to death.
      Thankfully I don’t, and nor would I ever place myself in a position that I’d have to. But, agreed – he does seem to have earned himself a degree of credibility in this dying space of neoliberalism (going forward).
      Perhaps JA might even commission him to undertake “a piece of work”

    • That’s your opinion and you’re welcome to it.

      “The world”, in this instance, is no more than one person’s opinion in one newspaper.

      The PM of NZ did not ask to be lauded by any media – it just happens to be the perceived job of such media to make whatever comment about whomever they wish.

      You need to get some perspective, Jeff.

      • The fact that your here, where the consistent failures of Adern and Labour are being alluded to on a daily basis, actually exposes you not Jeff as the one who is need of some perspective.

        • ‘your here’ says it all, Pedro. What does it mean? ‘This place belonging to you?

          Please write English that is intelligible..

    • Jeff
      Are you another one of these old right-wing Jacinda/woman hating men. Jacinda is a good leader who listened to expert advice instead of the un-educated media and National party conspirators and commentators. If she followed their advice we wouldnt have had a summer like we are having. Who would listen to another fool like that nobody harwitch and the discredited right-wing publication the spectator – they can both wallow in the covid hell hole that is the UK.
      These moaning old men should feel better now that their man hero Trump has been tossed out and the USA will be great again. I say to you sad old kiwi men out there – rejoice, look at whats happening around the world. NZ is one of the most democratic countries in the world and also our economy is booming and employment improving. If kiwis don’t like it here, they can go and live overseas.

  7. We’re still struggling with Kiwi politics 101 aren’t we? It’s all a bit fucking depressing isn’t it?
    We can’t retain the concept in our hokey Weetbix and Marmite brains that it is we, the people, who are the collective guardians of our own collective futures while the politicians we vote in, in favour of those less popular by majority then pay extremely well to act on our behalf just fuck off and do as they please while being joyfully sadistic and arrogant towards us for their shits and giggles.
    What we’re clearly left with is a cadre of narcissistic sociopaths on all fronts and the freak shows who call the shots are private enterprise and we can’t vote the bastards out and never voted them in so unless we get proper fucking aggressive and assertive towards the privateer enterprisers they ain’t jumping off the gravy train anytime soon.
    The very most chilling aspect of the above for me personally is that the above isn’t new. It’s been going on for generations. And the chill is why does it seem like only me who comprehends that?
    Clearly, I’m not that bright so why do I get an urgent need to go to the toilet and drop paula off at the pool every time I ponder that unnerving anomaly?
    Humanoids? Our politicians are all one and the same thing. Please try to understand that?
    The real politics is done in the steamy offices of our few pathetic little fiefdoms headed up by fancy, little penis people trying to out diddle each other. Just look at who has knighthoods? Surely, that’s enough to convince you that we’re without political comfort and cushioning. We’re being hunted down and devoured by rich, greedy unproductive psychopaths, is that not obvious to anyone else but me and the couple of you others here? And even the couple of you others have yet to hit the nail squarely on the head yet.
    Here’s a hint. A clue hidden in this on RNZ today…
    RNZ
    “Man fined $4500 for attempting to smuggle seeds”
    “…Anderson said it is an important reminder that bringing unauthorised goods into the country by any method, whether smuggling through the border in person or receiving products by mail, puts New Zealand’s biosecurity at risk.”
    New Zealand’s isolated position in the world, and its HIGH ECONOMIC DEPENDENCE ON ITS PRIMARY INDUSTRIES, makes it particularly vulnerable to the introduction of any invasive pests and diseases through the importation of “risk goods”
    Who’d a thought invasive pests and diseases wore frocks and suits and flounced about in boutique bars and cafe’s while our primary industry fucks out and suicides from over indebtedness and under paid slave labouring to the foreign banksters we were sold out to by knights and dames?

    • Any country who’s leaders financially reward people exponentially depending on the number of houses they own is morally sick, cruel and twisted. If you are one of the ignored people who don’t own a home but are lucky? enough to be renting they allow (and cause) the rents to rise to punish you and keep you down, but they are happy as it makes the landlord richer, if you don’t own a home and are homeless they might put you up in a filthy motel if you are lucky. They will do this because by doing it one of their preferred people, the motel owner, is rewarded enormously for their troubles. When a binman can be enormously wealthy compared to a brain surgeon, just because he was born 15 years earlier, with the brain surgeon having no chance of reaching the same wealth as the brain surgeon then the whole dirty system is corrupt. Jacinda, Key, Grant and Orr are all perpetuating this unfairness. We need a revolution before its too late.

      • When a binman can be enormously wealthy compared to a brain surgeon, just because he was born 15 years earlier, with the brain surgeon having no chance of reaching the same wealth as the brain surgeon then the whole dirty system is corrupt”.

        Not sure what you mean here Jeff.

        But I grant it can’t be nice being one of the ignored

        • Edit (my bad) – “When a binman can be enormously wealthy compared to a brain surgeon, just because the bin man was born 15 years earlier, with the brain surgeon having no chance of reaching the same wealth as the bin man then the whole dirty system is corrupt”.

      • The NZ Economy is stuffed especially over the past 20 years where we have been importing Asian House Farmers to prop up the so called Rockstar Economy ???

        An Economy which is geared to gear up house prices for the House Farmers every year ???

        It is a no brainer, bring in another 500k Asian House Farmers and the market will go ballistic, it is Economics 101, Supply & Demand Curves.

  8. Te Maori have been shafted big time since the TOW and nothing really seems to improve under a Labour Government, the left wing and the right wing appear to be connected to the same bird ???

    • That’s nonsense unless you believe Greta is teaming up with Trump. This idea that it’s simply analytical vs tradition combined with the treaty infrastructure ends up with a confused approach. The trends are moving towards this thing as if kiwi spirits are riding a bird towards glory. Yes, there is ideology but it contains things we know and things we don’t know. We have to leave behind these empathetic terms because you describe it as things but nothing concrete. There’s no contingent mould or spiritual guide guiding the bird then we would be able to predict when the bird hits hunger. Y’know did we take care of the environment it’s also clear that without the internet Covid19 would not have been contained within a few regions and this is the double-edged sword of materialism. I’m not in total opposition to the appearance of the concept of the bird but it’s too simple lacks nuance. while I consider the left vs right to be a contradiction. Government is not hidden behind a veil and the relationships are clear to see.

  9. “It is the State’s obligation to protect the rights, agency and self sovereignty of all people and seen within that lens, the State has not only failed Māori appallingly, it has failed us all.”

    I am not sure about the “self sovereignty” part, as Dave Brown pointed out the Crown as protector of individual property rights (and also civil liberties/due process) – since the Magna Carta is well known. Though the Crown has periodically been in breach (Henry V11 and Henry V111 corrupt practices for example) and of course with collectively titled Maori land (the theft and the constraints on Maori land use/inheritance of claim).

    In the sense that the state has failed us, the Crown just adheres to the will of the elected government and on occasion it is the popular will of the people (majority) that led to the state’s betrayal of individuals and the minority’s rights.

    • Bullshit. The working class get up and fight for individual rights all the time only to be betrayed by leaders and charlatan educators with lots to say about fuck all.

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