The Paua Palace

My royal blog, life, opinions and me, it’s all about ME.. Right?

Climb onto the bandwagon and cry racism!

Posted by pauaprincess on October 18, 2007

Dr Pita Sharples, co leader of the Maori Party has said today, that the raids conducted on Monday by Police have set relations between Maori and Pakeha back a century.  In a statement released by the Maori Party, Dr Sharples said “When it suits this country, it invokes the rulings of the United Nations – such as Terrorism Suppression Act – but when it comes to supporting the rights of indigenous people as passed by the UN then it turns its butt.”

What like Tame Iti did on TV the other night?

Tame Iti is the best known of those arrested , a sovereignty activist , who has now been charged with illegal possession of a Ruger .22, a MacTech .22, and a Siga 7.62-calibre firearm, in addition to the earlier of charges possession of a rifle, a shotgun and a military style semi-automatic and molotov cocktails.  That’s a lot of guns for someone without a firearms licence and errr illegal.  Illegal meaning, it’s a crime for anyone, regardless of race,creed or colour.  So how is that race based pray tell?

In 2005 Tame Iti faced charges after he fired a shotgun during a Powhiri for Waitangi members. Tame iti was convicted on two charges but they were later over-turned by the court of appeal the ruling was that the crown failed to prove the pre requisite harm had taken place.  And his spitting at the feet of ministers outside parliament during the foreshore and seabed hikoi guaranteed outrage up and down the country. 

Tame Iti, like Jaime Lockett is remanded in custody, it would appear the crown is an equal opportunity jailer.

Whether or not the alleged training camps were paramilitary style is irrelevant.  Let’s be clear here, the people arrested and charged were in possession of firearms and firebombs, that is a crime.  Pure and simple, it’s against the law.  It matters not what colour your skin is, whether your ancestors are Maori, English or Martian, it’s a criminal offence.

If the Police raids had been conducted on a group of white supremacists, with shaved heads and swastika tattoos on their faces, I have a sneaking suspicion that Dr Sharples would have been applauding.  What’s more, Pakeha New Zealander’s would have been applauding along with him, not decrying it as a blow to race relations.  In fact it would be seen as a victory for race relations.

So who is setting race relations back here? 

The Pakeha arrested aren’t claiming racism and indeed Left leaning commentator and blogger Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury, sided with the police, saying that in his dealings with the activist community he had become concerned with the actions of “some clowns.” While veteran activist John Minto maintains the raids provoked “a climate of fear and repression”.  Amongst the more cynical comments I have heard, was that with an election approaching next year, PM Helen Clark is pulling a Bush and citing terrorism to get re elected.

Playing the race card DOES set back race relations, it’s provocative, divisive and quite frankly in my view has nothing to do with the price of fish.  This is an issue of law breaking, first and foremost.  Whether or not terrorism allegations stand up, remains to be seen.  If the terrorism allegations are proven, that just makes the whole issue of Tame Iti’s involvement and the support of other respected leaders like those of the Maori party, repugnant. 

The details of the raids, are already detailed on Wikipedia.


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