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Mike's Minute: Waitangi isn't our national day, it's our grievance day

Mike Hosking ,
Publish Date
Thu, 7 Feb 2019, 7:16am

Mike's Minute: Waitangi isn't our national day, it's our grievance day

Mike Hosking ,
Publish Date
Thu, 7 Feb 2019, 7:16am


I guess it's a fairly easy trap to fall into. Go somewhere, immerse yourself in the surroundings and before you know it, you think it's all that matters, it's the centre of the world, and the rest of the country is as gripped as you.

And so it was with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her embrace of all things Waitangi. She decided Waitangi was the place to judge the government.

Traditionally, of course, the place to judge a government is at the polling booth. She also forgot most of the country isn't Māori. Most of this country is multicultural - 4.8 million of us have come from all corners of the world.

And yet the Prime Minister talked of the incarceration rate, the job rate, the education rate, as it affected Māori. Not that it's not an issue, it's just not "the" issue on our national day.

But that's the problem isn't it? It's not really our national day, it's our grievance day.

And not even a national grievance day, because the vast, vast majority of us don't actually have a grievance. The vast, vast majority of us love our lives, love our country, feel blessed to be here, and understand just how lucky we are.

My great hope is that one day, in some sort of nationalistic organised fashion, we might like to get around to marking that. But in the ensuing period it remains a highly niche outing for a few touchy-feelies.

The Prime Minister, also, if not outright lied, gilded the lily in spectacular fashion.

As part of her "judge us" mantra she said, for the first time in 10 years we are starting to see some of the lowest numbers of Māori in unemployment.

Now, that's a quote I found and it technically is grammatically incorrect, as far as I can work out.

But I get what she's claiming. She's claiming that after a year in office, for the first time in a decade, the Māori unemployment rate is falling. That is, straight up and down, simply not true - or even close to it.

This Government inherited a very strong economy, a rock star economy, in which the unemployment rate had been falling consistently for many, many years and, that included Māori. She has inherited a trend - and to claim it only started when she arrived is as blatant a furphy as you can get.

Now all politicians spin, but that is not spin, it's BS. Not unlike Grant Robertson on this show a week or so back, who was claiming we're growing at three per cent, when we are not.

We, up to the latest figures in the calendar year 2018, have grown 1.8 per cent. And unless the last quarter comes in at 1.2 per cent (which it won't) we will not be growing at the rate he claims.

Now, you can argue ideology, like Phil Twyford, but that has to end when the facts overtake the theory.

When there aren't 1000 KiwiBuild houses, you're wrong. When there isn't three per cent growth, you're wrong. When Māori unemployment has been going down for longer than a year, you're wrong.

And all of this goes to credibility. Is this Government merely a government of buzz words? Like the "year of delivery," and false stats.

Is this Government just a government of hyperbole, headlines, one-liners, and false claims? And the great hope is we're all too stupid to work it out.

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