Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Little Lies

Granny reports that John Key is an expert on the relationship between the Labour Party and Ratana:

Prime Minister John Key claimed later the links between Labour and the church were "well and truly gone".
"In reality, from what I can see, Maori are no different from any other New Zealanders - they're going to vote for what they think can deliver the best outcomes for them."

Yeah?  Irish Bill has a good post at The Standard around framing, and how Labour is still losing the PR battle.  IB includes the first part of the quote above but not the second, and it's the second part that stood out for me as a reflection of what is wrong with the National Party.  So what's wrong with the statement?
Maori are different to other New Zealanders, in many ways.  These differences are fundamental to our society and to NZ as an independent nation.
The preamble to the statement is bizarre too.  "In reality, from what I can see..." is a contradiction - what we see is a perspective, and when it is something as vague as generalisations about a group as full of variety as Maori, whether an individual's perspective is reality or not is at best a matter for debate.  Given the obvious falsehood of the rest of the statement (before the hyphen), I am drawn to the conclusion that either:

  • Mr Key has a poor grip on reality, or
  • Mr Key is lying.

Neither option is suitable for a Prime Minister.
The poor grip on reality continues through the rest of the quote, and its a classic restatement of the objectivist meme that people vote in their own personal best interest.  Acknowledging that I am generalising, I strongly disagree with Mr Key's assertion.  One of the differences between Maori and "any other New Zealander" is a tendency to understand the concept of the common good and to value it relatively more highly than individual gain.  Another difference is to look at issues across a longer timeframe, which also tends to favour gains made by groups over those accruing to individuals.

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