Race row over Act comments on Foreshore

Hilary Calvert

"Racist" and "inappropriate" remarks by ACT MP Hilary Calvert have been condemned by the Maori Party and Attorney-General.

In Parliament yesterday, during debates on The Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill, Ms Calvert was disparaging about how the legislation had to take into account Maori rights.

"Tikanga is an 'Alice in Wonderland' word. It means whatever the Queen -- I think it was the Red or White Queen -- said it would mean, no more and no less."

Under the bill tikanga covered inherited rights and interests, she said.

"So we are to believe that this Alice in Wonderland word, a word that can be defined by the person claiming some property in our coastal land, creates legal rights based entirely on the say-so of the claimant. We might just as well ask iwi for a list of what they want and put through a legal transfer."

Later in the evening she questioned Maori rights to relating to the seabed saying it was questionable that historical use any distance from shore happened.

"Historically no one has crawled about the seabed miles from shore... There is just no chance from 1840 to now of anybody holding their breath on the seabed."

The bill repeals the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act and replaces it with legislation that returns to Maori the right to seek customary title to parts of the coastline through the High Court or by negotiation with the Government.

It is supported by National, the Maori Party and United Future, which gives the Government a slender majority.

The bill is opposed by all the other parties.

Today Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia was scathing of Ms Calvert's comments.

"I've come to expect ignorant attitudes and behaviour from the ACT Party, so I am not surprised when they make comments of that nature. We are not allowed to call people racists in here, we are not allowed to refer to those matters in the House. But when someone denigrates another culture then for me that's racist."

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson said the remarks were "inappropriate."

"I just thought it went too far," he told reporters.

"I thought they were unfortunate. Let's have the debate on the issues of principle and not stray into areas that are unfair to our fellow citizens."

Also he disapproved of ACT's proposed amendment about access.

"It seems some people are never satisfied about the issue of free access they seem to have this bogey about Maoris wanting to stop access to the beaches and I think it's pretty unfair."

Independent Maori MP Hone Harawira, who left the Maori Party over his concerns the bill did not go far enough, said he found much of Ms Calvert's speech unintelligible.

"I'm offended by a lot of what goes on in this place but if you jumped up and down about everything you'd be jumping up and down all the time. You pick and choose your fights and I think that was the sort of thing you'd expect to hear from someone like Hilary Calvert."

During the ACT Party conference at the weekend a remark was made the party should introduce a policy to "shoot the natives" during a speech by former National leader Don Brash on the Treaty.

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13 Comments & Questions

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What Calvert said sounds spot on to me. We should all be deeply disturbed by the fact that anyone who questions the Maori agenda is automatically and so easily labelled a "racist".


NZ is obviously a nation devided by race, I saw the results of this first hand in the former Yugoslavia in 1990.
Smart move NZ & Key, those who live in the past have no future.
I would like to see a government in this country that are here for all & not minorities.


Pot, Kettle, Turia really. Chucking around the term racist when she grasped Hone for so long to her shrinking bosoms in a Party developed solely around race. Alice in Wonderland vs White mo-fo?

When the quality of the person screaming racist is so low to begin with it is hard to take the term seriously anymore.


I agree with you Kate.

NBR- Your reporting of the "shoot the natives" remark is titillating but where's context for God's sake. Are you a newspaper or a gossip rag?


Hone was sucking on his mother's Tittyfied


Members of NZ's only race based political party calling others racist?
Surely some mistake?


Tut Tut...
Good to see Calvert is giving a bit back.
Finlayson that pompous ass should hear how he is described in most circles!


When Maori party members go overseas and are asked of their nationality , do they resond I am a maori or do they acknowledge that they are New Zealanders ? Isn't being a maori just an excuse for a handout?


Finlayson has a personal, vested, commercial interest in ensuring this bill goes through. His arrogant and smarmy disposition says it all. To add insult to injury, he's not even an elected representative of the people.


Regardless of this particular kerfuffle.

Hilary Calvert comes across as a neanderthal lacking in minimum social skills required to be a politician or may be even a human being.

ACT is not going to make much headway in the polls -- scraping the barrel here.


Hilary is right. So much tikanga is recent invention. And a lot worked up to drive political agendas. Get real NZers, quit apologizing for both real and imagined wrongs in the past and get on with building a successful, united and multicultural society. Parliament has become a sad joke because of the race based legislation currently in fashion. Hilary, while a bit excitable, is one of the few honest politicians who genuinely represents the more thoughtful members of the public. So many of the public have been lulled into the stupidity of political correctness that real values have fallen by the wayside. While Hide has probably wrecked ACT's chance to have a future in Parliament, we desperately need a liberal party based on good sense, financial conservatism and wisdom. Finlayson and Key are driven by inflated egos and opportunism. The end result can only be an unholy mess. Race based politics are corrupt and should not be part of any modern democracy. Sadly, only ACT is opposing institutional racism.


Hilary Calvert шs a racist indeed. She's a very bad person, I think. We all are equal. She should read some <a href="http://www.researchpaperhelp.org//research_paper.php">custom research papers</a> about being polite


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