23 Jun 2017

Twitter is ridiculing 'racist propaganda' Hobson’s Pledge

11:03 am on 23 June 2017

Don Brash-led trust is stepping up its campaign to abolish what it claims is Māori favouritism.

Straight in the fire.

Straight in the fire. Photo: Twitter / Vincent O'Malley

Straight in the fire.

Photo: Twitter / Vincent O'Malley

A group targeting what it says is rife “race-based privilege” in New Zealand has re-emerged and is stepping up its awareness campaign before September’s election.

The lobby group, Hobson's Pledge Trust, has been distributing fliers to 1.6 million homes this week. Led by former National Party leader Don Brash, it intends to pressure politicians into opposing race-based laws and preferential Māori seats in Parliament.

“If you believe New Zealand can be a place where all citizens are equal before the law, irrespective of ancestry, then please use your vote to end National’s race-based policies,” one of the fliers states.

The group was formed in September last year and named after a Governor who represented Queen Victoria at the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

At the time, Dr Brash said, “We've got a situation where those who have a Māori ancestor, and I say sometimes only one or two Māori ancestors out of many, are given some constitutional preference.” He denied the group is racist.

The group’s website states it aims to scrap separate Māori electorates, abolish the Waitangi Tribunal, restrict tribal powers and “remove all references in law and in Government policy to Treaty ‘partnership’ and ‘principles’”.

The team behind Hobson's Pledge.

The members of Hobson's Pledge Trust. Photo: Hobson's Pledge Trust

It was last year derided by Labour leader Andrew Little as racist. “This only works as an idea if you're prepared to overlook the first 100 years of New Zealand's history, ignore the fact that there were land confiscations, that there were unlawful detentions of Māori people, that there was discrimination and racism against Māori people in the early part of our history."

“It's an old campaign, that failed in the old days and is going to fail now. I don't know why he is wasting his time,” said Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei.

Yet the trust stepped up its awareness campaign this week by distributing fliers. Ads were placed in the Sunday papers and a press release attacking the National Party was sent to media on Tuesday.

“By appeasing continuous tribal demands, National Party leaders are surrendering what’s not theirs to give away, purely to cling onto political power,” Dr Brash said.

Twitter reacted:

One Tweeter got her child involved in the debate.

Another, a teacher, asked her students what they thought.

The fire seems to be the popular destination for the flyer.

There was, however, some support out there for the group.