Another build up to Waitangi Day has led to another example of stupidity all round.
Bill English, the new Prime Minister of New Zealand, has decided to distance himself from the Waitangi Day celebrations after he was told he wouldn’t be able to speak at the treaty grounds. Before we go any further, I want you to keep in mind what I said in the latter part of that sentence.
When questioned by the media today, English defended his decision, saying that New Zealanders “cringe” at the prospect of protests. English went a step further and said he didn’t think it was appropriate that the Prime Minister, himself, wasn’t allowed to speak at such an occasion.
The Waitangi Day celebrations have always been volatile affairs for the Government. Anyone who says that the same protests won’t occur in 2017 are kidding themselves.
Can we really deny what English says? The Prime Minister was right on the mark with his comments. Of course it isn’t appropriate, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to come to that conclusion.
We are talking about the Prime Minister of New Zealand here, and it’s time people came to terms with that. Waitangi is not the place for protest, at least that wasn’t what was intended. It has become that because of those who’ve come after history, those who feel entitled, and ultimately, those who have no respect for the traditions of a day that celebrates what New Zealand is.
That last point is key in this blog, the lack of respect and the timing is why you see the Prime Minister pulling out.
Like in 2016, the Prime Minister’s speaking rights were cut off. Nobody in their right mind could blame John Key for turning his back on it last year, and nor should they blame English. Let’s not forget that English specifically reached out to Waitangi officials to ask about the conditions of his attendance, to which English was told that the committee had decided her couldn’t speak on “their” Marae.
Apparently it’s their Marae, remember that. And people say that English is being disrespectful to the history of Waitangi Day?
Straight out of the oppositions’ playbook, Labour leader Andrew Little labelled the Prime Minister’s decision as a “black mark” on his leadership. This is entirely incorrect, and English not attending Waitangi will have absolutely zero impact on the 2017 General Election. The Leader of the Opposition doesn’t fully back his claims either, but the announcement today gave him an opportunity to criticise.
So as we head into Waitangi Day in 2017, it is clear that those certain people, so-called officials, are still very much on that hypocritical high horse. That is a big shame, for New Zealand.