Willie Jackson warns that a National-ACT Government would throw Maori 'under the bus'. But hasn't his Labour Government already done that?  

GOVERNMENT MINISTER'S who live in glasshouses really shouldn't throw stones. But multi-millionaire Willie Jackson couldn't help himself when he launched into ACT leader David Seymour again. 

Last year he described Seymour as a 'useless Maori'. Yesterday in an interview with Newsroom, he tubthumped that Maori would be ‘thrown under the bus, crushed and killed under a National-ACT government.' 

Jackson is nothing if not bellicose and ACT duly responded that his 'violent, divisive, unnecessary, and offensive language' was unacceptable. It also added that 'Willie Jackson is not a radio shock jock anymore. He’s a senior Cabinet Minister responsible for the entire media. New Zealanders deserve better.”

It's another exchange of fire in the tribal war we know as parliamentary politics. But in, once again, claiming a National and ACT coalition government would be a threat to Maori interests, Jackson has opened himself up to the legitimate criticism that the Labour Government that he is part of has done little to advance the interests of working class Maori. 

We might have expected more from Labour as the Maori caucus that Jackson leads is the largest in the party's history. Several Maori are, of course, also in cabinet.

But Jackson and the Maori caucus are also defenders of an economic order that has seen a further sharp increase in poverty and inequality under this Labour Government. Maori - because they are predominantly working class -find themselves at the sharp end of the Labour Government's neoliberal economic policies. The statistics don't lie. The Labour Government too can also be said to have thrown Maori 'under the bus'. 

MEANWHILE, in a speech promoting ACT's polices, David Seymour referred to American civil rights leader Martin Luther King:

'Martin Luther King Jr quoted enlightenment thinkers when he said, “the architects of our republic… were signing a promissory note… that all men — yes, black men as well as white men — would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'

All well and good. But liberals and conservatives alike have a nasty habit of 'sanitising' King's political legacy. What they don't say is that MLK was a socialist.

Of capitalism, he said that he 'failed to see its relative merits' and believed that it had 'outlived its usefulness.'

And he has also a message for market politicians like Willie Jackson and Green co-leader Marama Davidson who talk long and loud about 'race and colonialism' but continue to give capitalism a free pass from criticism. Said King:

'The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and racism. The problem of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.'

Are we to see a radical redistribution of political and economic power under either a National-led or Labour-led government? That's about as likely as me voting this year. 


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