The Politics of the Woke, Separatism, and the Chris Hipkins Orwellian Speech

I listened to Chris Hipkins’s speech on August 27th and thought it was very Orwellian. Not only did he focus on ethnicity and gender identity, he also denounced those who had deferring opinions. Yet Hipkins spoke of unity, but only as he sees it. It was woke and bordered on an Orwellian concept of “wrong think.”

As Chris Trotter wrote, “Implicit in this strategy is a strong belief that New Zealand society, or, at least, a majority of those New Zealanders determined to vote on 14 October, have embraced the Labour Government “line” on Ethnicity and Gender. Clearly, those who balk at the idea of injecting the concept of co-governance into the provision of public services; or reject as unfair the idea of trans-women competing against biological women in sport; will no longer find a welcome in Labour’s “big tent.” Once celebrated for its broad inclusiveness, Hipkins’ party has opted to greet potential supporters with a grim pair of ideological bouncers.”*1

Hipkins clearly and disturbingly stated that those who did not follow this line of thinking believed in misinformation and propagated disinformation. Naturally, he targeted NZ First for promoting disinformation and “wrong think” when it came to gender issues. Furthermore, he fundamentally believes that those on the right are dangerous when it relates to gender issues. However, it was Labour and Green supporters that posed a threat to not only democracy and freedom of speech, but allowed and supported the gender activists to attack the Posie Parker rally, wanting to debate what it is to be a woman.

Trotter succinctly said “That is an extraordinary accusation. It does, however, comport with the political style of the aggressively woke, who interpret anything other than 100 percent acceptance of the “correct” ideological position as proof positive of “incorrect” beliefs and “genocidal” intentions.”*2

Trotter neatly summarises, not only Hipkins’s speech, but Labour’s thinking on this issue. “It is all of a piece, however, with a party so convinced of its own rectitude that it has become incapable of construing disagreement as anything other than – to use the buzzwords du jour – “misinformation, disinformation and malinformation.” In its mildest form, this mindset offers “education” as the optimal solution to the “wrong-think” of dissenters. Among the hardcore, however, dissenters are to be suppressed. What Hipkins has signalled in his speech is a personal preference for the hardcore’ s response to the communicators of “wrong-thought” – among whom he clearly includes Winston Peters and NZ First.

“That Hipkins has opted to drag New Zealanders into the strange, looking-glass world of the super-woke is deeply troubling. According to the Prime Minister, dissent on questions of gender threaten the unity of the nation and automatically disqualify the dissenting party, NZ First, from any role in government. At the same time, Te Pāti Māori may pour scorn upon the principle of majority rule, and the democratic system it upholds, without rebuke. The party’s claim that Māori genes are superior to those of New Zealand’s other ethnicities, likewise, presents no barrier to entering a Labour Party-led coalition government.”*3

Then there is Te Pati Māori. A party based on race, that does not believe in the democratic process, but firmly believes in the separation of our country based on race. It claims its opponents are racist when they are called out for wanting an ethno-nationalist state. It is simplistic and insulting to oppose any challenge to this concept as racist. It lacks credibility and honesty. Te Pati Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer stated on Morning Report that they believed in unity. This is deeply disingenuous coming from a separatist party.

Karl du Fresne stated, “It’s an appealing sentiment, but it rings resoundingly hollow coming from one of the most divisive figures in Parliament and the co-leader of the only New Zealand political party that, by definition, sets itself apart on the basis of racial identity. Far from cultivating a spirit of accord, Te Pati Māori proudly celebrates its otherness. That seems an odd basis on which to present yourself as a champion of unity.”*4

Further, “Ngarewa-Packer railed against the politics of fear and division and twice described the positions taken by her political rivals as “revolting” – not a word calculated to promote the warm, positive vibes she supposedly aspires to.

“She didn’t name them but clearly she was referring to National, ACT and presumably NZ First as well. It’s worth pointing out that all those parties have Māori candidates as well as Pakeha, and in the case of National and ACT, representatives of other minorities as well. ACT, which I suspect is the party Ngarewa-Packer most reviles, has three MPs of Māori descent, including leader David Seymour.”*5

This leads to the issue of democracy in New Zealand. Labour have been promoting a very radical interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi to instil a belief New Zealand needs to be co-governed and working in partnership with Māori. Firstly, the British Empire at the time the treaty was signed, never entered any partnership with its colonial domains. Secondly, co-governance is equally disputed.

“There is nothing about partnership in the Treaty, whether in the Māori language version or in the English language version. The speeches made by chiefs at the time of the signing, both by chiefs who opposed the signing because they recognized that power was being handed to the Governor on behalf of the Queen and by those who nevertheless favoured signing it, make it abundantly clear that the chiefs recognised that they were ceding sovereignty. And this recognition was reaffirmed repeatedly on subsequent occasions, most notably at the Kohimarama meeting of chiefs in 1860 and by the man who adorns our $50 bank note, Sir Apirana Ngata.”*6

Don Brash writes that “we have in the present Government a commitment to a radically different understanding of what the Treaty meant, and a radically different view of what New Zealand’s future should look like. Their blueprint for what New Zealand should look like in the years ahead appears accurately summarised in the He Puapua document, prepared at the request of the Labour-New Zealand First Government in 2019 and finally released after the 2020 election. That document, which Labour denies is their real blueprint, envisages a New Zealand permanently divided between those with some Māori ancestry and those without.”*7

I have written about this problem in my article  “The Right Needs to Reject He Puapua Outright, To Preserve Democracy.” The centre right parties must stand up to the accusations of “wrong think,” and need to have the strength to follow through in preserving democracy. “The National Party’s constitution declares that “equal citizenship” is one of the party’s fundamental values, though in recent years it has been silent on whether they support or oppose separate Māori electorates (opposed quite explicitly by former National leaders Bill English (in 2003), John Key (in 2008) and me (in 2005). Christopher Luxon has said that the National Party is opposed to co-governance in “public services,” has pledged to wind up the separate Māori Health Authority and has promised to scrap Labour’s Three Waters entities. But it is not one of the five policy issues on which National is campaigning and there is unfortunately some doubt about whether ending the whole “partnership” nonsense is one of National’s high priorities.

“Of the other parties which seem certain to be in Parliament after the election, ACT is the most explicit about their view on this issue. David Seymour has stated repeatedly that New Zealand is at a cross-road: we either go forward as an ethno-state, where people are permanently divided on the basis of race, or we go forward as a society where every citizen has equal rights. And he wants a debate on that issue in Parliament followed by a referendum on the issue so that we decide, once and for all, whether we are to be a democracy or not.

“Of the smaller parties, it seems very unlikely that any except possibly New Zealand First will make it into Parliament at this election. On the issue of race, Winston Peters has also been consistent in supporting equal citizenship.”*8

New Zealand has a clear choice in the October election (though National may muddy the co-governance issue), on whether we want a coalition on the left that is not only woke, but believes in Orwellian and Critical Theory concepts of gender and race, and that also believes in an ethno-nationalist state wrapped up in the guise of co-governance (as clearly defined by both Labour and Te Pati Māori, and of course the Green party). Alternatively,  we can choose a centre right government that believes in the principles of one person, one vote (which ACT and NZ First strongly believe in while National remain disturbingly quiet on their position of co-governance) and are not woke or Orwellian. This is a sliding door moment. Our country’s future truly hangs in the balance.

*1 Chris Trotter – 23 August, 2023

*2 Chris Trotter – 23 August, 2023

*3 Chris Trotter – 23 August, 2023

*4 Karl du Fresne – 28 August, 2023

*5 Karl du Fresne – 28 August, 2023

*6 Don Brash – 26 August 2023

*7 Don Brash – 26 August 2023

*8 Don Brash – 26 August 2023