By Roger Childs

There was a time when former PM John Key had the soubriquet “Teflon” because no matter how many dubious statements he made and waitress pony-tails he pulled, nothing stuck to him and his popularity never waned. Amazingly, having suddenly retired from politics in mid-2017 and despite his involvement with Chinese businesses, he apparently outranks Judith Collins in the preferred prime minister stakes in the latest Newshub poll.  

But it seems that Tova the Ferret was involved in wording Newshub’s poll and inserted Key’s name for many of those questioned, consequently the validity of the Newshub poll is highly suspect. Nonetheless, the latest Roy Morgan poll also has Labour well ahead on party support, polling 45.5% to National’s 23% (which, if accurate, means they are both down 4% on last October).

Brushing off He Puapua

Prime Minister Jacinda retains her popularity despite the startling recent revelations about He Puapua — the Maori strategy designed to achieve joint Crown-Maori sovereignty and a separate Maori Parliament by 2040.

Arden has known about He Puapua since 2019, but kept in under wraps to prevent other parties using it to discredit Labour. If Winston Peters had known about it last year, Labour would not have won an absolute majority in last year’s election. Why the New Zealand First intelligence didn’t have its ear to the ground and pick up the soundings is hard to fathom.

It seems that some in the Mainstream Media probably did know, but they were not prepared to bite the hand that fed them having received generous handouts during Lockdown and beyond.

Jacinda the saviour?

Rightly or wrongly, and it’s clearly the former for nearly half the country, PM Jacinda is regarded as the covid heroine who brought the country safely through the coronavirus wilderness into the green pastures of recovery. Now is not the time for a successful campaign against her based on He Puapua. 

ACT’s David Seymour brought the program, backed by Maori politicians, academics, iwi leaders and their non-Maori fellow-travellers, out of the bag, courtesy of the Ombudsman. Judith Collins gratefully hopped on the band wagon, but has made little progress. The public is currently more interested in the budget and overseas travel bubble opportunities.

Collins has scored some minor blows on the PM, but does not seem to be well-briefed on sovereignty issues. To Ardern’s riposte that Collins couldn’t bring herself to use the word “partnership”, the National leader, who was formerly a lawyer, should have responded: Partnership was not mentioned in the 1840 Te Tiriti o Waitangi where chiefs ceded sovereignty to the Crown, and what’s more legally and constitutionally the Crown cannot enter into a partnership with a group of its own people.

The proposed New Zealand History Curriculum is a major concern

This is potentially an exercise in social engineering. What the Ministry of Education developers propose is possibly He Puapua’s most significant objective – the indoctrination of our future citizens. (See David Seymour’s succinct summary here

Fundamentally, our 5 to 15 year olds who are over 83% non-Maori deserve a balanced, comprehensive and accurate coverage of our country’s story. 

Over a period of ten years study they need to learn about the nation’s mix of migrations and settlement; interactions and conflicts; triumphs and tragedies; problems and progress; leaders and movements; unity and diversity. 

Our students need to study the full New Zealand story, understand what history is and develop appropriate subject skills along the way.

Make a submission

If you haven’t done so, you have until 31 May to make a submission. Here is the link to access the draft. If you don’t want to wade through all eleven pages, page 2 gives a detailed summary

Your submission can be as long or as short as you like. Send it by e-mail to  

AotearoaNewZealandHistories@education.govt.nz

There is good commentary also on these topics by Michael Bassett, a former Labour Party cabinet minister here