Monday, February 09, 2009

Maiden Speech 2: Rahui Katene: Te Tai Tonga

In order to give balance to reviewing the maiden speeches, I figured I'd try to alternate between opposition and government MPs. In this case, Rahui Katene is the Maori Party's new MP in 2008, taking Te Tai Tonga from Mahara Okeroa of Labour.

Her speech is here on Scoop in full.

Early in the speech is a statement that effectively says she is a Mormon ("That life of service to, and love of, others is a lesson well learnt as a member of my whanau, hapu and iwi, as well as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."). Of course she can believe what she wants, but frankly someone believing in a church founded by a relatively modern day fraudster deserves some ridicule (Christopher Hitchens has a short summary of the bizarre story behind this ridiculous church).

Beyond that most of the speech is about her family. Dad protested at Raglan, Bastion Point and at the Springbok tour. Mum went with the New Labour Party. Great stuff! Red flows in her veins in more ways than one. A minor error saying "as a University student I protested against the Springbok tour in 1986" which was the Cavaliers's tour of South Africa.

Unsurprisingly she is big on genetic identity "My politics have always been defined by my upbringing and my experiences as a Maori, a Maori woman and a mother of Maori children." Because, she understands the experience of not being one?? Of course most of the rest of her speech is about how she became a lawyer and part of the Treaty of Waitangi industry. Again, hardly surprising, but nothing outstanding out of this, beyond the strong alignment between who she is, and ethnicity.

Verdict? Well she has hardly a wide range of experience or exposure to different ideas of philosophies. She has been brought up by socialists, and matured in an environment of ethnically based nationalism. She believes in collective responsibility and " Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly".

You wont find an advocate of individual freedom here, you'll find socialism, nationalism, stirred with the mysticism of a loony church, but be grateful - she's not Kennedy Graham!

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