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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Seaweed and Foreskins Act (SFA)

The exceedingly clever, insightful and inciteful Gnat bill board which did the rounds the other day and flushed out every leftie who ever lived gives cause to reflect a little on the political circumstances surrounding the subject legislation.

It seems to this humble correspondent that the SFA has been a PR disaster for Labour from start to finish and there’s more to come. I won’t attempt to traverse the technical intricacies of it all but I am tempted to wonder if Labour would have been far better served by sitting tight and letting the courts take their course over the original Marlborough bun fight.

What would have been the result today? I’m not sure of the answer but I doubt it would have been enormously disastrous for New Zealand. Sure, there may have been the perception of an Iwi stealing a march over it’s competitors in the seafood industry and there may have been some hot air from the red neck right but eventually it would have been settled quietly, one way or the other.

Instead, Labour waded in and kind of knee jerked its way into the current mess. A remarkable feat has been achieved. In one fell swoop, Labour has managed to alienate it’s long-time loyal Maori vote, sow fear of and loathing for itself among non Maori new Zealand and hand the Opposition a priceless gift with which to bash Labour over the head every day during the forthcoming campaign. Well done, Dr Cullen.

Yes, it is a triumph for Dr Cullen. As John Tamihere told the world, they could not have done these great things without Cullen’s ability to change a word here and there so that Labour could sell the deal to it’s hapless Maori Caucus. On the basis that while technically it seems the Crown retains full ownership, in fact, nudge nudge wink wink, you can tell the Iwi that all they’ve got to do is ‘negotiate special ownership circumstances’ with the Government and they’ll get what they want anyway. The sheer brilliance of it was that the same legislation could be held up for the rest of New Zealand and triumphantly proclaimed as a sort of Neville Chamberlain type “Crown Ownership In Our Time.”

In twenty years’ time historians (those who aren’t still trying to understand economics) will write of this episode in wonderment and will lecture political science students on the dire fate which awaits those who fail to ensure the result coincides with the intent. Surely this has been Cullen’s finest hour.

Posted by Adolf Fiinkensein | 6/01/2005 10:46:00 am


Blogger Lucia Maria said...

The whole thing just seems really bizarre to me. It also seems strange that the coastline can be "owned". I would have thought it would be better to designate it all a "wild zone", or some such. In line with the seas around NZ being wild, anyone can sail just about anywhere and no one has to own the seas. Or I presume no one owns the seas, they are just part of NZ's territorial waters.

6/01/2005 12:29:00 pm  

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