Winston’s remarkable claim that Māori are not indigenous because DNA tests them back to China and mythical Hawaii-iki is not only startling in its ignorance, it is being said at a politically charged moment that demands questions of Winston’s leadership.
New Zealand First’s flirtation with conspiracy groups for votes hasn’t guaranteed NZ First the 5% threshold they need so Winston seem to have turned to race baiting to ensure he gets returned to Parliament.
But is such a tactic acceptable?
Winston knows how inflammatory he is being and how wonky his argument is. His position rests on a belief that Māori living here for 800 years isn’t long enough to be called indigenous.
The argument is weak and flimsy and flies in the face of most academic definitions and understandings of ‘indigenous’.
Winston knows all this, but he simply doesn’t care. He will push any crazy barrow that generates extra votes when he needs every vote he can get.
If that means peddling a false narrative about Māori and then damning Māori for that false narrative to win, he will.
I don’t believe that type of political malice should be rewarded at the ballot box.
I know it’s not a popular opinion, but I think there’s every chance NZ First might just come in under the 5% threshold.
I think New Zealanders are better people than NZ First strategists believe they are.