Rodney Hide John Key Auckland Maori Seats

Rodney Hide didn’t make his threat because he was getting his way. He made it because it was touch and go, and his comments were a bluff to nudge it along. That means it was close in Cabinet, and that his target ‘shifters’ were deemed to need right-leaning business support, which would expect a support of Rodney. Not quite blackmail, just an understanding all around of the concept of ‘how it works’.

Key’s problem is somewhat different. He has a rising demographic as Maori numbers grow, and white NZ’ers numbers stagnate. Project the graphs, and you only get into power with Maori on board. That has embedded advantages to free-market privateers, of course. Maori can spring assets out of Crown (public) ownership, where Rodney’s cronies couldn’t. Once out, Maori will (nine times out of ten) mess it up, and the asset can be picked up on the rebound.

A win-win, then. The problem is the end-of-growth thing, the coming lack of loaves and fishes. Only the affluent will hang on, buying scarcer resources (sugar, anyone?) and the resentment at the bottom end of the income spectrum – Maori resentment – will be a hard steer to rope. Coming as it will  alongside social stress, as all levels begin to feel constricted in choice, and Maori will be a tough bed-mate.

Better they had some self-determination, cheaper socially in the long run. The cost now is just jails and consultation. The future will see hikois turning into riots – frustration does that.  The next NZ best-seller will be  ‘Simple on a Recycling Bin’ .

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