Yesterday Matt and I participated in filming a debate on the Treaty of Waitangi. The moot was “That the Treaty of Waitangi is holding NZ back.” There were four panelists, Stephen Franks, Tim Wikiriwhi, Matthew Hooten and Hana O’Regan and an active audience, of which Matt and I were asked to be members of to represent blogging New Zealand (apparently they considered David Farrar but decided we’d be more interesting on the basis of Matt’s blog post, Maori and Pakeha are Not Partners to the Treaty of Waitangi).
The audience, who comprised a range of commentators, Members of Parliament and even activist John Minto, were expected to comment and ask questions, which we dutifully did. Who knows if we’ll make the editing room cut, or how what we said will play on screen (it always feels different in the moment to how it looks on air I find) – one way to find out I guess!
The debate will screen on Marae tomorrow morning, Saturday, 6 Feb, from 8:00am – 9:30am on TV One.
Here is a brief rundown of our thoughts:
- Speaker of the Day goes to Stephen Franks for presenting the best case and for managing to use terms like “fake treaty”, “bogus” and “spurious” whilst still managing to come across calm, pleasant and reasonable.
- The Most Inflammatory award goes to Tim Wikiriwhi – you can read his transcript at Not PC. The award was for his student-politician-styled-delivery coupled with claims later on in the debate that there had not been a single past injustice towards Maori, which earned him shocked and awed hissing. (That aside his message was good and his historical claims were fascinating.)
- Best Impersonation of Peter Dunne award goes to Matthew Hooten for trying to take the middle ground and please everyone whilst effectively saying nothing but sounding profound.
- The Loonie Leftie Why–Didn’t–Her–Over-Sized–Tiki–Explode? award goes to Hana O’Regan for (and it was hard to pick a winner from the many incoherent and internally inconsistent examples she had on offer) arguing for the confiscation of property (tax dollars) to support the promotion of Maori language “because it is beautiful” [so too is the NZ countryside] citing the Treaty as justification for said confiscation of property (I kid you not!). We both called her on this in the Q&A.
- Funniest Moment was when the producer decided that our paper voting forms didn’t look so good on camera so had the audience pretend to push invisible electronic voting buttons and to vote multiple times so that the camera could grab a range of shots. Shane Taurima, the host, completely lost it with laughter when he delivered the instructions to the audience to push the green button for the affirmative and the red button for the negative “on the small electronic device you see before you” and he had to re-shoot it. (Then they decided to have us vote with the paper ballots).
I must note that at the beginning of the debate the audience was asked for a show of hands as to who was for the motion and who was against it. At the outset less than 5 people were for the motion. This is an important consideration to factor into the voting results announced at the end of the debate. As Stephen said to me afterwards, I think the for’s won it as they gained votes and the againsts lost them.
Maori and Pakeha are Not Partners to the Treaty of Waitangi