‘Indigenous Rights’ or ‘Racial Privileges’: The rhetoric of ‘race’ in New Zealand politics
Barber, K. (2008). ‘Indigenous Rights’ or ‘Racial Privileges’: The rhetoric of ‘race’ in New Zealand politics. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 9(2), 141-156.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/3313
The New Zealand parliamentary election campaign of 2005 was marked by a significant break in the consensus between the two major political parties, Labour and National, in the area of Maori affairs: a consensus that had previously been articulated in terms of a shared commitment to 'biculturalism' and the Treaty of Waitangi. In January 2004, the National Party launched an attack on government policies, describing them as giving unfair privileges to Maori based purely on 'race'. The present paper examines the National Party's adoption of the rhetoric of 'race' and the conceptual, political and ideological considerations behind it. It also examines attitudinal, social policy and socioeconomic factors to explain the widespread acceptability of this rhetoric among the New Zealand public. These events are considered within the context of a growing academic and political critique of 'culturalism' in New Zealand social policy and social science.