• The Dog-Whistle

    There are moments when one despairs – and those moments have come with increasing frequency over recent weeks.

    They have arisen as Christopher Luxon – with the apparent support of the Herald – has ventured into “dog-whistle” politics, and has sought to play “the race card” in his efforts to win the general election.

    There was, first, his ruling out of a coalition with Te Pati Maori. Then his ambivalence over bi-lingual traffic signs, as well, of course, as his emphasis on the supposed “co-governance” aspects of what one might have thought was the long and obviously overdue reform of our water administration.

    Alert Kiwis will no doubt be quick to recognise other notes on the “dog-whistle.”

    And what are we to make of his urging his supporters to “have more babies”?

    We have to conclude, sadly, that he is assuring voters that, like his predecessor, Don Brash, he has decided that the path to victory lies in cutting those “pesky Maoris” down to size. “Vote National,” he seems to be saying, “and government’s ears will be closed to Maori interests.”

    It is extremely troubling that National has decided to set one group of Kiwis against another in order to win power. We can only hope that voters will recognise it for what it is – a cynical attempt to put a National victory ahead of the national interest.

    We have no future, after all, as a divided country.

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