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DON BRASH: I've cancelled my sub to the NBR

I have subscribed to the National Business Review for many years and try to read their daily emails most days. Sometimes, they have had some good articles, and one of their reporters is one of the best investigative journalists in the country.

But I have today advised the publisher that I do not want to renew my subscription when it expires shortly.

Why? Yesterday they published an article by Dita De Boni entitled “Right wing try dog-whistles to excite the wet and whiny ones”. The first lines of the article read:

“Dog-whistling, race baiting – call it what you will, but National and Act’s premeditated, strategic, and specific targeting of anxious white voters in the lead-up to election 2023 suggests these parties will do anything to win, even [if] it means stoking an unstoppable race war.

“In the past few weeks alone, three issues with a racial element to them have been beaten up beyond all recognition by the NZ Herald and seized on by National and Act in a way that suggests these parties have barely moved on from the Robert Muldoon years when it comes to race relations. The only difference is that, because of the times, Muldoon didn’t have to get into bed with the country’s lunatic fringe to find vocal support for his ideas, like the current lot.”

The article then goes on to dismiss as a “bogeyman” the Government’s plans to introduce co-governance across much of the public sector; to dismiss as trivial concerns about including te reo Maori on road signs; to criticize those who expressed dismay at allowing gangs the run of Opotiki recently; and to deplore those who strongly objected to adding ethnicity as a criterion in allocating places on the surgical waitlist.

I suppose I could not have objected to the article if the author had been explicitly identified as an advocate for the Labour Government, or for the Green or Maori parties. But she purported to be an objective journalist, writing a regular column for a business news-sheet.

I object most strongly to the statement that those who oppose the division of the country into those who have some Maori ancestry – now always with ancestors of other ethnicities as well – and those who do not are racist or “dog-whistling”.

What we are seeing is the Government aggressively promoting the view that the Treaty of Waitangi requires those with some Maori ancestry be given 50% of the authority in the ten regional Water Entities, with a Maori body having the authority to lay down the rules under which those Entities will operate; that those with some Maori ancestry have specific powers in the legislation advanced to replace the Resource Management Act; that local councils should likewise be obliged to gain consent from local tribes before taking almost any significant decision; that those with Maori or Pasifika ethnicity should be given a measure of priority on surgical waiting lists; and so on, through most dimensions of the public sector.

None of these policies are remotely consistent with a democracy where all citizens have equal political rights. They stem from an interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi summarised in the infamous He Puapua report, prepared at the instruction of the Government in 2019, though kept under wraps until after the 2020 election.

Ironically, that report was arguing for more Maori involvement in the governance of the country at a time when the Leader and Deputy Leader of the National Party were Maori, as were the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, the Leader and Deputy Leader of the New Zealand First Party, the Co-Leader of the Green Party, and the Leader of the ACT Party. To pretend that Maori were insufficiently represented in the halls of power was demonstrably nonsense.

Dita De Boni’s article made much of the widespread public resentment at the NZ Transport Agency’s adding te reo Maori to road signs. Yes, whether road signs are in English only or are in both English and te reo Maori is not the most important issue facing the country, but I suspect the public irritation over this reflects the widespread anger at the renaming of our major cities, and indeed the country itself.

When John Key’s Government suggested it was time to change the country’s flag, he had the decency to put the issue to a referendum, and accepted the result of that referendum when the majority made it clear that they did not favour any change. But this Government routinely uses Aotearoa or Aotearoa New Zealand as the name of our country despite polls showing a clear majority of the country favour the retention of the name which has been the name of our country since 1642, with Aotearoa being a late nineteenth century invention. (In 1840, the Maori words used for New Zealand were Nu Tirani.)

Likewise, many New Zealanders resent the fact that taxpayer-funded media persist in using Maori names for our major cities, even though none of those cities were in any meaningful sense Maori creations.

The cumulative effect of the superficial changes – Maori names for our major cities, the use of Aotearoa as the name of our country, Maori words on road signs – added to the really major constitutional changes which the Government has been aggressively promoting means that political parties which adhere to basic democratic principles are getting real traction.

That isn’t dog-whistling and it certainly isn’t racism. It is a demand that all citizens should have equal political rights, regardless of ethnicity – as the Treaty of Waitangi promised and any concept of democracy demands.

Don Brash

22 June 2023

5,974 views171 comments



I defence of Dita, I'm a hobbyist employment law researcher and have done a little work with her. Her Feb 2023 NBR article "Dogged advocate" covers an Employment Court hearing on staying a costs order on two SLAPPs, one brought by the former BOP DHB and one by a registered charity. The misuse of your taxes and mine has been breathtaking. In closes off with the suggestion that unbridled spending ($4-500k) on a vendetta could be putting off skilled medical professionals from moving to NZ and possibly driving away some of those already here. It's a complex matter, but Dita stepped up. Cheers, Tristam (


Good call Don. The NBR has betrayed New Zealanders, as has the NZ Herald and the rest of mainstream media. The corporation - loosely known as "government" - doesn't care about the colour of our skin, but it does care about dividing us and it does want us to fight each other. Divide and conquer. All that are currently in parliament have betrayed the people they purport to represent. A destructive government and an opposition with the strength of a wet bus ticket — if that. They continue ever-on with their fascist/marxist destruction of our beloved country as they try to penalise the key producers, destroy our roads, increase taxes, crank up racism, steal from ratepayers, remove our access to…


While you are at it Don, and everyone else, cancel your subscription to the NZ Herald, it is simply a propagander rag for the Labour Government. We are surrounded by serious government cock ups that a blind man can see, but the Herald choses to ignore these important issues and concerntrate on minor rubbish like Luxon's Tesla, and supporting Labour with its Letters to the Editor, Emmerson's vile cartoons and the like! Also, start boycotting companies like Harvey Norman, who financially support the Herald's political bias.



There is now a chorus emanating from many very learned western scholars that resonate with the comments you make. It is also becoming acceptable to ‘fight back’ when confronted by what has been confirmed as a heavily left wing bias resident within New Zealand’s legacy media. You have chosen the weapon of choice.. boycott. Unheard of behaviour amongst the academic fraternity but now becoming quite common. This should have happened a lot earlier, particularly when the ‘Cancelling’ of the NZ scientists and academics that occurred many months ago… but it’s not too late. Join the movement now. Cancel your subscriptions, cease purchasing from woke outlets, avoid purchasing from woke manufacturers. It’s not just you, but your children are at risk…




Yeah…it’s called a difference.

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