Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Dunne Day

United Future leader Peter Dunne is congratulating himself after his New Zealand Day Bill passed its first reading in the House this evening. The proposal to rename Waitangi Day to New Zealand Day now goes to the justice and electoral select committee for public consideration.

Well, I'll tell you what I think. It's a dumb idea.

You see, it's been tried before. The Labour goverment under Norman Kirk passed the New Zealand Day Act 1973, renaming Waitangi Day to New Zealand Day and, moreover, declaring the day to be a nationwide, but non-Mondayised, public holiday. And it came to pass that a giant moa laid an enormous egg on the spot where the treaty was signed. But then, two years later, the National government under Robert Muldoon reinstated the name Waitangi Day with The Waitangi Day Act 1976.

We gained nothing but a compulsory public holiday from all this. Peter Dunne now wants to Mondayise it. But we can take Monday off without Peter Dunne's permission and without a legislated name change.

It's also an arrogant idea. Which commemorative days will the man want to rename next? Easter Sunday? Anzac Day? Christmas Day? April Fool's Day? And to what will he rename them? And why? It's not up to buffoons in Parliament to tell us what to call those days of the year which hold special significance for us. It's up to us to decide what to call them and, for that matter, whether to celebrate them by having a day off. For Tariana Turia, every day's a Waitangi Day. (But let's not pass that into law, either.)

It's also just plain wrong. There's a social engineering agenda behind this proposal. By renaming Waitangi Day, Peter Dunne wants to suppress Māori protest. He wants us to come to terms with our future as a multi-cultural nation.

Please pick a different day to celebrate multicultural diversity. Call it what you want, but don't tell us. Leave Waitangi Day as a day to celebrate biculturalism. It's traditional.


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