New Zealand at 'dangerous junction' with Māori feeling left behind - Don Brash

Controversial former politician Don Brash has said New Zealand is at a "dangerous junction" as he rallied against race-based policies and reliance upon treaty settlements in a speech at Te Tii Marae.

Te Tii Marae is well known for the protests outside its gates, but on Tuesday Dr Brash was welcomed peacefully after receiving an invite by organiser Rueben Taipari to discuss his views and what he believed Ngāpuhi could do to boost its economy.

Recommending that iwi like Ngāpuhi don't rely on treaty settlements, Dr Brash said New Zealand was at a "dangerous junction" with many "non-Māori New Zealanders" fed up with the "never-ending settlement process" and "constitutional preferences which have increasingly been written into law".

He claimed many Kiwis reject the notion that the Treaty of Waitangi created a partnership between Maori and the Crown - an interpretation Dr Brash believes is "more and more taken as the foundation of Government policy".

As a spokesperson for Hobson's Pledge, Dr Brash supports one law for all and is against targeted race-based Government policies which he believes discourage Māori from hard work.

He said Article III of the Treaty affirmed the equality of political rights for all New Zealanders and that alternative standards and systems for Māori were creating a culture of dependence - giving the example of required representation for Māori on government boards.

"It has led many Māori to assume that other taxpayers owe them a living, and that in due course other taxpayers will have to discharge that obligation," he said.

He said despite the policies of successive governments and attempts at "affirmative action", many Māori still feel left behind.

"What on earth could be more demotivating than to be told, again and again, that your poor education, your poor housing, your low income or inability to get a job is not your responsibility at all.

"It's the fault of a grossly unfair system arising from injustices done to some of your great-grandparents by some of your other great-grandparents?"

Instead, Dr Brash said iwi should ensure their rangatahi secure proper educations that put them in the best step for future opportunities and allow them to contribute to growing their economy.

"That does not necessarily mean getting a tertiary qualification, but it does mean coming out of secondary school having a strong ability to read, to write, and to reason logically," he said.

But some suggest more targeted funding is needed to tackle Māori incarceration and mental health figures being disproportionate to Pakeha.

Māori make up 15 percent of the New Zealand population, but 51 percent of the prison population.

Others, like one lady who yelled out during Dr Brash's speech, simply believe the "affirmative action" as he put it, was "justice".

Dr Brash's views have been criticised as racist in the past, with Massey University barring him from speaking after concerns from senior staff about him endorsing racist behaviours.

Earlier on Tuesday, he told reporters he was impressed by Te Tii Marae's willingness to hear his thoughts.

"This [invitation] was a particularly significant one I thought, a chance to come back to Waitangi... I had a somewhat robust treatment last time, and I respect the fact that they are willing to listen to views which may differ from their's, it is fantastic.

"I contrast their willingness to hear to different views with the attitude of some universities in the country, which have been a good deal less welcoming to views they don't agree with."

While a few placards were on show past the Marae's gates, the only locals to approach the former National Party leader and Reserve Bank Governor came to give him their support.

One lady, Katie Tahere, who advocates for greater suicide prevention and was sighted throughout the day with a large flag, said her conversation with Mr Brash had been special and he spoke of his family's own history with mental health.

When the two hugged after their conversation, she said she could tell it wasn't just a friendly hug, but that it "meant something".