Even the English suffered under colonisation - Judith Collins

National Party leader Judith Collins says like Māori, she too has ancestors who suffered under colonisation. 

Her comments come after one of her senior MPs, Paul Goldsmith, said that "on balance" he thought Māori benefited from colonisation. 

"The reality is that New Zealand was isolated from the rest of the world for centuries and at some point, it had to reconnect with the rest of the world. And that happened in the 19th century was always going to be a very traumatic experience," told Newshub Nation in an interview that aired on Saturday. 

"But with it came all sorts of wonderful things, such as literacy, such as the freedoms and democracy that have come through."

Collins quickly distanced herself from Goldsmith's views, saying there likely few Māori who would agree, blaming the Crown's repeated breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi for the ongoing problems faced by tangata whenua nearly two centuries later.

"I'm just saying that it's not the way I would put it," she told The AM Show on Wednesday. "I think any peoples that have been colonised tend not to enjoy it at all, and I think that in many cases there have been huge injustices. Which is why we've always signed up, we have such a proud record of dealing with the grievances and making sure the Treaty of Waitangi was honoured. 

"The big difference in the colonisation of New Zealand versus many others is that there was a treaty - the problem is the treaty was breached on numerous occasions."

Goldsmith, a historian who was infamously mistaken for Māori by the previous National Party leadership last year, took to social media to explain his views.

"The core question I was grappling with when I made my comments was: is the New Zealand we live in today, which is the result of colonisation, a good thing on balance? I'm proud of our country and what we have achieved. I'm proud to be a New Zealander and I don't think we should dismiss the good things that came from the introduction of other cultures into this country."

Collins said he "clarified his comments pretty clearly" and "acknowledged the injustices of the past".

"Many Māori would have been very badly affected by colonisation, particularly by the breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi. I've made it very clear in my own ancestry I don't think any of them - the Irish, the Welsh or even the English when they were conquered by the Normans - actually came out very well out of it."

The Norman conquest of Britain took place almost 1000 years ago and saw the ruling Anglo-Saxons replaced with French-speaking nobles, who introduced the feudal system. Whether or not it improved life for the medieval person on the island remains a matter of debate amongst historians.