Rawiri Waititi, Marama Davidson blast National's Paul Goldsmith over colonisation 'on balance' comments

National's Paul Goldsmith told Newshub Nation this week colonisation was a good thing for Māori "on balance".
National's Paul Goldsmith told Newshub Nation this week colonisation was a good thing for Māori "on balance". Photo credit: Getty Images; Newshub; Newshub Nation

The Māori Party and Green Party's co-leaders are condemning National MP Paul Goldsmith's comments on colonisation, saying they are "dangerous" and "disgusting". 

Speaking to Newshub Nation on Saturday, National's education spokesperson was asked if he thought the good from colonisation has outweighed the bad, specifically for Māori, to which he responded: "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 what happened in the 19th century was always going to be a very traumatic experience.

"But with it came all sorts of wonderful things, such as literacy, such as the freedoms and democracy that have come through... I think on balance it has, yes."

Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi blasted Goldsmith's opinion on Saturday saying it was "balance through the eyes of white privilege". 

"Benefiting from colonisation = only having 4% left of the 100% lands you once owned [sic], having your language and culture exterminated through [the] law, being subjugated and assimilated into a monocultural society through hegemony," he said on Twitter. 

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson also opposed Goldsmith on social media, explaining that her nana "took her trauma" from colonisation "to her grave". 

"Colonisers beat Te Reo numeracy and literacy out of her as a little girl, erasing it from the four generations after her.

"@PaulGoldsmithMP     knows what he is saying and who he is appealing to. Dangerous, disgusting."

Goldsmith clashed with the Government earlier this week over the term "white privilege" being incorporated into official teaching material, which he said "imports American-style culture wars" into the classroom.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Chris Hipkins told Newhub Nation on Saturday he was not a fan of the phrase "white privilege", he acknowledged it existed and was a "good thing" for children to learn.

"White privilege is not a phrase I'd use - I don't think that it's particularly helpful.

"I recognise that it's used in Te Hurihanganui... I do think people being able to understand power imbalances in society, I think that's a good thing for kids to understand. Being able to understand inequality."

But the phrase "white privilege", he said, "generates a reaction from people that actually puts up a barrier to them genuinely engaging in a conversation about power imbalance".