MPs mostly back away from Goldsmith view that colonisation was good for Māori

By Te Ao - Māori News

Was colonisation good for Māori? Well, according to Paul Goldsmith, on balance yes.

But the National MP's view of colonisation, which saw almost 90% of Māori land taken, countless lives gone and years of trauma, has sent Parliament into an uproar and divide. 

Even National Party leader Judith Collins disagreed: "I don't know that many Māori would think that."

Labour's Willie Jackson said Collins was encouraging Goldsmith.

Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis says, "He's totally wrong. He's a living, breathing example of why we need to teach history in New Zealand schools."

Goldsmith's view is under fire from the government and, more notably, dividing the opposition.

Peeni Henare called Goldsmith "koretake," while Todd Muller said, "Was colonisation good for Māori?  I have a different opinion from Paul."

Chris Luxon disagreed with Goldsmith, while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said to media, "You'll have to ask Māori."

Colonisation - a single word with a knockout punch for a culture 

National MP Chris Bishop acknowledged that Aotearoa is still living with the consequences 150 years on. However, he says, "colonisation also brought a lot of good things."

Goldsmith also has a friend in Act Party leader David Seymour: "He's absolutely right. New Zealand is one of the most successful countries in human history."

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson begs to differ. "His remarks are undermining the harmful impacts of colonisation. I've talked about my own grandmother having our literacy and numeracy physically beaten out of her."

Asked about the colonial wars and the suffering Māori experienced, if their deaths were justified, Goldsmith said, "Of course not."

"What we're talking about is our history and where we've wound up today. The reality is, where we are today is a result of colonisation."

Housing Minister Megan Woods says it's a far too simple way to view the world. 

"I would expect someone who has training in history to have a more complex understanding."

Jackson has offered to give Goldsmith a little education: "I've sent Goldy an invitation to come to my marae and tell him what colonisation has done to people in South Auckland."

On balance, the question remains: what side of New Zealand history will the Nats end up on?