Viva la difference and be grateful for an indigenous perspective on race-based team selections

You’ve got to give credit to the Maori Party for one thing: they have a deliciously special way of taking a position during a political controversy. This is thoroughly appropriate, of course, because – as we all know – our Maori people have been deemed special by the United Nations.

The special thinking in the case of Andy Haden is a splendid example.

The party is rejecting his apologies for making a racist remark and is howling for him to prove his allegations about Canterbury Crusaders selection policy.

The wonderful thing is that it is expressing its strong opposition to race-based selection policies for rugby teams, although it happens to be in favour of race-based selections in other matters.

Dunno what makes rugby special. It is not an indigenous game, so far as Alf understands.

But the Maori Party is climbing into the Haden scrum with great gusto. Here’s the Herald’s account:

Rugby World Cup ambassador Andy Haden should reveal who told him about a cap on Polynesian players at the Crusaders, or resign, the Maori Party says.

Maori Party MP Te Uroroa Flavell said if the cap exists then the Canterbury Crusaders franchise are guilty of nothing short of institutionalised racism.

There we go. A clear commitment to selection based on merit.

But Flavell didn’t hold the line for long.

Asked if he thought there should be a Maori World Cup ambassador, Mr Flavell said yes.

“We’re calling for another person to be added because it is glaringly obvious that none of them are Maori,” Mr Flavell said.

The Maori Party happens to be represented in Parliament in special race-based electorates, of course, so it is not too bothered by a race-based election system.

And it is pushing for dedicated Maori seats on the new Auckland Council.

Another question arises.

Does the cry for Haden’s sacking attest to an intolerance of people who make racist remarks?

Nah. Don’t think so.

Not so long ago, Maori Party, in a TV interview, MP Hone Harawira was blaming the media for the uproar last year over his racially offensive comments, and says he wasn’t close to being expelled from caucus because of it.

Mr Harawira referred to “white motherf…..s” in an email defending his trip to Paris while on a parliamentary visit to Europe.

At one point party leaders asked him to quit but relented after Mr Harawira received strong support from his electorate.

Alf rests his case.

Some would call it blatant hypocrisy.

No, we’ve just got to understand that these are special people and this is their special way of thinking.

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