Brash at odds with judges on Maori

By David Fisher

Maori are a diluted race who have intermarried until "few, if any" remain full-blooded, says National leader Don Brash. He says Maori are different from other indigenous people around the world and also labelled judges as "out of touch" with the rest of New Zealand over their left-wing views on the Treaty of Waitangi.

Brash's comments came in a week when Prime Minister Helen Clark labelled him "cancerous", partly over the race-relations debate he sparked in 2004 over his first Orewa address as party leader.

Brash was asked by the Herald on Sunday to comment on a speech by High Court judge David Baragwanath to the Law Commission last month which raised the possibility that Maori might need separate legal treatment and highlighted the lack of Maori in the legal profession.

Brash said the judge's approach put him "totally at odds with my view of the way New Zealand should proceed".

"He continues to talk as if the Maori remain a distinct indigenous people. There are clearly many NZers who do see themselves as distinctly and distinctively Maori - but it is also clear there are few, if any, fully Maori left here. There has been a lot of intermarriage and that has been welcome."

Brash said Baragwanath's speech would reinforce the opinion held of the judiciary.

Asked if that meant they were out of touch, he said: "Yeah, that's probably fair comment."

Brash also said that nothing should be read into the few Maori at law school. "Non-Maori are under-represented in the All Blacks. It doesn't mean the Treaty failed."

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