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Paul Little is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Paul Little: Racial raging nothing but coward's talk

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Louis Crimp considered Maori input at the World Cup to be 'embarrassing'. Photo / Greg Bowker
Louis Crimp considered Maori input at the World Cup to be 'embarrassing'. Photo / Greg Bowker

Most of us, I'm sure, would prefer to deal with the racial rantings of Act Party donor Louis Crimp by ignoring them. Certainly, no one would want to risk legitimising them by giving them the courtesy of considering their pros and cons.

But that would be to ignore how close to the surface such sentiment is. Crimp says everyone feels the way he does and, although I'm sure that's not the case, I'm equally sure many people do.

There is no view so vile or extreme that a group has not been formed to advocate it, from eugenics to zoophilia. And there has been no shortage of bloggers happy to line up with Crimp and what one called his "refreshingly un-PC" views.

I was recently told by someone arguing against teaching the Maori language in schools that it was of no use to him because he lived in Hillsborough and therefore did not know any Maori.

In 1822, William Edwardson, commander of the visiting ship Snapper, wrote that Maori were "treacherous, cunning and vindictive and push these vices to extreme".

And 190 years later Crimp said: "It was an embarrassment at the Rugby World Cup, [Maori] coming to shore in canoes, with hardly any clothes on, waving spears and poking their tongues out, all painted up ... they are full of crime and welfare."

For many of us it has taken almost two centuries to get not very far. More worrying than Crimp has been the reaction of his pet politicians in the Act Party. Act president Chris Simmons characterised Crimp's hate speech as "strong opinion". It is not strong opinion. It was weak, cowardly, defensive opinion that you would expect from someone who feels their privileged status is under threat.

We can't lay all the blame for Crimp at Act's feet. The trail of evidence stretches directly to the National Party during that wacky period when they were run by Don Brash. Yes, I know it's hard to believe now, but that really happened. Brash played the anti-Maori card brilliantly and in so doing attracted Crimp's attention.

Asked if Act would accept further donations from Crimp, Simmons said: "That's a very hypothetical question and one that would have to be addressed at the time." Actually, it needs to be addressed now so that those people who support Act policies but are not racially biased, and there almost certainly are some, can have confidence in their party not to embarrass them.

But Simmons wasn't prepared to condemn Crimp's remarks, saying: "It's not for me to judge whether or not they're racist."

Well, actually it is. And if he can't tell whether or not they are, then I wonder how he would get on with the likes of feeding himself and crossing the road without assistance.

EXACTLY A year ago, this column pointed out that when Mark Zuckerberg raised the possibility of lowering the minimum age, now 13, at which people can join Facebook he was almost certainly hoping to widen the number of people that website could offer up to advertisers.

Facebook's recent IPO was generally regarded as a failure. Yes, a lot of money was invested in Facebook shares, but, as Forbes magazine noted, of the $16 billion shares sold to new investors about $10 billion came from the banks which were the major underwriters. They had to pump in money to keep the share price up.

How did Zuckerberg react? Swiftly and decisively. Within days he suggested lowering the minimum age at which people can join Facebook.

- Herald on Sunday

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