By accusing me of "straight-out racism" in my "unmistakable clarion call to everyone who thinks Māori are getting too much", Simon Wilson stumbles haplessly.
In fact, if his column (Seymour stokes culture war, July 12) were a book, the title would be: Race Relations Debate Mistakes For Dummies.
First up, believing in one-person-one-vote democracy does not make you racist. The proof is that people of every ethnic background hold this belief. It is not for or against any race.
Wilson, however, thinks that if you criticise the Government's current policies of co-governance, then you must be uncomfortable with Māori culture.
Wilson waxes on about how New Zealanders are embracing Matariki celebrations.
On the other hand, some of us grew up in the North, went to a school where most students were Māori, can pronounce words correctly, can sing the Māori version of the anthem without looking at the words, and ran Matariki-themed fundraisers for our political party before it was cool.
Those of us authentically comfortable with Māori language and culture can take a more balanced view. Like many of the chiefs at Waitangi, we understand that both worlds have their strengths and weaknesses.
We understand that liberal democracy, the idea that one person should have one vote, and every human being is born alike in dignity, is the best system of government humans have discovered, period.
William Wilberforce's opposition to slavery, Kate Sheppard's campaign for votes, Fran Wilde's Homosexual Law Reform, Louisa Wall's marriage equality. They are all part of a liberal democratic project to end discrimination and make human rights universal.
New Zealanders have literally fought for these values because the alternative is apartheid, oppression, violence and hate. There is no good reason to think New Zealand is uniquely immune to human reality. Treating people differently based on race is not just misguided, but dangerous.
Those are Wilson's basic mistakes, but he makes deeper ones.
He believes that if you don't believe in the co-governance of, say, Three Waters or healthcare, you are not honouring the Treaty.
As he correctly notes, Act has always supported Treaty settlements. Many of them have returned property that was wrongly taken from contemporary New Zealanders' ancestors.
That was done after careful consideration by the Waitangi Tribunal and Parliament.
That our country has been prepared to look back 180 years for injustices and breaches of property rights, and offer redress where possible, is a triumph. In some cases, rather than giving back land fee simple, an interest in governing the asset has been offered.
The co-governance of Auckland's volcanic cones is an example of that. It was an appropriate way to recognise a specific loss.
Wholesale co-governance of councils, healthcare, Three Waters infrastructure, and resource consenting decisions is quite different. There is no historic grievance, such a grievance is impossible. For example, the Auckland Drainage Board built the first known three waters infrastructure, in 1845. Public healthcare as we know it was established by the first Labour government in 1938.
These modern public institutions were created in a democracy, post-Treaty. They should be governed democratically. Co-governing them means that Māori have inherently different political rights, rather than the same rights to their property as everyone else.
Proponents of that view want a "tiriti-centric Aotearoa", with "tangata whenua" (land people), here by right and "tangata tiriti" (Treaty people), here by permission. Assigning different races different rights is racist.
Dame Anne Salmond has forcefully argued that the corporatist conception of the Treaty as a partnership between two races is a product of a time and place. Namely the judiciary in the 1980s. It is not consistent with the events surrounding the Treaty's signing, or the way New Zealand society has evolved since.
A better conception of the Treaty is that it means what it says. It grants nga tikanga katoa rite tahi, the same rights and duties, to all. It guarantees tino rangatiratanga or self-determination over all your land and property.
This occurs under the Kawanatanga or governorship of the Crown. Act's proposed Treaty Principles Act would legislate that's what the Treaty principles mean, and be ratified by a referendum of the people.
If you think about it, Act's charter schools were tino rangatiratanga in action. Self-determination at the community level with the Crown playing a limited role of governance, or Kawanatanga.
Charter Schools were warmly endorsed by the Iwi Chairs Forum. They got what Simon Wilson can't - the key to more equal opportunity is innovative social policies in a democratic society.
Our best future is a modern, multi-ethnic, liberal democracy. Each of those words matters. We should be a leading society with an equal place for all, no matter a person's background.
Nobody should be born special, nobody should be born a second-class citizen. It's a sad sign of the times that you can have a regular column in the country's largest paper, and think such beliefs are "racist".
• David Seymour is the leader of the Act Party.