A new nationwide movement which aims to move New Zealand towards a "colour-blind state" was pitched to a crowd of about 200 in Havelock North last night.

Hobson's Pledge Trust has been developed with former National Party leader Don Brash at the helm to raise concerns about the country's drift towards separatism with Maori pushing for separate rights based on their ethnicity.

The group closely follows what Governor William Hobson imagined at the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 with the pledge: "We are now one people".

Trust spokeswoman Casey Costello spoke about the wrong of Maori "blaming" their ancestry for being deprived of opportunities when they have had Treaty settlements, separate Maori broadcasting, separate Maori preschools and schools, and a separate Maori Party developed for them.


"Standing on the outside it would seem the consideration and recognition of Maori issues ensured every opportunity for Maori to succeed," she said.

"However, we are told that Maori are suffering from "post-colonial traumatic stress disorder".

She said the message that came across was that Maori were crippled by events that began to unfold 177 years ago.

"Anyone critical of this official response is immediately branded a racist. This name-calling has the effect of shutting down debate because no one likes to be called a racist."

Ms Costello said she was Ngapuhi descendant and a descendant of Anglo/Irish settlers who came here in the 1860s but was firstly a New Zealander.

"Regardless of when we or our ancestors came here we have always known that our citizenship assures us equal recognition and representation before the law.

"But this is changing, and we need to stop being complacent about the change."

Mr Brash said the solution to these problems was a single standard for citizenship.


"Those of us behind the Hobson's Pledge Trust share the view of great leaders like Sir Apirana and Governor Hobson that New Zealanders became one people when the Treaty was signed.

"We reject absolutely the notion that the Treaty created different rules and different rights for those with a Maori ancestor and those without. You cannot abolish privilege by creating privilege."

Mr Brash said Hobson's Pledge wanted Parliament to abolish Auckland's separatist Maori Statutory Board and the now-redundant Maori electorates, close down the activist Waitangi Tribunal, end all reference to imaginary Treaty "partnership" and "principles" and abandon the proposal to force local governments to enter "iwi participation agreements".

He also spoke about wanting the allocation of water to remain in control of local authorities not tribes and to end tax exemptions for multimillion-dollar tribal businesses.

"Help us spread the word and tell your local MP that irrespective of skin colour we are all equal. How [are] the policies under the National Party showcasing equal citizenship?"