This is about Thames' dark side, pun intended. Get to that later.
I read that Deputy PM and Police Minister Paula Bennett faced a large, angry crowd at Thames' Civic Centre. They were angry at all sorts of things, from drug-related burglaries, drug houses, assaults at the high school, afraid of thugs on the streets and concerned the police are short-numbered.
The minister is totally not to blame. Culture - or, rather, lack of it - is. The welfare culture. Drug culture. Booze culture. Culture of unread ignorance, complete lack of self-analysis. The outlook, therefore, of a worrying percentage of Maori.
There, I've said it. These problems belong to my people and, until we're honest and state the facts, problems that will continue onto the next generation.
I don't mean Maori in the region who have jobs, are law-abiding and raising children on aspirations and love. I mean the small percentage of lowlife filth, the vermin, the welfare-created Frankensteins; the truant youths, the unemployed, bored and seething with anger at their horrible upbringing for which citizens have to pay.
I mean the generational pissheads and welfare-addicts. The meth-users and dope-heads turned psychotic on sustained drug use. I mean the next generation of losers rewarded by government to stay losers by paying them a benefit. Any wonder the good people of Thames expressed outrage, Maori no doubt amongst them.
The group of snarling youths in the street who glare at non-Maori dying to "smack" them over. The drunk and stoned parents who neglected them like they were neglected. The same parents whose self-loathing became transferred abuse of their kids, from violence to sexual to not feeding properly, put-down verbal abuse, bereft of all forms of discipline.
This is what we're dealing with and Thames is just one of numerous small communities where the racial divide is most apparent; except it isn't racial, it is class. Children in a loving Maori home do not behave badly. Educated Maori don't live destructively. Most Maori with a decent job are not for a moment dysfunctional.
With no official analysis on why, let alone offered solutions, no wonder non-Maori citizens are frustrated, angry and scared and decent Maori are concerned. Because no one is calling the problem for what it is. But we have to, or it will never go away, only get worse.
Been saying this for 25 years and more.
I know people in the region and was there over the Christmas break. Doesn't make me a few-nights expert. But keep your eyes and ears open to know the problem is a Maori one. So where are the local Maori leaders?
Frustrated and just as angry, I'd say. Since the young ones won't listen to them, have never been taught respect, not for their elders nor anyone else. Just whack who you feel like whacking. Drink up, pop, swallow, inject, whatever gives you a high, bro. Go to prison, to early graves, have poor health, wallow in violence, pig out on ignorance and refuse to look at yourselves.
First hand here goes up. Decades ago I had a choice: Face the mirror and do something about who and what I was. Or face a lifetime in and out of prison or, at best, a loser boozer talking gibberish. Hardly any Maori politician will speak the truth on Maori issues because it doesn't win votes.
So they have to be "on the Pakeha side" perceived as running with the hounds. As Winston used to be accused of, though a lot less so now. At least he called things for what they are.
Paula Bennett is a straight shooter too. And she's tough enough to cop the criticism.
But the problem is at flaxroots; of too many of our plants infected with a spreading fungus; alas, none but a blighted crop to bring in. Most of our Maori politicians talk only of gaining more power. But power to do what?
Enrich the Maori elite more? Add to their dubious mana?
Educate, educate, educate the young generation out of this awful mindset, this negative way of thinking that the world unjustly put them at the bottom of the heap and start talking about how to climb that damn mountain in front of us.
I know it can be done because I've seen it become quite the norm in my own home town, of Maori getting educated, owning a business, become teachers, nurses, tradesmen, district police commanders, health consultants, etc.
In other words, part of society, not on the outside glaring in.