Issue 434 March 15, 2020
New Zealand First MP Shane Jones is a colourful politician. As he admits, his vocabulary is often muscular and bombastic and he is aware that his comments are inflammatory and hurtful.
His outbursts against the Indian community caused furore, attracting condemnation from the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and others.
Mr Jones and his Leader Winston Peters defend their comments saying that ‘the Indian community tells them.’
But who are these people? Do they represent the Diaspora? Has there been any verification of their comments? Have these leaders considered the enormous contributions of Indian businesses and people towards the economic progress and social development of New Zealand for more than 110 years? If there are problems, how we can we all get together and address them?
If Mr Jones is an enigma, it is our duty to solve the puzzle. It is important to hear him out fully, find out what really bothers him and how we can address his concerns. On his part, Mr Jones must stop castigating a community and work with us.
After all, any problem can be solved through discussions. Communities and nations are pitted against each other only because of failure of communications and worse, refusal to talk.
Indians are known for ability to undertake intelligent discourses, analyse situations and provide solutions that can build a cohesive society – a society that Mr Jones aspires.
“A democratic society, in its thirst for liberty, may fall under the influence of bad leaders,” worried Plato, who also feared that “popular acclaim will attend on the man who tells the people what they want to hear rather than what truly benefits them.”
These worries seem all the more pertinent today.