Editorial | Issue 06

Editorial | Issue 06

To Abort the Rort is to Sell Oneself Short

I’m always up for a solid money-making rort.

My car is adorned with dozens of parking receipts, designed to deter parking wardens from checking whether I have actually paid for parking on a given day. If I do pay for parking, I only buy 10 cents’ worth, limiting my liability to a $10 “expired ticket” fine instead of the dreaded $40 “no ticket” fine. This system has saved me hundreds of dollars over the years.

So that’s why I would never judge the opportunistic entrepreneurs responsible for claiming the 4G spectrum under the Treaty of Waitangi. Right on, sistahs. I would do the exact same thing were there but a single millilitre of Tangata Whenua blood in my lily-white veins.

But it’s always amusing to see the moralistic comments trotted out in the media in support of the latest claim for water rights, taniwha relocation fees, or newly-created telecommunications spectra. One can only presume the would-be MLKs don’t actually believe their own hype.

Words like “justice,” “mana,” and “historical redress” are thrown around liberally by the more showmanlike claimants. Others choose to go down a more blasé commercial route, arguing simply that the precise wording of particular Treaty clauses entitles iwi to cash money, regardless of any moral considerations.

The fact is, the vast majority of major Treaty claims are nothing more than naked money-making schemes. Iwi CEOs are laughing all the way to the bank. Repeat claimants such as Maori Council co-chair Maanu Paul have my absolute respect for remaining poker-faced during negotiations about the 4G spectrum – presumably bursting into uncontrollable laughter as soon as they leave the boardroom.

Does anyone really believe that Maori tribes in 1840 grudgingly ceded sovereignty on condition that the profits from unforeseeable technological advances 160 years down the line would be immediately payable to their descendants? Does anyone really believe in taniwha? Admittedly, religious groups are running a rort of their own (tax-exempt status in New Zealand), and the concept of giant sea monsters that totes physically occupy profitable waterways without ever having been seen in the 173 years since the Treaty was signed is no more ridiculous than any other superstition.

But again, I’m not judging. The money is there for the taking, and the iwi CEOs are seizing the day. Carpe diem. Choose wagyu.

While recent Treaty claims are among the most lucrative and publicly visible rorts, there are plenty of other swindles occurring each and every day, disguised in moralistic language and backwards rationalisations. For example, politicians who preach against material excess and greed invariably pocket their $200,000+ salaries with the rationale that they “need a certain level of material comfort in order to have the strength to save the poor.” Keep telling yourself that, guys.

Rorts are an inescapable part of life, and there is no better place to embrace this fact than university. You will be left behind if you don’t take every advantage. Get your hands on lecture notes from an A+ student, there’s always a set floating around. Target your study towards your exams rather than studiously learning the entire syllabus. Know thy lecturer, and whether they tolerate dissenting views – if not, toe the party line and regurgitate what they want you to say. If you ignore my Machiavellian counsel through some misguided idealism, you’re selling yourself short. This is your career we’re talking about.

Don’t be the kid with the righteous halo and the B-minus. Don’t be the sucker who pays for an adult ticket when the stadium turnstile is unmanned and automated. As the fourth Congressional District of Illinois shows, boundaries are made to be warped.

<3 Bye McChes, Welcome Zane <3

This week Critic bids a fond adieu to Sam McChesney, our Deputy Editor and Sub-Editor. McChesney, or “Sam” as he liked to be called, has done a fantastic job on the first six issues of the year, and will be keenly missed as he slides down the slippery slope towards academia.

Next week, Zane Pocock will be promoted to Deputy Editor. Zane will bring a refreshingly tall, slim perspective to the role, and intends to triple the size of the sports section while trimming the already paper-thin culture section down to the bare legal minimum. Extensive weekly coverage of Knox College is also likely to resume, as Zane has “immensely fond memories” of Knox, which he says “stands and falls by the quality of its residents.”
This article first appeared in Issue 6, 2013.
Posted 4:40pm Sunday 7th April 2013 by Callum Fredric.