"The reality is that Māori have suffered through colonisation," Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson said today in response to comments made over the weekend by National MP Paul Goldsmith around colonisation being good "on balance" for Māori.
Goldsmith said on TV3's The Nation that "on balance" colonisation had been a good thing for Māori.
"It was always going to be very traumatic experience," Goldsmith said on colonisation. "With it came all sorts of wonderful things such as literacy, the freedoms and democracy that have come through, so yip, there's good and bad."
Today, Goldsmith said he was not seeking to diminish the "terrible experiences through colonisation for Māori".
When asked about Goldsmith's comments, Willie Jackson extended an invitation "out to Goldie to come to my marae and we'll tell him what colonisation has done to people in South Auckland".
Green Party's Marama Davidson called Goldsmith's comments "absolutely abhorrent", adding that it was "old, stale thinking and has no place in future of Aotearoa".
She spoke about her Grandmother having "our literacy and numeracy actually physically beaten out of her at school", in response to Goldsmith talking about literacy from colonisation.
Labour's Kelvin Davis said Goldsmith was "a living breathing example of why we need to teach history in New Zealand schools", while colleague Peeni Henare said the comments were "just not helpful and they certainly don't align with much of the histories I've learnt and others have learnt".
"I think it's really ignorant, it sets us back, unnecessary. It certainly is dismissive."
National MP Todd Muller said he did not agree with Goldsmith's comments, saying "that colonisation for Māori was pretty brutal, frankly".
National's deputy leader Shane Reti said that a "number of Māori have been affected (negatively) by colonisation, a number of them were breaches of the Treaty".
"Treaty settlements are some attempt of redress for that."
Today, Goldsmith said that the "the fundamental point I'm trying to make is that when we stand back and look at New Zealand and what we've created, which is the result of colonisation, I think on balance New Zealand is a good thing".
"I'm proud of New Zealand, I'm proud of what we've achieved, I'm proud to be a New Zealander.
"Does that say bad things didn't happen? Of course not, and do we try to diminish the harsh experiences of many Māori? Of course not. I'm just saying, on balance I'm positive about New Zealand and I'm proud to be a New Zealander."
Goldsmith said there was "terrible experiences through colonisation for Māori in particular, I don't seek to diminish that in any way".
"What I would say is that the New Zealand we live in today is a result of colonisation. And on balance, I think it's a good thing in what we have created in this country and I'm proud of it.
"New Zealand is a work in progress, and of course we've got challenges, and what we've got to do is focus on doing everything we can to reduce those disparities."