‘Come back Helen Clark, all is forgiven’

Thus spake John Ansell, who’s back with another cracking demonstration that he’s the nation’s pre-eminent racial fearmonger. He really is peerless in this regard.

And there’s plenty more where that came from.

Incidentally, you can read Scott Hamilton’s (and others’) thorough and systematic destruction of Ansell’s rather slippery and Victorian views on race, ethnicity, culture and religion (yes, Virginia, ‘Māori’ is a religion) in the comments thread of this post at the excellent Reading The Maps.


49 thoughts on “‘Come back Helen Clark, all is forgiven’

  1. This is not about Maori v whites, it’s about the National Party and the tribal aristocracy v the rest of Maori (who haven’t had one snapper from Treaty settlements) and the rest of New Zealand.

    Attack me any way you like, but I’m just saying what a lot of people are saying – including a lot of the urban liberal females, for whom Key is currently running New Zealand.

    The Maori Party argue for their day in Court, which I agree they should have. But the National Party are going to give them a secret meeting in Chris Finlayson’s office .

    How is that fair?

    You portray me as to the right of Genghis Khan, yet on this issue I’m aligned with Chris Trotter and Jim Anderton.

    The big question is whether we want our country to remain a democracy or a tribal aristocracy like Tonga.

  2. And you say it so well, John. I really do mean that — as far as stirring up irrational hatred goes, your work is top-drawer. While I abhor your message, my respect for the quality of its presentation is entirely genuine. In this regard I hold similar views about Karl Rove, Michael Laws, Lady Gaga and Leni Riefenstahl.

    But I didn’t (in this case — I have previously) portray you as right-wing; rather as Victorian. That you share this characteristic with a few aging paranoid paleo-socialists doesn’t really speak in your favour (or theirs); it’s just a demographic artifact of colonialism. It seems to come with the inability to recognise this sort of racism: You assume the worst of the brown savages, ascribing to them the same sorts of base motives as modeled by the colonialists. You equate their present-day social and legal structures and norms with those of their pre-modern forbears, to the conclusion that whatever they do is necessarily antithetical to modern liberal democracy, in 2010 as in 1840 when they had to be ‘tamed’ for the sake of the nation.

    The unstated — never stated — proposition that you and your people — I should say, us and our people — have moved on from the rapine and pillage, exploitation, dispossession and genicode of our Victorian forbears, and now populate our civilised and equitable society, while they are not — have not, cannot change from their innate essential nature as savages.

    That’s what’s racist about your campaign.


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  5. A bit harsh, Chris, I’ll admit.

    As for the ‘wiring’ — if, by that, you mean my reluctance to unquestioningly accept your assurances that you’re actually a 21st Century liberal after all, then I suppose I’m guilty as charged. I haven’t ruled out the possibility; I just remain to be convinced. I’d love nothing more. Taking a stance against John’s campaign would be a very welcome surprise.


  6. Phil, weren’t you just a short while ago arguing that the most recent FSA agreement indicated that Māori (and society in general) was abandoning socialism in favour of democratic capitalism?

    You have your anecdotes and I have mine. No point in doing battle over those, but here’s something to ponder: bad-will begets bad-will. If people like you, and Chris, and John treat every gradual bit of change toward biculturalism as the final battle for the soul of New Zealand, viewing even good-faith engagement with hostile suspicion and shrieking blue murder at the smallest and most tenuous transgressions — then isn’t the dystopia you fear the most likely outcome?


  7. See, the thing is, the settler strategy of exterminating Māori by force of arms failed in the 1890s. The strategy of destroying their economic bases, their cultural base and their language by legal force failed in the 1970s. If you want to view this cultural experiment as an all-out war, you need to realise that you’re losing: Māori are more numerous, more economically and culturally and legally powerful than at any time in living memory. (Ansell: you might not think they’re ‘real’ Māori, but that’s irrelevant) So the only viable strategy that’s left is good-faith engagement and mutual respect; not coincidentally, the strategy Māori first adopted to large-scale settlement, and have been waiting with decreasing patience to continue ever since. Because they’ve never seen this as a ‘total war’ situation. If they had, Hobson and his band would have been slaughtered without a second thought. Ironically, if that had been the case, the settlers might have won outright.


  8. bad-will begets bad-will. If people like you, and Chris, and John treat every gradual bit of change toward biculturalism as the final battle for the soul of New Zealand, viewing even good-faith engagement with hostile suspicion and shrieking blue murder at the smallest and most tenuous transgressions — then isn’t the dystopia you fear the most likely outcome?

    Lew – You LABEL people who have an argument with the FSA as Victorian racists. I referred to my personal experience and was particular about stating “wide” ownership rights. That does not make me a racist.

    FWIW – I support some level of customary title, in very specific circumstances, in the same way as Green Lake is reserved, that falls a long way short or actual ownership. That is what genuine justice would provide.

    John is right when he says the argument is not between Maori & Pakeha, but about whether the issue is dealt with openly or by negotiation between elites.

    You are the one who is over reacting with your labels. It is not racist to argue in favour of our birthright whether we be Maori or Pakeha.

  9. Phil, no, there are plenty of arguments against vesting the F&S in tangata whenua which are neither Victorian nor racist. I’ve been pretty explicit in why these are.

    I know you support some customary title — as long as it doesn’t impinge on your rights in any way (regardless of the rights of those who’ve been dispossessed all this time). That’s not necessarily racist, or Victorian — but there’s no obvious argument that it represents ‘genuine justice’ either. But that’s another matter.

    As for John’s ‘this is not about race, it’s about elites’ fig-leaf — this is simply laughable, given the history of the iwi/kiwi campaign, and the particular deployment we’ve seen. Perhaps that’s what lies behind the Coastal Coalition campaign — I doubt it — but it’s certainly not what comes out through the billboards.


  10. See, the thing is, the settler strategy of exterminating Māori by force of arms failed in the 1890s. The strategy of destroying their economic bases, their cultural base and their language by legal force failed in the 1970s.

    For as much as I understand this you may as well be talking about UFO and crop circles and homeopathy as serious subjects. It is utterly utterly utterly alien to my understanding of what Maori and Pakeha were trying to achieve in New Zealand.

    If you are being facetious I missed that but if you are serious then there is no level on which we can understand each other, so deep is the gap.

  11. Phil, I’m not saying it was “what Māori and Pākehā were trying to achieve in new Zealand”. Quite the opposite: this winner-takes-all culture war is what many Pākehā settlers and their governmental representatives, and some Māori were trying to prosecute. And some still are: as ever, many more on the white side than on the brown side.

    As for your tone of outraged disbelief: if you think the Land Wars and many violent military or police actions undertaken on pretexts provided by the Suppression of Rebellion Act (and others); policies prohibiting Māori from owning firearms whilst simultaneously subsidising settler firearms ownership; and simply chapters asnd chapters full of other such events don’t constitue a strategy of trying to exterminate Māori by force of arms to make way for British settlers, then you’d do well to re-read our nation’s history. Of course, if you wanted to, you could argue it’s not as bad as in Australia, or the Americas, or Africa, and that point I would grant you.

    By the same token, if you want to argue that the various acts regarding Māori land which permitted its confiscation and alienation, the policies which rendered the effective economic use of that land inviable; the Tohunga Suppression Act which made the public dissemination of virtually all forms of traditional knowledge illegal; and policies prohibiting the use of te reo Māori don’t constitute a strategy of destroying economic, cultural and linguistic bases, then perhaps you need to reconsider what those terms actually mean.

    If you’re unaware of all of this, then that’s one thing. But if you’re aware of it and still think that these were clearly and obviously the actions of a benign benefactor culture trying its best to work in good faith with the people whose land they were occupying, then I agree: perhaps there is no level on which we can really discuss the topic.


  12. Lew, abusing people who don’t fit into your “Maori Party glorious” “with us or against us” dichotomy isn’t constructive. Read Scott Hamilton!

    Some kaumatua I’ve spoken to say, “we don’t own the land. the land owns us.” Are they Victorian racists?

    I’m Nga Puhi, and I oppose what the Nats and Maori Party, are doing, because the government isn’t explaining clearly and transparently what it’s doing, and why.

    Are Finlayson’s rich white Ngai Tahu mates gonna tell me I have to pay to go onto a Golden Bay beach? Are Hapu Harawira gonna tell me I’m not allowed on a Northland beach?

    PS. I look forward to you explaining at some point three tangible improvements the Maori Party have made for Maori people as whole, and how this mitigates all the bad things this careless coaliton has/hasn’t done for Maori people.

  13. TBD, not interested in a threadjack. It’s clear you actually haven’t read my response to the māori party with regard to this latest foreshore and seabed agreement — and the discussion here isn’t even about them and this specific policy matter, it’s about much larger concerns.


  14. Disagree my comments were a jack.

    Dismissing anyone who disagrees with your opinion as a racist is unconstructive and illiberal, and it’s not going to help your version of the Maori cause.

    Supporting a party that opposes interracial dating is hardly the heights of racial enlightenment, either.

    On an actual threadjack note:
    One day you’ll realise the current Maori Party leadership suck, but, with the possible exception of Te Ururoa, they’ll probably be booted out of office by the time that happens.

  15. *sigh*

    I don’t dismiss as racist people who “disagree with my opinion”. There are plenty who disagree with my opinions on these matters who I don’t consider racist. It’s all in how you do it (and your grounds for doing so).

    Point of fact: the māori party doesn’t oppose interracial dating: Hone Harawira “would be uncomfortable” if his kids did it. Get some perspective.

    As for the quality of the party, I’m perfectly open to the possibility that they suck. But that determination is for Māori-electorate voters to make, not for random punters and particularly not for the disgruntled Labour supporters who are predominantly responsible for saying so. I trust you — if you’re not on the general roll — will make your views known in 2011, and if you want to send ’em packing, more power to you. If they’re not serving their people, then they don’t deserve to stay. But I suspect that actually, as far as many of those people are concerned, the party’s doing alright.

    Anyway, I’ve said all that before.


  16. John Tamihere once said the co-leader of the Maori Party was the kiss of death to race relations in this country. Now she’s spooning him a significant taste of Whanau Ora cash he says she’s doing a great job.

  17. First thing Lew – your link to johnansell doesnt work any more.

    Secondly – I have a son who is in the education industry – hes a very small minority in that industry – and hes decided to head overseas. But firstly he decided to exit the education area, then the overseas thing was decided later.
    Various reasons, but the one that clinched their (hes married) decision was the backward looking attitude that is infiltrating the education sector. ‘What do mean” I asked. “Well its all about conflict and confrontation and class status”. I was a bit befuddled so I asked him to explain. His explanation was the modern interpretation of the treaty. He says forget the actual apparent message in the original treaty – thats not what its about. What we are being expected to teach the kids are the rules of tribal existence where brutal confrontation and win or die were the rules. Its put across in a more disguised way, but thats the underlying message. Theres no concept of an overall social group – its all about tribal existence and the class structure. Thats why some many maori are in the weak financial and social place they are in. Its got nothing to do with the treaty (breaches) – its all due to the maori class structure – tribal leaders think they have no duty to the rest of the tribe – they think the tribe has a duty to them , and that they be glad about it! – even if they are living in abject poverty. And if anyone think they care about urban moari then one is mistaken – they care more about dead whales than their urban relations.

    And thats whats behind the Foreshore and seabed – its all about various tribal leaders thinking that they ‘are’ maori, and thats all that matters.

    As son says – you cant build a society on that sort of thing.

  18. As I’ve said before, I’m not trolling (though politics ain’t tiddliwinks!), and I’d be interested to hear your case on why the party’s doing alright.
    I didn’t vote for them last time, I’m red-red as you know, but I didn’t think they’d be this kupapa. I’ve spoken to a number of disgruntled former supporters. Everyone’s got their anecdotes, I know, so share some of yours….

  19. Also Lew when you refer to disgruntled Labour supporters: you do realise overwhelmingly Maori who gave their electorate vote to the Maori Party, gave their party vote to Labour, right?

  20. Much as I’d love to revisit these topics which I’ve argued exhaustively before, I’ve got a tangi to attend. I’ll try to get back to you early next week.


  21. Some time in the next month or two. It’s not urgent.
    And we all got lotsa other stuff to do than blog.
    Hope you have a good trip to Parihaka.
    I’m thinking a bit about Te Miringa. A lovely and inspirational man. Haere, haere, haere.

  22. Lew what about the winnie factor? Act seem to have imploded and both the nats and labs say they could work with winnie, and these ads are in alignment with his views, and it surely will add impetus to his campaign (if and when it explicitly begins).

    I can’t see what the end game is. What do they (ansell and ilk) think will happen – that maori will go “Shit you’re right, we aren’t maori, just money grubbing fake-brown leeches, we have been living a lie, our culture and beliefs are all artifice, yes let us all be kiwis da dee da da dah.” Just can’t see it happening. So all we get is divisiveness and conflict.

    Also, is the outrage genuine. Private ownership has already determined that beaches for all is an illusion. The only beaches in Golden Bay (where i live) that I can’t walk on today are the privately owned beaches. My opposition to the F&S regig is that IMO it actually doesn’t give maori any actual rights (other than the ability to try and prove customary title) but creates another class of (non) ownership. This customary ownership must be proved and the bar is set so high at the moment (deliberately) that it seems difficult to imagine many hapu or iwi getting over it.

    I’ve always liked hone’s idea of getting the crown to prove that Maori don’t have customary rights. Iwi have declared time and time again that access to beaches will not be affected. But I suppose that is the nature of propaganda – the truth is secondary to the ‘message’.

  23. Lew, you smear me at 13.39, but provide no evidence for your claims whatsoever.

    If you have a shred of ethics, you will please cite the quotes from me that cause you to make these outrageous inferences.

    I believe you have an image of what you want me to be like – someone who gives you an excuse to foam at the mouth about racist right-wing rednecks (or Victorians, or whatever your current term of abuse is).

    But an intellectually honest approach requires you to look at what I’m actually saying, not what you want to read.

    I often ask people like you what is racist about the Beaches/Iwi/Kiwi billboard.

    In other words, what in those three words implies that one race is superior or inferior to another (which, Lew, is what racist means).

    At that point, they all run away. They know full well that it is not racist.

    It is not racist to suggest that one party is on the side of Maori and another party is on the side of all New Zealanders.

    If that billboard is the reason for people like you calling me racist, you’re on pretty shaky ground.

    Nor is it racist to ask whether the Maori of today are more of a race or a religion.

    That question does not demean Maori in any way – unless you believe that a religion is inferior to a race, which I don’t think you can infer from my question.

    I repeat: when large amounts of taxpayer funds are being given to people for the simple reason that they are members of a race, then it is entirely fair to ask whether those people are still first and foremost members of that race – or something else.

    To call someone racist for daring to ask that question is grossly unfair.

    It is a clever trick to use such emotional blackmail to put the public off asking such embarrassing – and it works.

    But the more you use the racism put-down, the more people like me are likely to keep asking, and the sooner the public will realise what the answer is.

  24. John, since you’re apparently impervious to argumentation I’ve no interest in rehashing the arguments made here. Unlike Scott, I have neither time nor energy for pig-wrestling.

    I would suggest you reread them; particularly the comments by Scott and Edward. But of course, you read them all last time and didn’t seem to make a blind bit of difference, so what am I hoping for?

    You just keep on making up terminology and applying your wacky invented theories about race, religion, history, genetics and identity to the Aotearoan situation, and I’ll keep calling it like I see it.


  25. “I’ve no interest in rehashing the arguments made here. Unlike Scott, I have neither time nor energy for pig-wrestling.”

    I thought not Lew. You have no interest in quoting my actual comments and refuting them, because you know they are far more benign than your outrageous exaggerations.

    You are, in short, dishonest.

  26. John, in the spirit of intellectual honesty you’re demanding from Lew, how about providing something to back up your claim that people are being given money “Just because they’re maori?”.

    (As opposed to being given money because of some historical grievance inflicted on their family)

  27. No, John, it’s that I’ve seen what passes for argumentation in your clique, and since I have a full-time job, a couple of kids, grass to watch grow and paint to watch dry, I have more valuable things to do with my time. So much to say: I could argue the toss with them, but I choose not to.

    Since I’m transparent about this fact, there’s no dishonesty. People can make of my assessment what they wish. If they think it poorly justified or articulated, they’re welcome to ignore it, but I have no interest in wasting hours of my life explaining the bleeding obvious to the bloody oblivious.


  28. Hugh, at least when Lew puts words in my mouth he has the good grace to spell and punctuate them correctly.

    It could be that I said those words (just because they’re Maori) as you suggest with your badly spelt and punctuated quotation.

    If so, I’d appreciate it if you could show me where.

    If not, I suggest you take back the bit about intellectual honesty.

    If I did say that (and I’ll be happy to own up to it if you can prove it), then you’re quite right: I should have said it was because of a historical grievance done to their family.

    But to what extent was it their family? To what extent are they related to the oppressed, and to what extent to the oppressors?

    If the rest of us are required to pay money to people whose British ancestors wronged their Maori ancestors, I’m struggling to see how that is fair.

    Is it not dishonest for a person to claim to be ‘Maori’ when the truth is that they are part-Maori, part-British.

    And is it not especially dishonest when that person is more British than Maori?

    Is it racist to ask why someone such as Steven O’Regan should effectively convert to Maoridom and become Tipene when the prospect of riches appear on the horizon?

    I might be quite wrong about that being the reason for Sir Tipene’s conversion, but I don’t think people can be blamed for wondering whether such strong financial incentives might have had something to do with all the latter-day name-changes (eg John Hatfield to Hone Harawira, Peter Sharples to Pita).

    To me, it doesn’t matter which culture or religion a person practices.

    The question in this case is to what degree that person can expect money from the rest the population for wrongs done by one side of their family to another side.

    I’m not saying no money should change hands, just that the question should be taken into account.

  29. I see Lew: you’ve got plenty of time to abuse me, but none to prove that you have quoted me fairly.

    You’re right: people will indeed make of your assessment what they wish.

    If you’re lucky, they will, as you say, ignore it.

    But if they’re fair-minded, they will condemn it for the loathsome hypocrisy it is.

  30. John, I’ve wasted only a few scant paragraphs on you; hardly ‘plenty of time’. You’re beyond reason. And of those who need to be persuaded of this beyond the myriad other evidence which exists, I have no particular need for their approval or their admiration.


  31. I agree that it is not worth the bother Lew. This is a guy who a few days ago on KB claimed that Singapore was a market democracy. Heck, as one of the other commentators noted in response, even Lee Kuan Yew does not claim that!

    Arguing with such types is pointless.

  32. John

    Leaving your quarrel with my spellchecker aside, you said:

    “I repeat: when large amounts of taxpayer funds are being given to people for the simple reason that they are members of a race, then it is entirely fair to ask whether those people are still first and foremost members of that race – or something else”

    The only way I can see that this doesn’t refer to people being given money because they’re Maori is that you’re talking about some other race, or that you’re positing an entirely hypothetical situation that doesn’t reflect what is happening in New Zealand today.

    If we assume by “a race” and “that race” you mean Maori, your statement becomes:

    “I repeat: when large amounts of taxpayer funds are being given to people for the simple reason that they are Maori, then it is entirely fair to ask whether those people are still first and foremost Maori – or something else”

    Emphasis mine.

    So have I misinterpreted you?

  33. Thanks for quoting me correctly Hugh. Pity Lew can’t bring himself to do the same.

    Hugh, I don’t want to quibble beyond asking for accuracy, and concede that my comment did indeed amount to what you said it did. I should have been more specific.

    I’d be interested in your response to my later comments.

  34. John,

    The question in this case is to what degree that person can expect money from the rest the population for wrongs done by one side of their family to another side.

    …that’s not what is happening.

    The dispute is not between ‘races’. The fact that you think it is is why people call your billboard racist. It is not between one side of the family and another. It is between the crown and iwi, signatories to a treaty. That’s why it’s different to the highland clearances and all the other historical wrongs that people try to compare it to. It’s about a breach of contract.

    You claim that despite appearances, and despite the way most people understood it, your iwi/kiwi billboard was not about saying that Maori are not kiwi’s. You cannot at the same time run the argument that iwi are getting paid out by the ‘rest of us’.

    If your kiwi side of the billboard is inclusive of Maori, then Maori are also included in the group doing the paying.

    I’m not saying no money should change hands, just that the question should be taken into account.

    …it is taken into account. Maori also pay tax you know. They are entitled to all the protections of citizenship, and iwi are entitled to all the things gauranteed under the treaty.

  35. That’s a fair point, but any Maori person receiving compensation would be paying $1 on behalf of his Pakeha forebears and receiving a much larger amount on behalf of his Maori forebears.

    So it’s a major gain.

    My concern is with things not guaranteed under the Treaty, such as the foreshore and seabed.

    If iwi thought they owned the foreshore and seabed, why did they not lodge even one Treaty claim for it between 1985 and 2003, when an activist judge said they might have a shot.

    Understandably, iwi then started claiming for everything, to the point where the Green Party’s Maori leader now says the whole 200 mile economic zone should be in Maori title.

    Is this fair, given that the territorial sea in 1840 was only 3 miles and there was no equivalent economic zone?

  36. John, when I see supposed conservatives who are predominantly one race arguing for the nationalisation of private property rights of owners who happen to be predominantly another race, I tend to blame racism for this compromise of principle.

  37. John, for some reason your last went to the spam queue. I’ve released it — let me know if anything else doesn’t appear.

    (After all, even if I CBA arguing with you, other people are welcome to continue.)


  38. That’s a fair point, but any Maori person receiving compensation would be paying $1 on behalf of his Pakeha forebears and receiving a much larger amount on behalf of his Maori forebears.

    nope. that still has this funny idea that it’s about pakeha paying Maori. It’s not. It’s about the crown and iwi.

    Imagine if it was about a private company instead of an iwi.

    If the company was set up by a deed that said ownership was via descent from the founder, and that if you could demonstate descent, then you were a shareholder.

    Imagine then that the Crown confiscated the assets of this company illegaly. As the dispute went on, the number of shareholders increases, and as the Crown ackowledges the illegality of it’s acts, it agrees it has to make redress.

    Would you still make the same arguments about how these grasping johnny come latelys are asking one lot of their anscestors to bail out another lot?

  39. John

    To engage with the rest of your argument, let me ask you this.

    I realise there probably aren’t many people in New Zealand who are able to trace their descent entirely to those who lived in New Zealand prior to the arrival of Europeans. But as a thought experiment – if such a person did exist, and could demonstrate that they had no European ancestry, would you be comfortable with their receiving compensation?

  40. Hugh, I would imagine the fair thing to (assuming a grievance warranting compensation can be established) would be to provide that compensation in proportion to the degree of relationship that person has to the aggrieved.

    Of course none of this is relevant to Pascal’s argument, which I understand.

    I’m not opposed to fair Treaty settlements, only to what seems to be the relentless relitigation of them.

    How is it justified to reopen ‘full and final settlements’ for the third and fourth time, and is it ever likely to stop?

    Also, how is it fair to extend the claiming to the foreshore and seabed, when no iwi had ever included the foreshore and seabed in a Treaty claim from 1985 until a judge told them in 2003 that it might be worth trying.

    If, as I suspect is true, the majority of the claims are solely for the purpose of taking advantage of the government’s weakness and desire to curry favour with Maori, then I believe it’s quite justifiable to push back.

    The tribal aristocracy (the only Maori who will benefit from any of this) are clever and well-organised, and given the weakness of their opponents will see no reason to rest until they own the whole country and all of its economic zone.

    If New Zealanders generally are too afraid of being labelled racist by people like those on this blog to speak up when their country is being given away to part-members of one race, then they probably deserve to lose it and might as well move to Australia.

  41. Pascal – That is an excellent analogy. By bringing in the law of contract you will also bring in the principles of obligation to diminish damage and contributory negligence. What the likes of John Ansell and so many others like me are arguing is that the whole treaty industry is not about genuine justice for wrongs done such as Tuhoe but playing on white guilt to get the latest in a series of “full and final” settlements.

    It is a reason that so many claims struggled when they went to the crystal clear law of the Privy Council and are only supportable through self interested particpants in the Maori Land Court and the Waitangi tribunal. I do not have any time to properly expand on those points but please do not jump on supposedly racist or bigoted points because they diminish your logic but not my argument.

  42. The degree of relationship, John?

    So a great-grandson of somebody who was agrieved deserves less compensation than a grandson? So given enough time or enough generations, the wrong is effectively undone?

    That’s not the way any other area of civil law works – why do you feel Treaty settlements should be any different?

  43. The ‘full and final ‘canard is just that. Mostly what is being talked about is cases where the Crown imposed a ‘settlement’ without bothering to research the issue or give a proper hearing in any sort of way that repected ideas of natural justice. A take it or leave it offer was made with ‘leave it’ being also considered full and final settlement. In other words such settlements were in and of themselves just another breach of the treaty.

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