Sunday, August 1, 2010
Frank Newman: Council wars and opportunists
What is particularly disturbing is the extent to which the council staff have become engaged in the political warfare. In theory there is a clear line between the politics of local government and its administration. In the case of the Whangarei District Council (WDC) that line is not only blurred, it has been erased. Given the political tainting, the WDC cannot be trusted with the absolute control of the consenting and monitoring process that a unitary authority would deliver.
As one would expect, the Council’s self-serving campaign has attracted other opportunist with their own self-serving agendas. Reserved seats for Maori has again raised its ugly racist head. The issue here is whether Maori are in fact disadvantaged under the current universal voting system. The evidence is Whangarei is that they are not. In Whangarei (and I suggest elsewhere) those of Maori heritage are elected to council on their own merits – both our Mayor and Deputy Mayor are of Maori heritage. On that basis I simply cannot accept that non-Maori discriminate against Maori when considering their voting preferences. Giving preferential reserved seats to Maori would in effect diminish their right to stand on level ground head and shoulders above others.
In my view reserved seats would not be supported by the majority (90%) of citizens, who want New Zealanders to unite in the future instead of being divided by the past. Most New Zealanders are over the past, it’s time reserved seats were also confined to history.
at 9:32 AM