Friday, December 12, 2014

Mike McVicker: Maori Appointments to Council

The issue of Maori Wards on Councils has certainly been rearing its head around the Country recently. Here in Rotorua this political demand by Maori is certainly heating up again and will come to a head on Thursday 18th December at the final Council meeting of the year. 

This week speculation proved to be correct when it was confirmed that our Mayor, Steve Chadwick, was behind a proposal to push significant change relating to Maori appointments through at this very last meeting. She was clearly hoping that the political fallout will fade over the Christmas holidays.

A very similar proposal to give Iwi two unelected representatives on the Rotorua District Council (now the Rotorua Lakes Council), plus 50% control of the Resource Management Committee was similarly launched by the Mayor in May. Once the public were alerted to this somewhat underhand move, it was flatly rejected by Rotorua ratepayers.

With the new Mayor some 14 months into her first term, it must be acknowledged that she has achieved some significant changes, and many improvements to what had become a rather stagnant city.

However, in recent times the Council, with the support of the Mayor, has increasingly paid lip service to due process and pushed through numerous  contentious items,. Unsurprisingly, pubic tolerance of such behaviour is fading. As a result of this unilateral decision making we are seeing a Ministerial type of operation in the Council with elected members increasingly left in the dark. Hence it came as no surprise to find out this week that the intention of the Mayor was to push this change through at the last meeting of the year.

Such tactics would be ill-advised and hopefully backfire. Ramming through unelected representation will push the boundaries of democracy, and once again divide our community.

What is of particular interest in this case, is that only last month the Council voted on Maori Wards, and rejected the proposal unanimously. The difference however is that what is being proposed now, as in May, is Appointments to Council, not Maori Wards. The rational here is that using the Appointment process eliminates the opportunity for 5% of the electors to force a referendum.

The Mayor has claimed that Maori Wards and Maori Appointments are completely separate issues. We say rubbish! Both are race-based approaches.

Clearly, the Mayors continuing campaign, without any mandate from the community, must be actively opposed.

Consequently a group of like-minded people have established the Rotorua Pro Democracy Society to defend our democratic rights. Our objective is to maintain the status quo. It is worth noting that the Rotorua Lakes Council currently has three Maori Councillors of the twelve, so one could rightfully argue that Maori are already well represented in Rotorua.

This week our group has forced the Mayor to declare her hand as to her intentions, with the resultant media coverage, and consequent public outrage. Next weeks outcome will be a close call as the Mayor does have her loyal band of Councillors to perhaps help her secure a majority of 7 of the 13 votes required.

However, in the meantime pressure will go on all Councillors as we have made it clear that this issue will not go away, and if necessary will be a major issue at the next elections.

Mike McVicker is a fourth term councillor on the Rotorua District Council. If you share Councillor McVicker's concerns, and would like to express them, the email addresses for all members of the Council are:  


Anonymous said...

This shit seems to be going on in a covertly organised manner all over the country.

I rang Auckland Council yesterday morning to inquire about a property rating notice, and spent 30 seconds listening to a recorded message greeting me in Maori before being belatedly told in English I’d got through to Auckland Council.

A subsequent email to Council’s CEO asking who authorised this (and on what authority since the matter was never put to ratepayers for approval) has yet to produce a response.

paul scott said...

I say that the race problem is encouraged by the weakling NZ Nat Government buying into Maori seats to gain power. That problem is gone now. We no longer need to buy racist power. The world has changed and is more conservative. Key knows by surveillance and so is safe.
Maori privilege is coming to an end.