Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Bob Edlin: Race-based wards to be introduced more easily

An election has taken place and the democratic will of the people must be respected, Nanaia Mahuta proclaimed yesterday.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs she proceeded to declare:

“We confirm our support for Myanmar’s democratic institutions and the rule of law.”

But as Minister of Local Government, Mahuta recently sacked the democratically elected members of the Tauranga City Council.  

And yesterday, in the same ministerial job, she set about rewriting the rules enabling voters in that city –  or any other local body area – to challenge the introduction of race-based Māori wards.

The Tauranga proposal would have gone to a referendum after a petition calling for a community vote met a necessary threshold under the law

RNZ reported at the weekend –

In August last year, councillors voted to introduce wards in the district where nearly 20 percent of the population is Māori.

If 5 percent of electors opposed this, a community wide vote was to be called.

Local electoral officer Warwick Lampp confirmed a petition calling for a vote reached the threshold of 4742 signatures.

But it’s not going to happen.

Having sacked the council, Mahuta yesterday announced:

The Government is supporting councils working to increase representation for Māori in local government by putting in place the same rules to establish Māori wards as general wards for the 2022 local elections.

Its support is for “councils”, let it be emphasised – it’s not for the citizens who elect councillors to represent their interests and act on their behalf.

Mahuta acknowledged that the current law allows the decision of an elected council to introduce a Māori ward to be overturned by a local poll. Just 5 per cent of support is needed for a poll to be demanded.

This is a highly contentious provision in the law and so:

The Government will introduce legislation to put in place transitional measures that uphold council decisions to establish Māori wards or constituencies, Local Government Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today announced.

Hmm.  Let’s see if we understand what this champion of democracy believes.

It’s okay for her to overturn a council elected by a city’s citizens.

It’s not okay for citizens to use current legislative arrangements to muster support for a referendum which might overturn a council decision on the constitutionally vital matter of how their electoral system is organised and councillors are elected.

Mahuta said she was making this change at the behest of Local Government NZ.

“Local Government has asked the Government to change the law to allow local council decisions to establish local wards to stand. The current system has a different set of rules for establishing Māori and general wards and that uneven playing field needs to change,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“The process of establishing a ward should be the same for both Māori and general wards.”

Yes, the rules do differ.  So why not make it as difficult to establish a general ward as it is to establish a Maori ward?

Mahuta went on:

“These are decisions for democratically elected councils, who are accountable to the public every three years.”

Yes, they are accountable to the public every three years.  But Mahuta was unwilling to allow Tauranga citizens to wait until the next election to sort out the problems of their fractured council.

Her statement continued:

“Polls have proven to be an almost insurmountable barrier to councils trying to improve the democratic representation of Māori interests. This process is fundamentally unfair to Māori.

 “Increasing Māori representation is essential to ensuring equity in representation and to provide a Māori voice in local decision making. It will also lead to greater Māori participation in the resource management process,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

More to the point of the politicking in which Mahuta is engaged, Māori made up just under 20% of all sitting MPs in the House of Representatives after the 2020 general election, with 23 out of 120 MPs with Māori ancestry.  Fourteen of Labour’s 64 MPs (22%) are Maori and they are keen to hold on to the five Maori seats they won.

This is not so much about “ensuring equity in representation” and more about “Treaty” politics to win and secure Maori votes.

The Green Party is similarly Treaty-focused.  Its  Māori Development spokesperson, Elizabeth Kerekere, issued a statement which brays A win for Māori wards across Aotearoa New Zealand

 The Green Party welcomes the Government’s position to support the representation of Māori in councils.

 “We will support any kaupapa that brings Māori to a decision-making table”, says Green Party Māori Development spokesperson Dr Elizabeth Kerekere.

 Is she serious in implying that Maori are not represented at council decision-making tables?  Increasingly in recent years Maori have been APPOINTED to such posts, avoiding the need to campaign for votes as councillors must do.

And let’s not forget that a member of Tauranga City Council’s tangata whenua committee celebrated Mahuta’s decision that the council had become toxic and had to be sacked.  

Oh – and take a note of this from Kerekere:

“In the Tairāwhiti the Gisborne District Council recently passed a resolution to form Māori wards, acknowledging that nearly 52% of the population in Tairāwhiti identify as being Māori.”

In other words, the Maori who account for more than half the population of Tairāwhiti can’t muster enough votes to ensure sufficient representation on the council.

But there’s no suggestion Labour and the Greens want to cite percentages and apply the same reasoning for all ethnic groups.

This is about the Treaty (and modern claims about what its three clauses mean for electoral systems).

Mahuta says:

 “We know the importance of diversity around the council table  and, as part of the Government’s commitment to working to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi, we need to do our part to enable councils to achieve fair representation. Like in Parliamentary elections, specific Māori seats can assist with this” .

 But will Mahuta be making the case for race-based wards – let’s say – in Auckland to ensure Asian representation?

At the 2018 Census there were 442,671 usual residents in Auckland who identified with an Asian ethnicity (28.2% of Auckland’s population). This was an increase of 44.1% since the 2013 Census.

The Asian population has grown more rapidly than the wider Auckland population.

Nation-wide, the majority of New Zealand’s population is of European descent (70 percent).  Māori are only marginally the largest minority (16.5 percent) followed by Asians (15.3 percent).

But let’s get back to the proposed reforms that won’t make too much of the strength of Asian numbers.

“Māori and non-Māori across New Zealand have been calling for these changes for some time, including the recent presentation of two petitions with more than 11,000 signatures to Parliament,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

She could put this claim to the test by holding a nation-wide referendum on support for Maori wards in local government.

She won’t do that and will reform the process for establishing Māori wards in two legislative stages over the next three years.

The first stage will make immediate changes to establish transitional measures for the 2022 local elections. The second stage will develop a permanent mechanism for local authorities to consider the establishment of Māori wards and constituencies.

A Government Bill will be available to review shortly.

Background notes accompanying Mahuta’s statement included data showing that since 2002, 24 councils have attempted to establish Māori wards using the process under the Local Electoral Act 2001 and only two have been successful so far.

Nine councils have decided to establish Māori wards for the 2022 local elections, joining three councils who established these at earlier elections. The Government will support these councils’ decisions to improve Māori representation.

The new legislation will also extend the deadline for councils to consider Māori wards to 21 May 2021, providing them with a fresh opportunity to make decisions on Māori representation at the 2022 local elections.

In her other statement yesterday, Mahuta said New Zealand is deeply concerned by the military’s seizure of power in Myanmar.

New Zealand is a long-standing supporter of Myanmar’s democratic transition.

We call for the swift release of all those political actors detained, including State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint, and for a rapid return to civilian rule.

An election has taken place and the democratic will of the people must be respected. We confirm our support for Myanmar’s democratic institutions and the rule of law.

 Carmel Sepuloni, Minister of Arts, culture and Heritage, had Treaty considerations in mind when she announced community events from Northland to Southland and from the West Coast to the Chatham Islands will draw people together to commemorate Waitangi Day.

“Thirty-four grants totalling $288,000 have gone to organisations throughout Aotearoa to support events commemorating the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and celebrate its importance to who we are as a nation,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“The grants have been awarded for events promoting nation and community building and those encouraging wide community participation and cultural experience.

“From workshops on Te Tiriti and whānau-oriented marae days to performance and children’s activities these nationwide events will deepen our understanding of Te Tiriti.”

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage has a full list of 2021 funded events here.


New Zealand statement on Myanmar 
Government supports councils to increase Māori representation

Nationwide community events for Waitangi Day 20 

Bob Edlin is a veteran journalist and editor for the Point of Order blog HERE.


DeeM said...

Yet another example of our "all-inclusive" government being more inclusive when it comes to everything Maori. NZ's becoming a them-and-us society with the overwhelming majority taking second place to a minority that typically under-achieves across the board and only reflects highest in the worst measures. What a great way to drag your country down!
The NZ Tax Payers Union has started a campaign against this legislation. They are the only group I know of who are taking a practical stand against this. Our opposition parties are compliant and out-to-lunch most of the time.

G. Marshall said...

I wonder, how many country's have democratic parliamentary system which also has dedicated race based seats is its elected bodies.
Is this another world first for New Zealand?
Surely Maori are not meeting their treaty obligations by demanding to be treated unequally.

Unknown said...

The greatest threat to NZ is not Covid, the Economic Recovery or even Climate Change. It is separatism. This apartheid will ruin our country. One wonders why we opposed it in South Africa, but Maori want it in NZ. Whatever happened to "the team of 5 million" or the Treaty that states "we are one people". Why can't we all just be New Zealanders of many different cultures. Maori separatism is touted as needed to address unfairness in our society. But it is all about greed - not need. Human nature will always look for an easier way. If someone can claim even a smidgen of Maori in their genes, then they can obtain all sorts of advantage. Customary fishing rights, an easier path through education, they want to get the pension at 60, Maori only sports teams, want to advance up the queue on hospital waiting lists and Covid vaccination. Even a 1/8th Maori would jump the queue and their strong Maori genes would trump their 7/8th European genes. Yeah right. Here's an idea. Lets form a White All Blacks team and see if this country is labelled racist.

Anonymous said...

Black American political economist, Thomas Sowell – one the most important though largely unsung public intellectuals of the last 100 years – had this to say about ethnocentric part-Maori and their white liberal stooges:

"Anyone who studies the history of ideas should notice how much more often people on the political left, more so than others, denigrate and demonise those who disagree with them — instead of answering their arguments."

“One of the painful signs of years of dumbed-down education is how many people are unable to make a coherent argument. They can vent their emotions, question other people's motives, make bold assertions, repeat slogans-- anything except reason.”

When ethnocentric part-Maori wank on about ‘racism’ what they actually mean is placing it under new management.


Have a free definitions lesson ��


"Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage” – Ayn Rand

Racism is often conflated by the ignorant with simple prejudice, which it is not. Principled opposition to unearned racial privilege is not racism. Nor is it typically evidence of prejudice.

There is only one race. The human race. Much of what is commonly referred to as "racism" is actually ethnocentricism.

And the most disgustingly prejudiced, ethnocentric people in this country are part-Maori who have raised up one group of ancestors while trampling down another to identify monoculturally as "Maori," chopping whole branches out of their family trees in order to do so.

Those who believe in a single standard of citizenship, colourblind government, and the abolition of unearned privileges for part-Maori are the complete opposite of their ethnocentric opponents.

But the actual racists have carried out a clever "bait and switch,” and conned the liberals seeking public virtue-signalling and moral preening opportunities into accepting their redefinition.

As black American political economist, Thomas Sowell, reminds us: "Sixty years ago if you believed everybody should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, you were a radical. Thirty years ago, you were a liberal. Today, you're a 'racist.'”

Racism is a different beast altogether. It occurs where a group of prejudiced, ethnocentric individuals get together to colonise or create a system affording them separate, different, or superior rights to everyone else on the basis of group membership.

Anonymous said...

In a free society all citizens enjoy individual equality in citizenship. This is so whether some of a citizen’s ancestors arrived in a canoe in 1350, a sailing vessel in 1850, an ocean liner in 1950, or more recently by airliner. Even someone who put his hand up 30 seconds ago at a swearing-in ceremony is entitled to all the rights of citizenship. Prior arrival or ancestral longevity in the land is no basis for special privilege.

Group rights are anathema to a free society. They create two classes of citizenship where only one existed before. Group rights require the intervention of an activist government forcibly taking rights from one group to bestow upon another. As Richard Prebble reminds us: “One group’s positive discrimination is another group’s negative discrimination.”

In Preferential Policies: An International Perspective, Thomas Sowell records the downstream effect of government-sponsored identity politics. Touted as promoting inter-group harmony, Sowell found that wherever such policies had been tried, they invariably expanded over time in scale and scope, benefited already advantaged members of the preference group (those with the smarts to work the system), and led to increased rather than decreased inter-group polarisation. In many places they have brought about decades-long civil wars.

Of course, any downstream proposal that the beneficiaries of state-sponsored identity politics revert to being treated the same as everyone else will make such groups squeal like stuck pigs. As Thomas Sowell reminds us: “When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.'

I will leave it to readers to determine whether New Zealand is a racist country, and if so, in whose favour this racism operates.