I wish to add another which is the most common reason advanced by supporters of this racist legislation in our neck of the woods here on the Coast.
They say that the existing ward system that caters for other “special interest” groups within the electorate. For instance rural communities have been part of the establishment for a long time but this same opportunity for special representation has not been offered to Maori until now - which is true.
However, when debating this apparent contradiction, the supporters of the new legislation conveniently fail to point out that acknowledgement of the existing special interest groups has remained at the discretion of the Local Government Commission which is required to review their status along with all the other existing wards that make up the local authority representation mix every six years.
A couple of years ago, I was part of a delegation of rural ratepayers who challenged the local Council’s resolution to effectively do away with all the rural wards in exchange for a Council with no special interest group representatives.
It is worth noting that, at the time (less than three years ago), there was no suggestion that Rural Wards should be replaced by Maori Wards - l guess they realised that you need to be consistent when arguing against the need for special interest groups on the basis that their needs are capable of being well served by a neutral group of Councillors elected by and dedicated to represent us all.
In the event our challenge was successful although the Commission did reduce the number of rural wards from six to four. In other words, the Commission agreed with our submissions that the rural folk were a special case and could only get satisfactory representation at the Council table via the existence of councillors who have responsibilities to understand and look after our special needs.
Ironically our historical justification for special representation is the same one being used by the Local Councils wanting to introduce Maori Wards, who support Central Government‘s drafting law that will ensure the introduction of race based representation.
The only difference is that the introduced legislation that guarantees this gerrymandered advantage will not be subject to scrutiny by the Commission at any stage in the future. Had it included a clause that would guarantee this appeal process, l imagine it would not have provoked the protest that is only beginning to gain momentum. Unfortunately, it will be imposed on our community with no right for anyone to challenge its legality, either on the basis of fairness, morality or any of the other criteria normally used to decide whether it is good law wherever it operates.
I don’t know of any legislation on the statute books that has been crafted with such Machiavellian intent.
We have been betrayed by our own kind - by that, l mean the Pakehas who have sold us out. They may be looking for a new job next election. Bring it on.
Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.