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Friday, February 19, 2021

Frank Newman: The future of local government

 

The Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Bill has not even passed into law yet and Māori are calling for the number of Māori seats on local councils to be increased.

The Northland Regional Council's Te Tai Tokerau Māori and Council Working Party says the Regional Council should not have not one but three seats on the Council, and that "would be a good start on a journey of incremental change", says the group co-chairman Pita Tipene as reported in the Northern Age (18 February). These are seats reserved for Māori, elected only by Māori.

If it is the start on a journey of incremental change then the Northland Regional Council should tell citizens where that journey will end. It's important, because the public should know, they deserve to know, and it's their right to know.

Without clarity we can only speculate how many seats Māori activists would be satisfied with. What we do know is that Māori advocates will not stop and one, two, or three seats on local councils. Pita Tipene and others have said that. There is already growing commentary from pro-Māori ward supporters wanting half the seats because, they say, Māori are treaty partners.

Our local councillors should be upfront if they share that view, and they should be up front about the implications. To date our mayors and councillors have said nothing or very little. 

This is what we do know about the Māori seats. They will be for Māori only; elected by those on the Māori Roll (about half of Māori are registered on the Māori Roll).

We know that Māori who stand in a general ward have a good chance of being elected. Currently 13.5 per cent of local body councillors identify as being Māori, which is consistent with the 2018 census showing Māori as 13.7 per cent of the adult population.

We therefore know those with iwi affiliation will occupy all of the Māori seats and most likely some of the general seats; and there will be some councillors who do not have iwi affiliations but nevertheless take a view favourable to Māori.

Under a 50:50 "partnership" model Maori will have effective control over billions of dollars worth of public assets, hundreds of millions of dollars of annual rating revenue, and all of the decision making powers of their local authority. That includes the power to set differential rating, write planning rules, allocate grants, set tendering policies and select contractors, prioritise the works programme and set the capital spending budget, council's staffing policy, and so on.

A person would have to very naive or myopic not to be concerned that this is not going to end well for anyone other than Māori. What's worse, those on the general roll, who will potentially be most adversely affected, will be powerless to do anything about it. They will not be able to vote the Māori ward councillors out of office because only those on the Māori roll vote them in.

Is this the pathway that Pita Tipene refers to when he says we are on the journey of incremental change? Is this the pathway the Northland Regional Council, and the other councils proposing Māori wards, are taking us down?

The Northland Regional Council concluded its submission to Parliament on The Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Bill with the following:

Kua tawhiti kē tō haerenga mai, kia kore e haere tonu. He tino nui rawa o ōu mahi, kia kore e mahi nui tonu.

You have come too far, not to go further. You have done too much, not to do more.

Tā Hemi Henare (Ngāti Hine, 1989)

It's time councillors broke their silence and addressed the concerns of the many thousands of people who signed the petitions calling on the councils to hold a binding referendum about Māori wards. People have a right to know which garden path they are being led down.

Frank Newman, a writer and investment analyst, is a former local body councillor.


4 comments:

DeeM said...

This has been blatantly obvious from the start. I thought it would have taken Maori longer to get their act together, bearing in mind they find it hard to agree on anything amongst themselves. This is so much of a no-brainer that it has overcome the usual infighting and procrastination.

Maori Path to Power
1/ Claim "partnership" with the Crown in TOW
2/ Enact new legislation to guarantee Maori wards on local councils
3/ Demand as many wards as you can get then keep demanding more until you get 50% power share
4/ Take over all councils in NZ and rort the ratepayers by favouring Maori in all things while paying a minor share of the rates
5/ Transfer this model to parliament and demand 50% of power sharing
6/ Rort the ratepayers again but this time by using their taxes to favour all things Maori

Luckily, Her Royal Kindness Jacinda said she was going to rule for ALL New Zealanders so surely this can't happen. Oh shit! - she's already backing 1 and 2 so it's highly likely the whole plan is already approved by cabinet. When she made her election night promise there were clearly Ts & Cs attached - your ancestors had to be resident here prior to 1769!
I fear that if the public don't wake up to this by the next election it will be too late to foil the plan.

Robert Arthur said...

Has anything along the lines of Frank's comments appeared in the msm?
I am further concerned that Ward members will waste Council time with mana seeking attention grabbing theatre as demonstrated by Waititi in parliament.

Anonymous said...

Nowhere in the Treaty of Waitangi are the words "partnership" or "treaty partner" written. So how come that we now have reached a situation that Maori believe they are partners. The Chiefs who signed either the original Maori version or the English translated version did so as "signatories" and not as "treaty partners."

The whole Treaty of Waitangi analysis and ongoing gravy train continues to get out of hand and vastly expensive. It's never-ending and it's about time for the Government to finally say that enough is enough.

New Zealand does not need Maori protected seats in the Parliament and we certainly don't need protected Maori Ward seats on local bodies. This is reverse racism. Maori are well represented in the Parliament having been elected in electorates and are represented on local body councils, Hospital Boards, and other elected authorities where they have chosen to stand. New Zealand does not have protected seats for any other ethnicities and nor should it. We are supposedly "one people" and that's the way it should stay.

It's time to recognise the Treaty of Waitangi for what it is; a historical document written for the times and specific purpose's in 1840. New Zealand has Acts, laws, and legislation that have replaced the vernacular of the original treaty and which apply to all who reside in New Zealand. Time to move on and unite as one people.


Anonymous said...

I spent a couple of hours last night watching this Bill being debated in Parliament. What a farce. Every amendment to the Bill was blocked by the Labour/ Green/ Maori Party majority. In some instances the Labour Speaker would not even allow discussion.
I fear for New Zealand as every day we head to towards Apartheid. I am yet to figure out how a 1/8th Maori can ignore their 7/8th Pakeha and choose to be on the Maori Roll. Oh I get it - it's all about GREED - not NEED.