A good piece on Newsroom - What’s the rush? Law making in a hurry - deals with the governments use of urgency and specifically around the change to Māori wards for councils.
I am “for” the change only on the basis that it’s an anomaly. It’s the only thing a council does that you can rummage up some signatures by way of a petition and force a vote on their decision. The fact you have been able to, as it turns out, is very valuable - back to that in a moment.
But, given its unique, it’s therefore to some degree unfair, and that is the government’s argument for changing it.
It’s a dishonest argument of course even though it’s technically correct. It’s an argument of convenience.
They are really doing it because they want more Māori around council tables and democracy hasn’t worked, so they are gerrymandering the system to suit their cause.
The really egregious part of the move is that the Labour Party didn’t talk about it in the election, and there is a reason for that.
They knew full well what sort of reaction they would get.
So that is a case of fundamental political dishonesty for the most open honest and transparent government. It’s yet another example of what a joke that line really always was.
But back to the value of referenda. What we have been able to glean from those votes is almost universally people don’t want specific Māori wards.
Nothing to do with racism, because the beauty of democracy - free and open democracy - is anyone can stand for a seat, a ward, a council, a committee, a board.
Race is not an impediment to electoral success or voter support. Statement of fact. You want to stand, stand, nothing is stopping you.
The fact Māori don’t or haven’t is not the voters problem. The fact they’re not always elected because they don’t stand in large swathes is not the voter’s problem either.
The voter votes for the people with their hand up.
So by promoting Māori wards, councils, we know from the ensuing referenda, are acting against the will of the community.
And in then voting to not have a vote on the matter, which many a council has done, they are further acting against the will of the local community, and that has been the value of the law to this point.
You have tangible examples of what the council do vs what the people think. But you can forget all that, because central government, driven by colonial guilt and politically correct ideology, is putting all that to an end.
And they’re doing it has fast as they can have not whispered a word about it. Classy.
Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings.
Based on the official statistics, about 13.7% of local councillors identify as Maori. The Maori adult population is about 13.5% of the NZ population. Perfect representation at local level, no under-representation, no racism preventing Maori getting elected. At national level about 20% of MPs identify as Maori. Over-representation, but that's fine because apart from the Maori seats most got elected by the general electorate.
There is no case for Maori wards on local councils. It is a myth that Maori are under-represented. The real reason this is being pursued with indecent haste and as little media coverage as possible is that it's about guaranteeing left wing seats on councils and allowing a small percentage of the population a guaranteed position. The number of Maori wards is already being bid up by Maori activist groups who, pretending that they are "in partnership" with the Crown, think this entitles them to 50% of all council positions eventually.
Where are the guaranteed seats for Indians, Chinese, Pacifika, and yes, white Europeans...you won't see those because only Maori deserve special treatment. But Maori are already doing fine in this area. This is only going to make NZ a more racially divided country and set the whole racism debate backwards.
The Government buried this issue when they put Auckland into lockdown. I read there were a staggering amount of submissions in that appallingly tight 2 day submission window. Thanks for breathing some life back into this, Mike. Regardless of the issue of the actual wards, this is corrupt politics and all the media outlets that haven't called Labour out are complicit in this corruption. Labour went into a general elections hiding policies they thought would lose votes.
Whether or not we believe in Maori wards is irrelevant to some extent, the real issue is absolute abuse of the democratic process.
Removing the right of citizens to challenge decisions of those who consider themselves to be worthy rulers is a sad commentary of where we are at. As Mahuta said, we can exercise our displeasure or otherwise every three years. By then of course it will be too late. The sooner Maori realise that every move they make to gain preference over everyone else only fuels the increasing divide between Maori and other races.
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