Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Gerry Eckhoff: Different votes for Different Folks

The expression, “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war”, penned by the greatest of them all -Shakespeare -  usually refers to the political and societal restraints being unleashed to operate against a civil society, often in times of peace. Vladimir Putin, who clawed his way to power has literally unleashed his dogs of war against the people of Ukraine in the worst way imaginable.

Here in New Zealand our PM has more overtly let slip the collar of those who very aggressively support the creation of an indigenous minority government, led by something similar to that which is characterized by the current Maori Labour caucus.

Unearned entitlement - little by little, Prime Minister Ardern (or should that be comrade PM) seeks to impose change that will remove true representative democracy in favour of her desire to see an authoritarian minority Government; and all in the name of something called fairness and equity. No surprise there. It will result in a government that will constantly undermine our democracy.

Our system of government and way of life has enabled these few islands in the South Pacific to join other first world countries instead of languishing as a third world country where tribalism and chieftainship prevail. To stand against such a process is to invite false charges of racism which the left use as the last refuge of a failed ideology. There will always be those who promote their own sense of superiority by demonising and denouncing others as racist.

If there is still any doubt anywhere as to whether co governance could work - even at a local level - we need look no further than the Dunedin City Council. Over the years, Ngai Tahu have earned the reputation of operating as a very successful organisation whilst keeping somewhat aloof from the radical demands of many North Island Maori elite. Two Ngai Tahu representatives were appointed to council’s all-important infrastructure committee of the DCC to accommodate some obscure clause of the now trendy - Treaty of Waitangi. The two Ngai Tahu representatives promptly accused the majority of council of window dressing in its commitment to Maori as council decided to throw its support behind thirty other councils who oppose the three waters proposals.  Ngai Tahu then suspended their “partnership” involvement with council.

Nobody has yet explained exactly what share of the so-called “partnership” belongs where. Is it a 50-50 partnership - a 75% -25% or a partnership based only on the ethnic population of Maori in Otago? The rest of us need to know this new reality if indeed reality really does exist in the DCC which in itself is a problematic assumption. If Ngai Tahu have a vested or predetermined interest in water for example - should they not excuse themselves before any vote occurs as all others around the council must declare? Different votes for different folks it seems.

Apparently, Ngai Tahu await the council’s tangible commitment to a “genuine partnership” before re-joining the forum. Translated into plain English - that means the council must always vote the way Ngai Tahu want them to. It gets worse, as by walking away from the council table - no further council projects (13 of them) can proceed - according to one Ms Sandy Graham, the CEO of the Dunedin City Council. This effectively means Maori all over the country have the power of veto in Local Government.

The Mayor of Dunedin (who is yet to get a driver’s license) - a vocal Green advocate - has the answer. He has forwarded a notice of motion to be debated in a few days’ time to revoke the earlier decision on the three waters, made just a few days ago.

So, there you have it. Our systems of democratic government are already on the way out, aided and abetted by the current actors within Government and local Government. We should never believe that our current representatives are dedicated to preserving let alone enhancing our freedoms.

As a foot note -  the DCC have announced the result of the latest vote which has reversed their earlier decision to join the anti Three Waters councils. The delay has allowed the Green and Labour representatives on the DCC to convince the fence sitters to change their vote in favour of the government's position. 

Gerry Eckhoff is a former councillor on the Otago Regional Council and MP.

No comments: