Friday, May 17, 2024

Gerry Eckhoff: Metiria Turei’s column

Most will still remember Metiria Stanton Turei as a former green Party leader who resigned from parliament due to telling porkies to receive higher payments from the Ministry of Social Development. Some might suggest it is  something of an unnatural progression to now lecture in law at Otago law School and  is a regular columnist in the Otago Daily Times.   

We should all express a vote of thanks to Metiria Turei for her commentary in the ODT 19th April. In her opinion piece on discrimination against Maori,  Ms Turei illustrates wonderfully well  just how correct one of the world greatest thinkers - Tom Sowell is with his  observation, that “people who have been placed in a privileged position for a period of time, see any withdrawal of privilege as discrimination”

Barriers to Maori representation in local government had been dismantled by the previous Government  she  breathlessly exclaims  and have now been replaced by the old law which requires a council to hold a binding referendum if Maori wards are to be implemented. Please remind us all, Ms Turei - which particular barriers do you refer to  that precludes Maori from being elected to Local Government?

It may well be of interest to Ms Turei that some Maori men were entitled to vote as early as 1853, and all Māori men in 1867. Maori men  were entitled to vote as communal landowners,  unlike Europeans who needed (at that time ) to hold land as individuals before being eligible to vote. This was 12 years before  all men of European heritage  were allowed the vote as they were not landowners. Maori were given four wards as the Crown was very keen to reward the Māori tribes who fought alongside the Crown in the 1860s New Zealand wars.   All Maori men  were entitled to vote as communal landowners,  unlike Europeans who needed (at that time ) to hold land as individuals before being eligible to vote. Fast forward to recent events.

 In 2021 the then Labour Government decided  to change the law that specifically required a referendum to allow for the creation of new Maori wards. Under the Ardern  labour Government, Maori wards could be created as of right by a simple majority  decision of councillors,  The Labour government - fully supported by the Greens, publicly notified the proposal that no referendum was to be  necessary if councils alone thought it was appropriate to have Maori wards.   So, in 2022 the law  was changed to allow councils to unilaterally create Maori wards . The new National led government wants to revert back to a referendum process before any new exclusive wards can be created -  which most would see as democracy in action. It is that process  to which Ms Turei  strenuously objects.

 Ms Turei refers to the old law as racist; possibly because  it treated all races equally. Her account of why the law was changed  recently is disingenuous. The creation of new Local Government wards has always been based on population growth in an  attempt to balance out the number of representatives  deemed to be needed in a given area. The growth of Queenstown, Wanaka ,Cromwell for example has been exponential  compared to the towns of  Balclutha, Clinton and Milton so it is reasonable to assume the number of existing representatives, requires to be adjusted  from time to time to reflect that reality. In no way does the ethnicity of council members have any relevance in their ability to stand and be elected. Dunedin has in recent times had successful mayors of Indian and  Chinese  heritage along with Pacific Island  councillors who don’t seem to find the barriers  that Ms Turia finds lurking in every corridor of local authorities. Having one vote does not appear to be a problem to any one with the exception of Ms Turei  who appears to forget that she was elected to parliament under the Green banner and not the Maori party  who exclusively benefit from designated seats.  

There is also the long standing problem of what is euphemistically called  consultation  by councils or indeed by government concerning representation on councils and most other issues. Consultation is now generally accepted as simply councils or political party’s  displaying their wares ; it’s called window dressing with no price tag displayed.  Sometimes with the occasional dummy or two on display  as well.

Ms Turei is entirely correct in her statement that “legislation that intentionally discriminates a specific group of people based on their ethnicity is racist”. That same principle unequivocally applies also to any privilege being entrenched, based on race.

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


Anonymous said...

No one with a brain cell connected to reality should listen let alone believe what Ms Turei has to say about anything.

This person stole from the MSD, period.

People have been jailed for the exact same thing she did, period.

This person is not a fit person for either the role she had nor the role she now fills.

I feel very sorry for the poor students whose lectures she gives that they have to take.

Anonymous said...

Māori Wards were created at the behest of N Mahuta when a member of the Labour government. The same Mahuta who chose to ignore the 87,000 individuals who made submissions to her bill on 3 Waters. I would want this on my CV.

hughvane said...

They, the more recently-defined 'elite', breathe different air.

Anonymous said...

Thomas Sowell - truly a legend. Metiria Tureri is the antithesis, and not one worthy to read about or follow.

Another great saying of Sowell's: "A society that puts equality — in the sense of equality of outcome — ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.

And to relay what someone told him which also seems apt: "Give a man a fish and he will ask for tartar sauce and French fries! Moreover, some politician who wants his vote will declare all these things to be among his 'basic rights'"

Anonymous said...

“Racism occurs wherever a group of people with an ethnocentric membership base creates or colonises a system to afford themselves separate, different, or superior rights on the basis of group membership”—Peter Hemmingson

Anonymous said...

“People tend to emphasise the colour of their skin when the content of their character is singularly lacking”—Peter Hemmingson

Anonymous said...

Turek didn't tell "porkies" she told lies.