Maori Seats look set for a no

August 24th, 2009 at 9:35 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Cabinet is expected to reject on the Auckland Super City council today.

This is no real surprise. It is in line with National’s long standing policy, and the Government’s initial decision.

Blair M in comments in a previous thread suggested as a compromise a non-voting Councillor, and this is an option which I think could have been worth pursuing, and might even have application for local bodies beyond Auckland.

The Royal Commission proposed three Maori seats – two from voters on the Maori electoral roll and one appointed by – the local effectively.

Now I have never been a fan of separate electoral rolls, despite the good intentions of those who back them. I think it is unhealthy long-term to have New Zealanders divided up into those with some Maori ancestry (no matter how small) and those without. Especially as long-term over a quarter of New Zealanders will have some Maori ancestry. It becomes arbitrary. And long-term I fear we end up like Fiji with the population split 50/50 and divided on our differences instead of united.

The idea of mana whenua representation on the holds greater appeal to me (and to the Maori Party it seems). Iwi are permanent entities that have historical and ongoing legitimate interest in what happens on their traditional lands. They do have legal rights under the common law, let alone any moral obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi.

However allowing Iwi to appoint a voting Councillor runs contrary to democratic principles. You may have half a dozen Kaumata deciding on a Councillor who gets the same voting power as someone elected by 80,000 people. So I can’t support a voting mana whenua Councillor.

The compromise which I think would have been worth pursuing is the idea that local Iwi within a Council’s area can appoint a non voting Councillor. The Councillor has all the same rights as an elected Councillor – attend all meetings, speak on any issue, be paid a salary, request information from management – but in the (hopefully) relatively rare cases where there is a partisan vote split, they would not have a vote.

The members of the Iwi would have their voting represention done through the elected Councillors (whom they vote for like everyone else), but the Iwi as a whole would have the ability to have a voice at Council (not buried in a seperate Committee) to protect their interests as the original mana whenua.

One of the issues New Zealand has never really grappled with, is the constitutional relationship between Iwi and the Crown. It seems to me the idea of allowing each Iwi to appoint a non-voting Councillor onto their local authority could be a significant step forward.

Where a local authority has more than say three local Iwi, then perhaps you would require the Iwi to select just three representatives between themselves (or even two). So if there are two local Iwi, they each appoint a non voting Councillor. If there were six local Iwi, they would decide amongt themselves on two or three non voting Councillors.

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39 Responses to “Maori Seats look set for a no”

  1. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    This will be a retrograde decision and I cannot see how the Maori Party can remain in coalition with National. They are opening themselves up the the allegation that they were there for the limos and that they would sacrifice principle for personal benefit.

    It will be interesting to see how Key handles this. His normal attempt to straddle both sides of the issue will not work this time.

    [DPF: For some strange reason the Maori Party prefer to make their own decisions on what is best for them, rather than let Labour Party activists tell them what to do]

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  2. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    Eric Crampton has a very insightful post on this issue. Citing overseas research he concludes Maori seats may not be any help to Maori.

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  3. Sushi Goblin (419 comments) says:

    A Maori non-voting councillor?

    Wouldn’t that send the message that they were second class citizens? And wouldn’t it seem rather patronising?

    It sounds a bit suspect to me.

    Why not just have one rule for all and patiently explain that the whole point behind the treaty of Waitangi was that Maori would be guaranteed the same protections and rights under law as British subjects.

    [DPF: No it is not a Maori non voting Councillor. Any Maori elected to Council are voting Councillors. It would be a mana whenua or Iwi appointed representative with no voting rights. They might appoint their Accountant to the role (who might be Pakeha). It is about recognising that Iwi do have common law rights in their traditional land area]

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  4. Inventory2 (10,104 comments) says:

    mickysavage – two points – the Maori Party is NOT in coalition with National, so you are factually incorrect. Secondly, Tariana Turia has said that the MP will be disappointed if there are no Maori seats, but they will not chuck their toys and walk.

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  5. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Maori seats on Councils are an idiotic idea. It’s bad enough in Parliament but would be much worse at lower levels of the bureaucracy where the disiinfecting sunlight of media exposure is much less.

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  6. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,797 comments) says:

    It would be sooooooo nice if everyone found something else to talk about and left these decisions to those of us who are rate payers in the Auckland metro area.

    [DPF: My suggestions are for all local bodies, not just Auckland]

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  7. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    No apartheid seats. All/any representation derived from democratic elections. Such representation will fairly reflect the needs, concerns, aspirations and preferences of those that choose to vote. Job done.

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  8. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    Adolf, That’s a bit prickly isn’t it? Are you saying that you’ve never had any interest in, or opinion about events in other regions?

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  9. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Adolf, there are plenty of Auckland ratepayers who don’t get a vote in Auckland now because they don’t live there.

    Perhaps they should be the ones to get representation?

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  10. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    Inventory2

    You are right. I should have said “I cannot see how the Maori Party can continue to provide support to National”.

    I note that Turia has said they will not “throw their toys out of the cot”. It makes me wonder how far they will be pushed however. Local Maori will be extremely disappointed if the Maori Party do not take a tougher line.

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  11. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    No I disagree with you DPF, it isn’t complex.
    The treaty is old news and between the crown (UK) and Maori.
    One law for all for all who live in NZ and are citizens.

    All of us who carry the passport are citizens not matter when our parents got here or what mode of transport.
    That is why I object to the Indigenous Peoples Treay at the UN too, as it encourages “self determination” over National sovereignty.
    Even Helen Clark saw through that one.

    We are all Kiwis if we carry the passport.
    Any thing else is racist and unacceptable.
    It’s dhimmitude to the Maori by stealth.

    Hell while we’re at it lets make all govt posts over a certain level only avail for Kiwis.
    No free health or school for non citizens (not permanent residents).

    [DPF: So you are saying that when we accept people for permanent residence, we should bar them from health and education services until they have been here for three years?]

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  12. Angus (536 comments) says:

    NZ will never ever be able to pull itself out of this separatist mindset as long as there are political parties based on race (mixed race at that).

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  13. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    “Local Maori will be extremely disappointed if the Maori Party do not take a tougher line.”

    B.s. A few activists will make a lot of noise. The average Maori won’t give a toss.

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  14. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Alan
    if you pay rates in Auckland but don’t live there you should get a vote surely?

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  15. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    it is a done deal..there will be no maori seats..

    ..hide would not have walked from his quarter of a mill job..

    ..so he already knew the deal was done..

    ..when he issued his (posturing) threat..

    sharples was just on nat-rad..

    ..and he was talking like a man staring defeat in the face..

    ..and he said that he was not threatening to throw his toys..and walk..

    ..but that decisions on that would be made after any decision was made..

    ..if hide was hoping to hive the maori party away from national..

    ..(and thus make himself essential..to key..)

    ..he would appear to have succeeded..

    ..if key just turns his back on these maori aspirations..

    ..he can kiss the maori party/maori support .. goodbye..

    ..(wither ‘mana/respect’..?..eh..?..)

    and that makes the political picture more interesting..

    ..and could well lead to this govt. lurching further to the right..

    ..and key is silly really..w.t.f. can act..on 1%..bring to him/give him..in the long term..?

    ..as opposed to a close relationship with the maori party..

    ..of course..if the destruction of the maori party is the ultimate end/game..

    ..that is also moving apace..

    ..an empty-handeded maori party…(save some ‘token’ gestures)..

    ..will guarantee maori party voters return in droves to labour..

    ..and this could well see the maori party wiped out..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  16. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    DPF
    Yes
    We took out health insurance when we got here and had to sign with internal affairs that we wouldn’t claim the dole for 2yrs.
    If our employers had wanted us they could have paid the schooling which is about $3000 per bum pa, it could have been part of our package.

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  17. RightNow (6,669 comments) says:

    phlu, first ACT won’t be on 1% for long after Key’s reaction to the referendum. Second it’s about time National lurched to the right. Third I don’t believe having Maori seats is that big an issue for the Maori party. Calling them ‘aspirations’ is a bit like you aspiring to a pay rise – something extra that you don’t have to work for. Maori can have equal representation in any setting if they get enough votes, they just need to field quality candidates. In the long run it’s a better way forward than having set seats, since it means they actually have to work on behalf of the people they represent. The alternative is called a sinecure, and only leads to further ‘entitlement’ without responsibility.

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  18. KiwiTawa (2 comments) says:

    Sense prevails. There is no need for Maori seats in an Auckland City Council or any other council. There is no need for Maori seats at all.

    This decision, if reports are correct, will bolster National’s and ACT’s positions in the polls. It may even help ACT get above the 1% mark.

    And, the Maori Party? Well, nice to have their support, but not needed to keep things moving in the right direction.

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  19. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    ..will guarantee maori party voters return in droves to labour..

    Somehow I doubt they have forgotten about the Forshore and Seabed Act yet.

    It would be foolish for the Maori party to be prepared to die in a ditch for a few seats on the Auckland council. There are plenty of bigger fish to fry, and according to your old dear leader Labour dont want to stump up for cab fare – best that Turia and Sharples stick with someone that can help advance their agenda.

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  20. big bruv (13,312 comments) says:

    micky

    Maori will put up with it until about six months prior to the next election when they will engineer a split from the Nat’s, this will leave them free to campaign as normal and appeal to their more racist and separatist supporters.

    The fly in the ointment may well be John Harawhira, keeping John in line will be a test of Sharples and Turia’s leadership

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  21. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..phlu, first ACT won’t be on 1% for long after Key’s reaction to the referendum. ..”..

    really..?..those people/the smackers are going to flock to act..eh..?

    “..Second it’s about time National lurched to the right. ..”

    Third I don’t believe having Maori seats is that big an issue for the Maori party…”

    really..?..given the hikoi..and all..you reckon maori/the maori party will be ‘sweet’..eh..?

    good luck with that one..eh..?

    ” Calling them ‘aspirations’ is a bit like you aspiring to a pay rise – something extra that you don’t have to work for… Maori can have equal representation in any setting if they get enough votes, they just need to field quality candidates…”

    really…?..being the minority in a racist culture..means nought..?

    “.. In the long run it’s a better way forward than having set seats, since it means they actually have to work on behalf of the people they represent. The alternative is called a sinecure, and only leads to further ‘entitlement’ without responsibility..”

    really..?..some would call it blatant/permanent exclusion from the corridors of power..(sub-section:local level..)

    ..eh..?

    and believe me..maori are going to be really pissed off..

    ..how could they not be..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  22. rochellerees (22 comments) says:

    B.s. A few activists will make a lot of noise. The average Maori won’t give a toss.

    So those thousands on the hikoi weren’t average Maori?

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  23. RightNow (6,669 comments) says:

    Here’s your answers phlu:

    really..?

    Yes, really.

    really..?

    Yes, really.

    really…?

    Yes, really

    really..?

    Yes, really.

    really..?

    Yes, really.

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  24. lilman (892 comments) says:

    Dress it up anyway you want this is racism,pure and simple.
    If there was a proposal for white only seats or asian or american people to hold special seat it would get the same outcome.
    Racism,if you dont get that then you need to look in the dictionary.
    What I fail to comprehend is that with the maori voting block that so desperately wants a place at the table,why dont they organize and put up a candidate,endorse him and vote for him, thats democracy,then process has been followed and the reality is that most people I know dont care who or what they maybe racially ,the main consideration is the ability to do the job, and that would be the way my vote would be awarded.
    Its there, you just have to get off your arses and take it and on they way garner respect through endeavour,not through expectation.

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  25. Mr Nobody NZ (397 comments) says:

    Personally I’m tired all the various Treaty of Waitangi issues (the Auckland Council seats included). There is however a very easy way for them all to go away by Government simply recognising the fact that due to the multicultural nature of this country, inter-marriage and the cross assimilation of cultures Maori is now the default race of all New Zealand Citizens.

    As a result all New Zealand citizens will be transferred onto the Maori Electoral Roll and given Iwi status base on the geographical location of their residency as of 01/01/2012. Anybody who doesn’t want to be placed on this roll will have the opportunity to transfer onto the Pakeha roll once every 4 years however those on Maori roll will be eligible to claim all benefits/share of settlements/education grants and quota’s (past and future). In one single instant every New Zealander would have a vested interest in ensuring the preservation of Maoridom.

    If the government won’t do this then do it yourself by signing up to the Maori Roll in 2012.

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  26. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    rochellerees: “o those thousands on the hikoi weren’t average Maori?”

    Of course not. Probably mostly bused in for the day like their MPs who attended, Jones and Horomia, who don’t live in Auckland.

    I guess there are 200,000 or more Maori in Auckland by estimates of population percentages. The hikoi comprised 3% of that number.

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  27. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    and for many of us..this screwing of the maori party/maori aspirations by the tories..

    ..wasn’t a matter of if..

    ..but when..?

    (i have to say..it’s happened sooner than i expected..tho’..)

    and of course hide..with his ‘look at me keeping the maari in line..!’ posturing..

    ..has his eyes firmly fixed on his seat..

    ..the uber-white/reactionary epsom..

    ..that message will be going down a treat here…

    ..in that lsuburb of twitching white lace curtains..

    ..(you don’t see many ‘coloured folks’ there..eh..?..

    ..and they want to keep it that way..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  28. RightNow (6,669 comments) says:

    Is it because I prefer a culture of responsibility rather than a culture of entitlement that I don’t get the perspectives of Rochelle Rees, Mickey Savage and the convicted armed robber stoner bludger guy?
    Yes lots of people marched in the hikoi. Great, translate that into votes for Maori candidates, no problem.
    In a democracy where everyone is equal (which I think is the sort I like best) there is no-one stopping Maori fielding candidates and no-one stopping Maori from campaigning for those candidates.

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  29. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    good ‘evasion’ there..rightnow..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  30. Inventory2 (10,104 comments) says:

    @ rochellerees – I venture to suggest that most “average Maori” would actually identify with Shane Jones and Parekura Horomia who, if you recall, took “time out” from the Hikoi to visit the Queen Street Maccas for a kai ;-)

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  31. RightNow (6,669 comments) says:

    phlu, I said, “Maori can have equal representation in any setting if they get enough votes, they just need to field quality candidates”
    you said “some would call it blatant/permanent exclusion from the corridors of power”.

    It seems the ‘some’ you speak of are actually ‘few’.

    “Few would call it blatant/permanant exclusion from the corridors of power”. Yes, that about sums it up.

    It’s a democracy phlu, stand for election, get enough votes, get elected. Are you telling me that Maori won’t vote for Maori candidates? It makes a mockery of the argument for dedicated Maori seats if that’s the case.

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  32. backster (2,081 comments) says:

    MR NOBODY…..Go to top of class…..DPF…I can’t see any merit in your compromise, its the thin edge of the wedge, if Maori as a group wish to advance an issue with Council they can follow the same procedure as all other people and groups, there should be no special people under a National Administration. The Government focus is on the financial mess they inherited and how to recover from the recession. The reform of Auckland Local Bodies is part of that and to be sidetracked into a prolonged Race debate would be counter productive.

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  33. rochellerees (22 comments) says:

    Is it because I prefer a culture of responsibility rather than a culture of entitlement that I don’t get the perspectives of Rochelle Rees, Mickey Savage and the convicted armed robber stoner bludger guy?

    I haven’t even said what my perspective is other than that I think most Maori on the hikoi were “average Maori”.

    Actually, my views on this are similar to DPF. I don’t see any place for separate general Maori seats on local body councils (though I do still support them in parliament). I do however see a place for Mana Whenua seats, because it recognises the rights of the original occupants / Tangata Whenua of Auckland. The reality is Maori didn’t sell or give away the majority of their land, it was taken under the “waste lands” policy – a policy which if in force today should realistically allow any foreigner to come in and take away any land not currently occupied by anyone (regardless of whether any one has an interest in it). Also unlike what some have asserted, while the Treaty did give the Crown rights of governance (kawanatanga), the Maori version included the Crown reaffirming Maori’s continued Tino Rangatiratanga (absolute independence) of chiefs over Whenua (land), Kainga (villages), and Taonga Katoa (treasures and the Maori way of life).

    I’m not advocating anything radical, just that Mana Whenua should have a place reserved for them at the table, so that Tikanga is taken into account, and Mana Whenua get a say in matters affecting their interests. While I would prefer those seats to have voting rights on the basis that it would encourage real consultation from other councilors, perhaps what DPF is advocating would at least be a valid compromise.

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  34. Paulus (2,503 comments) says:

    Environment Bay of Plenty has non elected Maori members as of right. Could new Auckland be a catalyst for national change.

    No seats without election – one vote one people. Why not stand like any ordinary citizen. Maori should get their act together. Is a Maori not a citizen of New Zealand? I bet the other ethnic in the Auckland communities will stand their candidates.

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  35. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    As long as we have Maori seats as the ‘right of Maori’ in our parliament then there will ALWAYS be a cry for ‘Maori representation’ on any/all elected bodies. Whether that be the Auckland Supercity or whatever. Assuming Key rejects the Maori seats in the ‘Supercity’, then perhaps this will be a vehicle to also remove Maori seats in parliament. The removal of parliament Maori seats was certainly part of his ‘talk’ prior to National becoming the government. Time will tell.

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  36. paradigm (507 comments) says:

    Complaints that ACT is the “tail is wagging the dog” are utter ignorance and spin.

    The reality is that most decisions have to either go one way or another; a partial compromise is either inefficient, or impossible. Minor parties generally get their way on one or two issues; the majority are determined by the major party.

    Did act get their way at budget? LOL no. Tax cuts cancelled in favour of retaining welfare/high government involvement in all areas.

    Count up the total number of issues National/Key got their way on, compare with number of issues Act it getting its way on. Its probably roughly equivalent to the comparative number of seats each holds, if not biased pro-National.

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  37. gopolks (102 comments) says:

    Happens all over the world, every study shows the same thing, when ever their is race based seats, it doesnt end up helping the race it was set up to help.

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  38. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    “Blair M in comments in a previous thread suggested as a compromise a non-voting Councillor, and this is an option which I think could have been worth pursuing, and might even have application for local bodies beyond Auckland.”

    I think it’s a fairly safe bet that this would lead to full voting rights in the future.
    They’re the same as everyone else. Stand and be elected like everyone else

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  39. Banana Llama (1,105 comments) says:

    Interesting interview on Cambel live, apparently the spokesman for Maori seats thinks democracy isn’t working for his people so it is best to get rid of it and it will only be a matter of time before Maori subvert the democratic process, wonder why they have a hard time getting elected in the first place?

    I look forwards to the reality check they are in for if they think the Maori demographic trend can continue since it is largely being financed of the backs of a declining European demographic base.

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