I agree with Twyford

January 21st, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Bernard Orsman reports:

It is undemocratic and untenable for unelected members of the ’s Maori statutory board to have voting rights on council committees, says Labour’s Auckland issues spokesman .

I agree with Phil Twyford on this point.

It is worth noting that the Royal Commission actually recommended having an unelected (appointed by Iwi) Councillor sit on the main Auckland Council itself. Labour criticised National for not following the Commission’s recommendations.

Two Maori representatives from the nine-member Maori statutory body will join up to 20 council committees with full voting powers under a Super City bill passed last year in the name of Local Government Minister and Act leader Rodney Hide.

If the council committees are actually making decisions, not just recommendations, this is a quite serious issue. Non-voting representation would be more appropriate.

It is worth remembering that three of the 20 Councillors are of Maori descent – and elected through wards.

Mr Twyford said hand-picked representatives exercising a full vote alongside elected representatives on council committees went against a fundamental principle of democracy and the Government should amend the law to make the positions advisory only.

I agree. But is Twyford representing what Labour said at the time. Here is a press release on 14 May 2009:

“Labour believes the Government should have adopted the Royal Commission’s proposals to include on the council, but it hasn’t.

One of those Maori seats as an un-elected one, appointed by Iwi. So in 2009 Labour seemed to argue for un-elected Maori representation, but now they argue againgst it.

Mr Horomia said the relationship between the Auckland Council and mana whenua is important and it is essential they have a voice in local government decision-making.

“Just how that is reflected and how potential mana whenua seats might complement elected Maori seats is an issue which the select committee will hear submissions on and we will pay attention to this.

Again, Labour were not saying they were against appointed Maori representation back then.

“Imagine how people will feel in a really heated debate on some important issue, a committee is evenly split, and these non-elected, hand-picked advisers have the casting vote. People will be furious,” Mr Twyford said.

Again I agree.

Last night, Mr Hide, who is overseas, on his honeymoon, issued a statement saying the decision for Maori to be members of committees was made at the select committee state.

Labour was on that select committee. In their minority report they said:

This bill introduces a Māori Advisory Board. While we have worked hard to ensure this board is more effective, we have not altered our position. Labour believes there should be Māori seats on the new Auckland Council.

Working hard to make it more effective doesn’t sound like arguing they should not have representation on council committees.

He did say he was surprised the board would appoint people to sit on all council committees when the legislation required it to appoint people only to committees that dealt with the management and stewardship of natural and physical resources.

This is correct. So it is a decision of the Auckland Council itself that gave voting rights to the non-Councillors on all the other Committees. So will Phil Twyford call on Len Brown to restrict these appointments to those few committees dealing with natural and physical resources.

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11 Responses to “I agree with Twyford”

  1. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    :D

    This is a surprise turn-around for Labour; they’re usually Pro-Maori in most political respects. Perhaps they finally realise that to improve their standing for the upcoming election they should actually touch base with the common New Zealand voter?

    Don’t hold your breath.

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  2. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Is racial discrimination in this country legal or not? What DNA soemones ancestors had should not give any one New Zealand more or fewer rights than any other New Zealander.

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  3. kowtow (8,784 comments) says:

    All this is a consequence of the ridiculous resurection of the Treaty by Labour in the ’70’s. Part of the protest generation and the human rights movement of that era. What real good has it done for anyone?
    Time to scrap all this nonsense. Referendum anybody? Not a chance!

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  4. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    One of those Maori seats as an un-elected one, appointed by Iwi. So in 2009 Labour seemed to argue for un-elected Maori representation, but now they argue againgst it.

    Labour were reasonably clear at the time that they only supported elected Maori representatives from people on the Maori roll (as, for example, in Rotorua).

    They were disagreeing with National for rejecting Maori representation as recommended by the Royal Commission, but did not support it in the exact form proposed by the Royal Commission.

    Suggesting otherwise is disingenuous.

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  5. unaha-closp (1,180 comments) says:

    Labour was on that select committee.

    And National?

    Nice of them to make laws appointing unelected representatives onto Aucklands Council committees.

    So it is a decision of the Auckland Council itself that gave voting rights to the non-Councillors on all the other Committees.

    Its Auckland Councils fault that the National government enacted laws to put unelected representatives on Auckland Council committees. Yeah right.

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  6. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    John Hatfield was right unaha, national the maori party are too close.

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  7. davidp (3,588 comments) says:

    My ancestors were earlyish settlers in Auckland. I think that entitles me to more rights than more-recent immigrants. I and the other descendants of early settlers should have our own statutory board with unelected voting rights on Auckland council committees.

    Naturally since this is a right based on ancestry and immigration dates, it won’t be effected by my residence in Wellington.

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  8. Pongo (374 comments) says:

    What is it with Auckland, you finally get a governance structure that makes sense and is capable of making decisions and then you tie one hand behind your back.
    You can imagine what will happen with a tight vote, “I will vote for your new road but you can fund my tribes latest pet project”.

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  9. Paulus (2,672 comments) says:

    Look forward to Labour’s official policy on this soon.

    What policy ??

    PR Window dressing Twyford – as usual

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  10. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Murray asks:

    Is racial discrimination in this country legal or not?

    That’s it in a nutshell. To which I’d add “Is democracy still the foundation on which our system operates or not?”

    Any idea, anyone, how many votes it took to get elected to Council? Well that’s the number of votes this “nine-member Maori statutory body” are exercising, times two.

    What happened to “one person, one vote”?

    Paulus says:

    Look forward to Labour’s official policy on this soon.

    As opposed to National / ACT policy, which is to mandate this happening? You seem to be labouring under the illusion that there’s any useful difference between any of them. There isn’t. They’re all part of the elites who are busy eroding the power and status of the ordinary citizen – this is but one example.

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  11. MT_Tinman (3,263 comments) says:

    This is Apartheid.

    Where’s Richards, Minto, all the halfwits who vandalised everything they could in ’81 (Toad)?

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