Should blood determine seats?

June 19th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Listener has a lengthy article based on a submission by to the constitutional review. Well worth buying the latest issue for the whole article. A few extracts:

In the past three years, I have been tracking down my family’s roots and I now know the names and origins of all 32 of my great-great-great (GGG) grandparents. Fifteen were from England, 10 from Ireland, four from Scotland, two from Wales and one, a , from New Zealand. 

The individual form in the 2013 Census, like others before it, had three questions on race. Question 11 asked: “Which ethnic group do you belong to? Mark the space or spaces which apply to you: New Zealand European; Maori; Samoan; Cook Island Maori; Tongan; Niuean; Chinese; Indian; Other such as Dutch, Japanese, Tokelauan. Please state.” Based on the nationalities of my GGG grandparents, I suppose I should have chosen New Zealand European and Maori, but I really do not feel I “belong” to those “ethnic groups”. Given that “belong” is as much about perception as DNA, I chose Other and wrote “New Zealander”. 

But ticking that box has a great effect on policies and funding.

But what would they have made of my answer if I had chosen “New Zealand European” and “Maori” as I suspect they wanted? The significance of the answer to this ques- tion diminishes over generations. It is now irrelevant and it’s time the statisticians real- ised that. If your grandparents were born in New Zealand, perhaps even your parents, you are surely a New Zealander, regardless of your racial background. It’s wrong for the census to ask me ques- tions about my feelings, which is what question 11 really does. It’s also wrong for whatever reason to slice and dice New Zealanders according to their feelings about ethnicity. I understand the wish of statisticians to continue asking the same questions from census to census so they can look at changes over time, but it’s time to stop asking New Zealanders a question about their feelings on race. 

And he looks at the :

Given the now extremely low threshold that establishes whether a New Zealander is Maori or not, it is hardly surprising that the number of Maori MPs representing electors on the general roll significantly exceeds the number of MPs in Maori seats. In 2013, 16 “Maori” MPs represent electors on the general roll compared with just seven separately elected Maori MPs.

I think the distinctions between Maori electors and others, and between Maori MPs and others, are now indefensible. I’m not suggesting we ignore public policy issues of direct concern to Maori. We do not need a female roll and female MPs to ensure issues of concern to women are addressed; nor do we need an Asian roll and Asian MPs to address the needs of the Asian com- munity. That there are still issues of concern to Maori does not justify a Maori roll and Maori MPs. In 1840, the Treaty signatories did not directly contemplate separate repre- sentation in a Parliament of New Zealanders, but even if they had, that is no justification to continue race-based separatism in 2013.

Sadly some people do push for there to be female quota MPs, and no doubt a female roll!

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35 Responses to “Should blood determine seats?”

  1. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    That’s the socialist-collectivist mindset….group think and pigeon holing.

    A healthy dose of rational individualism is so badly needed in NZ..

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  2. lastmanstanding (1,297 comments) says:

    Can we have a definitive answer on the Maori content as regards ethnicity. In other words how Maori is the most Maori people? In my case 3 of my 4 grand parents were born in England and of course my parents were both born in NZ. So I regard myself as a NZer of European descent which I believe is the most accurate description of my ethnicity.

    But if I had one great great grand parent who was a full Maori can I truly describe myself as Maori or am I really more European?

    And so are those who are on the Maori role really there under false pretences.

    I understand in North America one needs to be at least of 50% Native American descent to qualify?

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  3. jaba (2,142 comments) says:

    I am the river and the river is me

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  4. Nigel Kearney (1,013 comments) says:

    I just refused to answer that question on the census. Problem solved. If everybody refused, quite a few other problems would be solved as well.

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  5. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    And so are those who are on the Maori role really there under false pretences.

    Eligibility for the Maori roll is not about ethnicity, but about descent.

    The question on the enrolment form is: “Are you a New Zealand Māori or a descendant of a New Zealand Māori?”

    It is clear from this that you do not have to be Māori to be on the roll, just be descended from someone who was. If your great-great grandfather was a New Zealand Māori, then you are a descendant of a New Zealand Māori and are entitled to enrol on the Māori roll if you choose. Where are the false pretenses in doing so?

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  6. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    In 2013, 16 “Maori” MPs represent electors on the general roll compared with just seven separately elected Maori MPs.

    Why does Mr Littlewood assume that list MPs represent those on the general roll, and not those on the Māori roll, or people on both rolls?

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  7. backster (2,172 comments) says:

    The Maori Rolls are like Judicial Sentences….absolute bullshit.

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  8. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    I just refused to answer that question on the census. Problem solved. If everybody refused, quite a few other problems would be solved as well.

    If you decline to answer the Māori descent question on the census, you are assigned an answer based on your other responses when the number of seats and electorate boundaries are determined.

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  9. kowtow (8,487 comments) says:

    Well past time to scrap the Maori seats.

    Or if we must retain them can we go back to the reason why we have them and have elections based on wealth?

    I think that’s the best idea.I don’t like other people voting themselves money out of my wallet.

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  10. lastmanstanding (1,297 comments) says:

    kowtow You mean only white male property owners could be on the role. Now your talking!!!!!! bring it on!!!!!

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  11. Redbaiter (8,923 comments) says:

    GE- If your great-great grandfather was a New Zealand Māori, then you are a descendant of a New Zealand Māori and are entitled to enrol on the Māori roll if you choose. Where are the false pretenses in doing so?

    I know someone with no Maori connections at all who is on the Maori role.

    This whole concept is just separatist prehistoric unproductive nonsense and we need a political party with the balls to bin the fucking lot of it.

    (1law4all?)

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  12. Redbaiter (8,923 comments) says:

    “I don’t like other people voting themselves money out of my wallet.”

    Welcome to the NZ political system.

    Land of the great grey parasite.

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  13. Plue (6 comments) says:

    I think Kowtow is kind of correct, my understanding was these seats were created to give communal land owning Maori the same voting rights as the land owning voters with individual ownership of land. Now that we have universal franchise isn’t this a redundancy now. Put in a historic context we don’t need to have a debate about racial descent etc just the right to vote. Of course maybe my history is shaky would love someone to confirm or otherwise.

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  14. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    (1law4all?)

    1337

    Duckrockerz 4 lyf!

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  15. James Stephenson (2,180 comments) says:

    my understanding was these seats were created to give communal land owning Maori the same voting rights as the land owning voters with individual ownership of land.

    That, and to ensure that the number of North Island seats continued to be greater than the number of South Island seats as the SI population grew rapidly with the Otago Gold Rush.

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  16. Alan Johnstone (1,087 comments) says:

    Anyone can go on the Maori roll. It’s like becoming a Muslim, you just need to say the words and it becomes so.

    There is no requirement for validation, no proof required. If I decided that I’m the great, great, great grandson of Hone Heke, and wish to go on the Maori roll then I can do.

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  17. Griff (7,727 comments) says:

    No Apartheid in New Zealand

    And look out for a British beige 2500pi with duckrockers 4 lyfz across the back window.

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  18. David Garrett (7,289 comments) says:

    I have popped an extra one of my new pills…and I still agree with Red on this one…the Maori seats must surely be the best example of something which has long outlasted its original purpose remaining because no-one has the guts to change it. It is also arguably the issue upon which the National Party has shown the least courage since its election in 2008, with a clear mandate to abolish these relics of patronising colonial racism.

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  19. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    According to A long anthropological debate may be on the cusp of resolution we all may have bloodlines (or DNA) tracing back to Mitochondrial, Denisovan and Neanderthal.

    That’s really fairly irrelevant to this post but it’s a very interesting read on human ancestry.

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  20. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    the Maori seats must surely be the best example of something which has long outlasted its original purpose remaining because no-one has the guts to change it.

    The original purpose of a lot of things has changed. I think the argument is that they now have a new purpose.

    It is also arguably the issue upon which the National Party has shown the least courage since its election in 2008, with a clear mandate to abolish these relics of patronising colonial racism.

    National had a clear mandate to vote to change them, but I’m not sure 44.93% of voters supporting them is a clear mandate to get rid of them. Especially when National’s policy prior to the 2008 election was rather different from that adopted in 2005 under Don Brash. National’s 2008 policy was to remove the Maori seats once treaty claims have been settled. Well, they haven’t been.

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  21. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    And look out for a British beige 2500pi with duckrockers 4 lyfz across the back window.

    :???: Say what, my nigga?

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  22. kowtow (8,487 comments) says:

    Time for a referendum on the seats then,at the next GE.

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  23. Griff (7,727 comments) says:

    I honestly hope you have one in red or brg.
    Put triple dcoe’s on the thing ….
    Its the cam in the pi that gives it the extra grunt.
    Its still a bloody tractor motor.

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  24. bringbackdemocracy (427 comments) says:

    Get rid of race based seats, like South Africa did.

    http://www.conservativeparty.org.nz/index.php?page=Issues
    look under sovereignty

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  25. Fentex (978 comments) says:

    I recently had need of a doctor, and that being a rare thing I had no regular to visit so I found myself filling out some forms.
    One question on which was “What is your ethnicity?” – with a list of races, not ethnicities, as possible answers.

    It infuriates me.

    But of course it can’t be asked, for the question “What is your race?” is instantly despised. But there’s no difference between it and “What is your ethnicity?” with a list of races as optional answers.

    If they wanted to know my race they should tell me what it is for race is an attribute that is ascribed to people by others.

    I can understand governments wanting to classify people in relevant groups to identify and track spending priorities and efficacies, but my blood boils at this.

    My age, where I was born, my level of school accreditation and similar for my parents I’m quite certain provides all the necessary statistical groupings for the relevant policies.

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  26. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    Griff – red wine red!

    Yes I am in the middle of a carb conversion at the moment. Nothing as sexy as what you suggest though.

    I like tractor motors, you can dump a lot of coolant on the road and they still don’t die :-)

    (Sorry this is a bit removed from the topic of the maori seats. Probably does about the same amount of good for New Zealand though.)

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  27. David Garrett (7,289 comments) says:

    kowtow: A referendum under the present rules for CIR’s would be a total waste of time…80-90% of voters would support abolishing the Maori seats…and the government – of whatever stripe – would ignore it.

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  28. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    I’d be happy to see Maori seats gradually fade away as more people choose the general roll.

    But I don’t see it as a major problem if seats remain. It’s still one person, one vote.

    The best way to reduce the influence of Maori seats is for more people on the general roll to use their votes smarter and more strategically – like the Maori electorates tend to do. Currently apart from Epsom and Ohariu most electorates vote conservatively and diminish their value.

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  29. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    The Maori seats are an afront to representative democracy but their continued existence is but a symptom of the much more dangerous belief in Treaty partnership and biculturalism that has infected NZ politics. There was an excellent article by Professor Elizabeth Rata of Auckland University about how biculturalism has become a pseudo-religion that defies logic and all evidence that is has failed and is a betrayal of the core beliefs of both National and Labour. She calls the idea of co-sovereignty absurd and points out that no other developed country has reverted to promoting tribalism and called it progress.

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  30. Paulus (2,627 comments) says:

    Will somebody please tell me what the Maori threshold is, for being a Maori ?

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  31. chris (647 comments) says:

    @Paulus, if you are meaning in relation to the Maori electoral roll, then Graeme answered it here http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2013/06/should_blood_determine_seats.html#comment-1160601

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  32. backster (2,172 comments) says:

    The question is not how much Maori you need to get on the roll, but how much you need to get into a position whereby you can partake in the largesse extracted from the ‘Crown’. It seems you need to be related even if distantly to a Knight of the Brown Table and then be flexible enough to flit from one trough to another. Tuku seems to be an ideal role model in this area.

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  33. Redbaiter (8,923 comments) says:

    This whole situation is chronically amoral.

    Yet what party in parliament today is doing anything to rectify the situation?

    I’ll tell you- NONE

    In fact most are trying their hardest to worsen the situation.

    Bad right?

    Well here is the real problem-

    We all voted for those fucking useless bastards and NOT ONE OF THEM has the guts to speak out openly and directly about this separatist farce. Worse, they’ve set up a “Constitutional Review” that is really just a cover for imposing the mythical “principles” of the TOW on our country. More separatist crap. More gravy training.

    So if you want it fixed there is only one real solution- stop voting for incumbents and their parties.

    There are two parties standing in the upcoming election who profess to want to solve this problem.

    The Conservative Party and the 1LAW4ALL Party.

    Support them.

    Otherwise all our complaining about this injustice is just a pointless waste of time and energy.

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  34. chris (647 comments) says:

    The question is not how much Maori you need to get on the roll, but how much you need to get into a position whereby you can partake in the largesse extracted from the ‘Crown’

    But isn’t it “the tribe” who get the $$? Which probably means the troughers at the top of the food cycle and not the actual poor Maori at the bottom.

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  35. Graeme2 (102 comments) says:

    Backster- “It seems you need to be related even if distantly to a Knight of the Brown Table and then be flexible enough to flit from one trough to another”

    My vote for comment of the day brilliant.
    Also I agree with Red we need to vote for a party that will solve the problem.
    The Conservative party have yet to come out strongly on this issue. 1law4all most definitely have but as yet are unproven.
    Hopefully they can find a strong spokesperson and attract enough support to get 5% or more of the vote.

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