The Herald reports:
A community board member’s report complaining about use of te reo Māori at a local government conference has been deemed unacceptable by the Dunedin City Council.
Brian Peat, of the Mosgiel Taieri Community Board, referred to “a young Māori chap” talking in te reo for at least 20 minutes without translation into English, but his recollection has been challenged by one of the conference organisers.
Peat has called for all Māori content to be translated.
So he wasn’t saying that te reo Maori shouldn’t be used. He was saying that if there is lengthy use of it, it should be translated for the 96% of the population (including 80% of Maori) who can’t converse in it.
His rejected report included the claim New Zealand’s first language was English and that the community boards’ conference content “seemed somewhat slanted” on two subjects — Māori and climate change.
Peat asked for his report to be included in the community board’s agenda, but Dunedin City Council chief executive Sandy Graham said this would have been inappropriate.
Its contents were not consistent with the council’s partnership obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi, she said.
“The board member is entitled to his views, but as chief executive I must also manage the DCC’s relationship with mana whenua as our Treaty partners,” Graham said.
“Put simply, I was not prepared to allow the report to form part of the DCC’s official record.
This is such bullshit. He is an elected representative, and she is not. If the relationship can’t survive a report where someone complains about a lack of translation, that’s pretty sad.
But this is part of a wider malaise. Organisations now use so called obligations to censor views they disagree with. What if he expressed a view on Maori wards? Would that be censored if the CE didn’t like it? What if he expressed a view as an elected official that the RMA should be changed so Iwi have less power to block developments? Would that be banned?
Elected officials should not have their reports censored by staff unless they are in breach of the law.