The Rotorua bill ending equality of suffrage in New Zealand has been killed, or to save face – they are calling it paused.
They planned to ram it through Parliament in a few weeks. The Māori Affairs Committee only opened submissions for two weeks. They started scheduling oral submissions before the written submissions had even closed.
But what stopped them wasn’t the Attorney-General’s advice it breached the Bill of Rights Act (they knew it did and didn’t care) but the fact in just two weeks we got over 10,000 New Zealanders to do individual submissions against the bill – including 2,500 who asked to speak to their submission.
This meant the Māori Affairs Committee would have had to meet for eight hours a day, five days a week for five weeks to hear all the submissions against. It made it impossible for it to be passed by 1 June.
I did my oral submission on Friday last week and let me tell you it was very very clear the Labour and Māori Party MPs on the committee supported the bill and wanted it to past.
What is impressive about the number of submissions, is that this bill was almost totally ignored by the mainstream media until after the initial submission period closed.
It’s great we have won this one, but have no doubt they will try again. The Māori Party are very clear that they do support ending equality of suffrage in New Zealand. Labour don’t come out and say so, but the fact they discussed this bill at caucus, decided to support it, voted for it at first reading, spoke in favour of it, and supported it at select committee hearings makes it clear that what stopped them isn’t a belief the bill was wrong, but because too many people found out about it.
So this battle is won, but the war is just starting. The Herald reports:
Chadwick said she would write to the Māori affairs select committee clerk to seek the pause.
“Given the public interest in this process, I am making the decision public now.
“We have always said the bill is about the right way forward for Rotorua and have always been committed to working through the parliamentary process with central government.
So Chadwick states that ending equality of suffrage is the right way forward for Rotorua.
Rotorua MP Todd McClay said he viewed the bill as an “utter and absolute waste of time and money”.
“The council should not pause the bill, [it] should throw it in the rubbish bin as fast as [it] can.
“It is the most undemocratic piece of legislation that I have seen.”
He did not believe the bill had the support of Rotorua people and should be withdrawn from Parliament.
I think it is far to say that is no exaggeration. I can’t recall any other law in recent decades that sought to reduce the power of people to 39% of other people, purely based on their race.