Twyford gets it right – partly – on the farce of Maori representation in the Super City

Alf is agreeing with Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford, who reckons the Auckland Council’s funding row with its Maori Statutory Board is evidence the board structure is flawed.

But only up to a point.

Actually, flawed is a somewhat mild way of expressing it.

The board has become a bloody travesty.

Twyford should use red-blooded language like that, too, because he says it should be abolished.

If it’s simply flawed, then it can be fixed.

But what’s his grouch?

“The fact that the Maori Statutory Board was taking legal action funded by taxpayer dollars against the democratically elected Council is ridiculous,” Phil Twyford said.

Yep. He’s right on the button with that observation.

“Rodney Hide and the National-Maori Party Government set up this strange beast but its neither fish nor fowl. It is not elected and yet its members have a vote on council committees. It is part of the Council but it is also independent.

“At nearly one million dollars a year it is more than five times as expensive as two councillors elected off the Maori roll.

Hmm. Alf is starting to cool on his support of Twyford at this juncture.

There’s a hint in the preceding remarks that he is pushing the Labour agenda for special Maori seats on the council.

But Alf cheers at Twyford putting a boot up Rodney’s bum:

“Rodney Hide created this problem with his super city law which set up the Maori statutory board instead of putting place dedicated Maori seats as recommended by the Royal Commission.

Trouble is, he then tries to maul “the government” which is where Alf is apt to take the criticism personally.

“The Government should recognise it got it wrong. They would be doing Aucklanders a great favour if they abolished the board and legislated for Maori seats,” Phil Twyford said.

No, that would not be doing Aucklanders a great favour.

It would be doing some Aucklanders a great favour. And it would piss off lots of others.

But here’s the thing: Twyford has given up on calling for Rodney’s head as Minister.

A few weeks back he was saying Rodney should make good on his threat to resign over Maori representation on the new Auckland Council.

“Mr Hide claims to be a great champion of the principle of one person one vote. Yet he canned a perfectly good proposal to elect Maori councillors off the Maori roll, and then installed a Maori board who can put unelected people on to Council committees with full voting rights.

“No one can blame Maori for wanting to be represented and have a say on the Auckland Council.

“But this is a fiasco. Mr Hide threatened to resign over Maori seats on the Auckland Council but his law stings ratepayers for three million dollars, and is blatantly undemocratic. He should resign,” Phil Twyford said.

Yep. Alf loved that rant.

He reckons Rodney should resign too, for all sorts of reasons, among them the great shame of being called Rodney.

But he takes issue with the notion that Maori are desperate to be represented and have a say on the Auckland Council, because they have not been denied the vote and they can stand for election the same as anyone else.

What they want and what Twyford wants to give them is a deal involving “special” seats for a select bunch of voters and candidates on strictly ethnic grounds.

A key principle breached by separate seats is that of electoral equality – one person, one vote, one value.

Alf is dismayed by those who are intent on eroding that principle.

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