No wonder Tuku Morgan is rapturous – the Waikato regional council has just given Maori a special deal

Iwi within the Waikato Regional Council catchment are celebrating the council’s decision to create two Maori seats, according to Waatea News.

Tainui chairman Tukoroirangi Morgan says his iwi is “rapturous” at the council decision, says Radio NZ.

Of course they are celebrating. Of course they are rapturous.

They have just persuaded non-Maori on the council to tip the political playing field in their favour.

They are made of sterner stuff on the Hamilton City Council – hurrah – which has decided not to introduce Maori seats.

The Herald gives us a count of the numbers of tossers on the regional council: it voted eight to four in favour of introducing Maori constituencies for Waikato for the 2013 triennial election.

Chairman Peter Buckley is gurgling about the groundwork for strengthening Maori representation starting in 2006. That’s when the council reduced the number of councillors from 14 to 12 and adjusted constituency boundaries to allow for two members to be elected from Maori constituencies in the future.

He seems besotted by the Treaty of Waitangi.

“This council has long recognised the special status of the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand society and the potential for improving Maori representation in regional governance,” Mr Buckley said.

Alf salutes councillor Russ Rimmington, who opposed the idea, saying the council should run a poll on whether there should be Maori seats.

Yep. Thats sounds democratic.

On the other hand, we must wonder about councillor Lois Livingston who said Maori had had no representation on the council for more than 20 years and the time was now “absolutely right” for the seats.

“Maori make up 20 per cent of the population here and we know what the outcome would be if this went to a poll – people would be completely against the idea.”

Let’s look at what she is saying.

For people to be “completely against the idea”, 100 per cent of voters would have to register their opposition. Alf’s grasp of mathematics can be feeble sometimes, but he thinks this requires the 20 per cent of Maori to add their votes to the 80 per cent of other voters in giving the idea the thumbs down.

Oh, and what about the past 20 years?

Were Maori disenfranchised and denied the right to vote in the Waikato region?

And were they barred from standing as candidates?

Alf does note that Environment Waikato will publicly notify the decision to introduce Maori seats, advising that a poll can be held on the issue if 5 per cent of electors call for it.

Let’s see what comes of that.

But the Hamilton City Council will retain the status quo for its 2013 and 2016 elections.

It says instead it will look at better ways to engage with Maori.

Councillors voted four to nine against the change.

Councillor John Gower said he believed in equal opportunity.

“Everybody in New Zealand should have the same opportunity and that opportunity should not be divided between race, creed or colour.”

And Councillor Roger Hennebry pointed out there were as many Asians in the city as Maori. He reckoned a poll would show 80 per cent of people did not support it.

Margaret Forsyth, a Maori who seeks no favours, said she did not think Maori should be given special treatment.

“All my life I have always played on an even plaing field … I have never felt that I needed to say, ‘What about me, I’m Maori, I would like some special treatment here.’ I have always felt you get the best people for the job with an all-out open process.”

Where are the Margaret Forsyths on the regional council?

Oh, and let’s not forget what some Maori leaders really want, when they talk of the treaty partnership.

They mean 50:50.

They can count on there being enough craven non-Maori in places of power to give it to them.

The Crown and Waikato-Tainui not too long ago signed a revised deed of settlement in relation to historical Treaty claims over the Waikato River.
The revised deed of settlement established a single co-governance entity, the Waikato River Authority.

The authority is made up of equal numbers of Crown and iwi-appointed members, including other iwi with interests along the river.

Finlayson was full of blather:

“This settlement reflects the values local iwi share with all New Zealanders,” Mr Finlayson said.

“Its firm focus is on restoring the health of the Waikato River, which is vital for the economic, environmental, and recreational goals of the region and the country.”

But local iwi don’t share the values of all New Zealanders.

This is demonstrated by their rapture at getting an easy ride on to the regional council.

One Response to No wonder Tuku Morgan is rapturous – the Waikato regional council has just given Maori a special deal

  1. Roger Strong says:

    I’m looking for others who also are appalled by this decision of the Waikato Regional Council to have separate Maori seats. Where is the opposition to this and how do I get in contact with them? Is the entire population asleep to this danger to our democracy??

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