The voters of Nelson have spoken – convincingly – on what they think about the provision of a race-based Maori seat on their local council.
They have rejected a proposal that a dedicated Maori ward be established, a move the city council itself supported.
Actually, you could say the voters have been thoroughly outspoken on the matter.
Of 15,487 votes received in a binding Nelson poll, 79% opposed the move. Special votes have yet to be counted.
Consistent with his track record on these matters, however, Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres is crying foul.
By his reasoning, the citizens of Nelson were not entitled to make that decision because – he contends – the provision of Maori seats on local councils should not be decided by a public vote.
And Joris is one of those people – ha! – who knows better than we ordinary people what is good for us.
He is recommending Maori seats be imposed on local councils.
What’s more, he regards this form of race-based election rigging as a “right” for Maori (although it is not so clear he would allow special ethnic representation for all minority races).
His views are given an airing in a Radio NZ report today –
Commissioner Joris de Bres says says the law should be changed so Maori seats are a right, rather than subject to a vote of the majority.
Mr de Bres said the result of the vote, while disappointing, was not surprising because, by its nature, the majority can not always be relied on to allow for minority rights.
This would comprehensively over-ride the wishes of citizens in cities like Nelson.
But the good people of Nelson have done no more than exercise their democratic right, according to Alf’s understanding of “democracy”.
A definition can be found here –
Democracy is an egalitarian form of government in which all the citizens of a nation together determine public policy, the laws and the actions of their state, requiring that all citizens (meeting certain qualifications) have an equal opportunity to express their opinion
Were Maori ruled ineligible to vote in Nelson?
Not that Alf is aware of.
Were they given an equal opportunity to express their opinion?
Here’s a bit more from Wikipedia –
Elements considered essential to democracy include freedom of political expression, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press, so that citizens are adequately informed and able to vote according to their own best interests as they see them.
Was anyone denied their freedom fo political expressin, freedom of speech and freedom of the press in Nelson?
And did the Nelson voters vote according to their own best interests as they see them?
Ah, but were the voters adequately informed?
Not according to the imperious de Bres.
“To put it to a general vote without a very informed electorate, I think, always runs the risk of the minority being told where to get off.”
First, let’s look at the notion the Nelson voters were ill informed.
The same – Alf would argue – can be said of voters in general elections.
You just have to listen to talk-back radio for half an hour or so (if you can stomach it) to establish that callers are hopelessly ill-informed about the issues of the day.
Indeed, they demonstrate a dismaying ignorance.
This ignorance becomes most apparent when, collectively, they vote for a Labour Government as they are apt to do now and again.
We Nats have to grin and bear it on these occasions and brace for a few years in opposition before we win back our rightful place on the Treasury benches.
Listening to those talk-back callers – and to all sorts of other people whose expressions of opinion expose a profound ignorance – has prompted Alf to wonder if voters should pass a knowledge test to establish their fitness to vote.
But – yes, Alf is a democrat – any test of that sort would be elitist and debase our democracy.
Second, what minority – pray tell – is de Bres talking about here?
Does he mean Maori voters who are happy to be regarded simply as citizens and to vote as citizens alongside their non-Maori neighbours?
Or is he referring to just some Maori voters, the ones who happen to harbour the same view as de Bres about people of certain ethnic origins being entitled to special race-based electoral (and other) privileges?
We will hear more of this.
Joris de Bres says he will lobby for the change during the review being carried out of New Zealand’s constitution.
He won’t be alone.
Our conditioning has become so heavily imbued with political correctness that a small army of earnest but misguided New Zealanders will go out to bat for a constitution that establishes two classes of citizen based on race.
These earnest tosser will protest that this is nothing like apartheid, and that it is based on the Treaty, which is our founding document …blah, blah, blah.
But whatever the argument, we will be left with two classes of citizen, their rights, privileges and entitlements determined solely by their race.