Dunno what the problem is.
No matter how hard one tries, it is hard to find.
The Maori Party is banging on about it and demanding remedies, regardless.
It says it is concerned by the low numbers of Maori taking up the opportunity to switch from the General roll to the Maori roll and it is urging Maori voters to stand up for Maori representation and their Maori seats.
The notion that Maori voters might be perfectly content being on the General roll and – in Alf’s neck of the woods, anyway – able to vote for splendid Nats like him appears to have escaped them.
This demonstrates what an ethnocentric bunch they are.
Their patronising urge to tell Maori voters what’s best for them is reflected in a media statement from the party today.
Each of the party’s three MPs has a bleat in this statement.
Dr Pita Sharples, Maori Party Co-Leader said
“…the first month results for the Maori electoral option are showing that more Maori are switching onto the general roll, than are switching on to the Maori roll.”
Oh dear. What a shame.
But only for a race-based and race-focused party dependent on support from voters in race-based seats.
So what’s wrong with Maori signing up on the general roll?
“That points to a very dangerous possibility that instead of increasing the numbers of Maori seats, we may indeed lose one, and that would be a step backwards for Maori representation.”
So this is all about the self-interest of a gaggle of Maori MPs who owe their political careers – and pay packets – to the nonsense of special seats where only Maori may cast votes.
Mind you, Sharples tries to make it sound like he has the voters’ interests at heart.
“We need our people to know that the Maori seats are about our right as tangata whenua to have a voice in parliament. They are about our right to express our issues in our own voice, and they are a cornerstone of Maori representation.”
“This is not about the Maori Party, this is about Maori representation in parliament – and should be a concern for every single Maori MP in this House.”
Not about the Maori Party?
Yeah. And the National Party is stacked with card-carrying Communists.
Let’s hear now from Tariana Turia. She said:
“When we first entered into a relationship with the National Party in 2008, the first thing we did was negotiate to keep the Maori seats in place. At that time it was a huge deal because National had campaigned on getting rid of the Maori seats. We cannot be complacent, we know that our seats remain vulnerable, and if we don’t use them we risk losing them.”
Yep. They negotiated to keep the Maori seats in place because they were only too aware that without them they would have no jobs as MPs.
We Nats needed their support and agreed to their demands.
So what else does Turia say?
“Maori voter participation is absolutely crucial to any system of political representation. And yet, for at least the last decade, there has been ample evidence demonstrating that the electoral system is not effectively engaging with Maori. Much more work must be done on all fronts, to encourage Maori uptake on their democratic right, to get on the electoral roll”.
Is Maori voter participation any more crucial to our system of political representation than than the participation of any other voters?
Not unless Maori are regarded as special (which, come to think of it, they do think).
But it should be noted that Turia is calling for special efforts to get Maori on the electoral roll. Not the general roll or the Maori roll, but (presumably) any roll.
Their democratic right to ignore signing up is being seriously overlooked.
But the Nanny-State approach of the Maori Party will put things right. Hurrah.
“We will each be raising this issue as a priority with our constituents, and we are urging our whanau to do the same. We have written to the Minister of Justice to look and invest into, as a matter of urgency, non-partisan ways of lifting Maori engagement in politics, particularly focusing on our rangatahi.”
Now its Te Ururoa Flavell’s turn to yelp. He said:
“We have also raised this issue with the Chair of the Maori Affairs Select Committee, to look at how we can work together across parliament to protect Maori representation.”
“We know that our communities have fought a long fight to have our voice heard in this place. If our tupuna were looking down on us now what would they say if we let this opportunity slip away.”
What’s this about a long fight?
We have had these special seats for…
Oh yes, since Maori electorates were introduced in 1867 under the Maori Representation Act.
The first Maori elections were held in the following year during the term of the 4th New Zealand Parliament.
The fight has not been to establish and maintain the travesty of these race-based seats, but to get rid of them, because they were intended as a temporary measure.
Several attempts have been made to disestablish the Maori electorates.
To no avail.
There used to be just four of them.
Now there are seven.
And the Maori Party wants more.
Flavell goes on to insist:
“This is a priority issue for tangata whenua, and we are urging groups to come forward and promote the Maori electoral option, and in particular promote the need to get on the Maori roll.”
But if it happened to be a priority matter for Maori …
Well, it’s simple. They would be enrolling, wouldn’t they?