John McLeod is branded a renegade – just for resigning over the introduction of race-based voting

No, he didn't burn down the council chambers.

No, he didn’t burn down the council chambers.

It’s a measure of the magnitude of the Kiwi surrender to the power push by indigenous persons that New Plymouth councillor John McLeod is described as a renegade.

That derogatory adjective was used in a caption beneath his photo in the Taranaki Daily News before he resigned “after the vote on Maori wards did not go his way”.

Renegade?

According to the definition at Oxforddctionaries.com a renegade is…

A person who deserts and betrays an organization, country, or set of principles: an agent who later turns out to be a renegade

So has John McLeod deserted the New Plymouth Council or his city?

Or has he betrayed it or its principles?

It depends.

From another point of view, the city has betrayed the councillor and the principles he has tried to uphold, because he was democratically elected to the council fair and square and without the wind-assistance provided by fabricating electoral arrangements to favour one race over others.

The council (a majority of it, anyway) has cravenly buckled to pressure to ensure an indigenous person becomes a councillor, irrespective of talent, ability or electability on an even playing field against citizens of all colours and creeds.

This means the council majority has opted to debase the very democratic arrangements that gave them the power to change the system.

And what did our “renegade” councillor do?

Set fire to the council chambers?

Throw acid over those who voted against his wishes?

Nope.

He simply stood by his principles (those the majority had abandoned) and resigned.

Mind you the local rag beat things up a bit by saying he “sensationally” resigned moments after a Maori ward was approved by the council.

The councillor, who was first elected in 2007, handed in his resignation mid-meeting, after the council voted seven to six in favour of establishing a Maori ward for the 2016 local body elections.

His resignation from the New Plymouth District Council is effective immediately.

“The majority of this council has voted for a stance that is against my own personal principles in life,” his resignation letter said.

“I cannot work in any environment that has a belief in separatist values, based on race, creed or religion.”

Let’s look at that again.

He said he could not work in any environment that has a belief in separatist values, based on race, creed or religion.

And this makes him – so help us – a renegade?

Alas, yes in our Treaty-obsessed society.

And so McLeod left the meeting straight away and did not return.

Mayor Andrew Judd had pinned his colours to the mast of the race-based electoral arrangements that McLeod tried to resist.

He said it was unfortunate that a councillor resigned over a community issue, and questioned why McLeod would leave over one issue that did not go his way.

However, Judd said McLeod’s resignation should not overshadow the council’s history-making decision.

Ah, so that’s what it was about.

The tight vote resulted in New Plymouth becoming the first district council in the country to vote in favour of a Maori ward.

Judd was obviously keen on getting a mention in the history books.

He amplified his bleeding-heart leadership style by saying he could see the pain in the eyes of the Maori people who were telling him they did not feel included.

So who excluded these pained people – and wouldn’t that be illegal? How many of them have stood for office? How many have bothered to vote?

Judd proceeded to warble about the need for councillors to think about the lives of their children and grandchildren and vote for equality and unity. Then he voted for a race-based special seat.

This – you might think – would make indigenous persons delirious with joy and eager anticipation.

Nah.

Te Atiawa kaumatua Harry Nicholas, who is a retired police inspector, told the council it had not done enough consultation with iwi and hapu. He asked them not to pass Maori wards immediately, but to defer the decision until Maori had been consulted.

He said there were five iwi in the New Plymouth district and each iwi was autonomous and had its own constitution. Having only one seat to represent five iwi could cause major problems.

Uh, oh.

It looks like the way out will be to give each iwi a seat at the table.

It seems a Dr Stuart Bramhall wants more seats for indigenous persons, too.

A single seat for Maori was not enough, she said, but it was certainly a start and would help to diversify the council from being a “white old boys club”.

While the council makeup did not represent women, young people or the poor, it had a unique opportunity to better represent Maori, she said.

He is on to something here, of course.

If we are to have a special seat for indigenous persons, we should have special seats for female persons, and for Asian persons, and for crippled persons, and for Muslim persons, and for any category of person you care to nominate.

Which only goes to show what a load of bollocks this happens to be.

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