Howie Tamati has an explanation for ballot box result: some voters didn’t bother playing the game

Alf’s good mate Paula Bennett shouldn’t lose much sleep.

But she should be ready for the United Nations to give her a call on a matter within her ministerial bailiwick.

The reason: the Mayor of New Plymouth is spitting the dummy after voters in his bailiwick rejected a council vote for a Maori ward.

Andrew Judd, the mayor in question, is now talking of  going to the United Nations with a complaint against the Government about the legislation governing the process whereby our indigenous persons can seek special voting privileges.

Exactly what this has to do with the United Nations is anyone’s guess.

No doubt he is aware that under one of their conventions our indigenous persons are regarded as “special” and he therefore expects them to agree with him that they should have special voting privileges.

It’s not the first time he has banged on about this.

According to this Stuff report in November:

New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd says New Zealand’s laws around Maori wards are unfair and should be overhauled.

He has told Minister of Local Government Paula Bennett the law is separatist.

In September the New Plymouth District Council voted to establish a Maori ward for the next election, despite threats from then president of Grey Power New Plymouth, Hugh Johnson, that its members would run a petition and force a binding poll on the matter.

A petition that gathers signatures of 5 per cent of ratepayers can force a binding poll and overturn any council’s decision to establish a Maori ward.

However, if the council was to establish any other ward a petition could not force a binding poll, and instead would result in a local government commissioner making the final decision.

So the law was unfair because only Maori wards could be overturned by a public vote.

“That’s separatist. That’s a double standard,” he said.

“It’s not one law for all, it’s two, and a majority decides the rights of a minority yet again.”

Alf supposes Mayor Judd was just a wee bit blinded to the double standard of wanting to create a ward for especially people of one race. Nor, it is reasonable to suppose, would he regard this as separatist.

Oh – then he said he would continue to fight for the rights of those who had been disenfranchised.

Disenfranchised?

When did that happen?

Mrs Grumble has been deeply engaged in research to find the statute that says indigenous persons may not stand for office and that they are prohibited from voting.

There is not such colour bar, of course.

Whether they do vote is entirely up to them.

They had their chance to vote on the Maori ward initiative in New Plymouth after a private citizen, Hugh Johnson, exercised his right to muster enough support to have a referendum decide the  issue.

The result was all too plain, although the turnout was not as strong as it might have been.

In a citizens-initiated referendum on the issue, 83 percent of those who voted were against the proposal.

A total of 56,250 people were eligible to vote with 45 percent doing so.

Mayor Andrew Judd, who championed a Maori ward, said he was personally disappointed with the result and the poor turnout.

Mr Judd said he was going to take a complaint against the Government’s Maori wards legislation to the United Nations.

He revisited his grievance about the fairness of a referendum overturning a council decision to establish a Maori ward. He also mentioned the United Nations

Mr Judd said he had been speaking with a representative of the United Nations over the last few weeks about a challenge to the Crown.

“Please explain to the world, because we are an international citizen, how this Government can allow a piece of legislation that allows the majority to have a vote to the indigenous around representation, yet no other decision we make does that.”

Judd said if the Government was serious about Maori representation on territorial authorities it should step up and legislate for it.

He didn’t mention his personal inclination to have indigenous persons fill 50 per cent of the council seats.

One councillor, Howie Tamati, said the vote showed more work needed to be done to build Pakeha’s trust in indigenous persons.

But whoa: Tamati is not a Pakeha name and he was elected.

Is he seriously trying to tell us he was elected by people who don’t trust him?

He also had something to say about the failure of the city’s 11,082 indigenous persons to fight for the rights that Mayor Judd and his council thought they deserved.

He said they had not engaged in the democratic process. They thought they would lose so didn’t take part.

Really?

But Howie was a  professional rugby league footballer and coach who played for his country.

While coaching league teams did he ever tell his players to stay in the dressing room and not bother engaging with the other side, if  they thought they were going to lose?

Bollocks he did.

Maybe he should be hired by his city’s indigenous persons to coach them in the art of engaging in democratic politics on a level playing field.

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