Mrs Grumble has been dipping into some dictionaries to check out the meaning of democracy.
Here’s one of the results:
Full Definition of DEMOCRACY
a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority
b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
And here’s another:
n. pl. de·moc·ra·cies
1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
2. A political or social unit that has such a government.
3. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
4. Majority rule.
5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.
Then there’s the idea of one person, one vote.
Here’s a definition from the US, where these matters are constitutionally vital:
one-person, one-vote rule
The rule that, under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, legislative voting districts must be the same in population size. The idea behind the rule is that one person’s voting power ought to be roughly equivalent to another person’s within the state.
One person’s voting power ought to be roughly equivalent to another person’s.
Maori wards and Maori electorates do a mischief to this concept.
But iwi leaders (some, anyway) want to short-circuit this voting crap.
They want to get straight to the decision-making table without the bother of persuading voters of their merits.
People in countries without a dependable democratic system of governance in which all citizens have equal rights will fight and die in the ditch to try to get one.
In this country we give away our democracy – or debase it, anyway – by allowing iwi leaders to sit down with the representatives who have been elected and help them make decisions that affect our communities.
The surrender is as abject as that of the Iraqi troops who flee from ISIS.
Like the Iraqi troops, the people who are giving away decision-making powers are in a clear majority.
But to give them due, they have been threatened with being denouncaed as racists if they don’t give civic privileges to iwi.
They also have been mesmerised by the power of the Treaty.
Iwi leaders refer to this Treaty and claim it entitles them to a place (or several places) at government decision-making tables.
Alf has studied the aforementioned Treaty and is struggling to find the bit that says iwi leaders are entitled to short-circuit the democratic electoral process.
But the elected civic leaders of Rotorua apparently have found this section of the Treaty and have responded by negotiating an agreement between Te Arawa and the Rotorua District Council which is being promoted as a breakthrough in Māori-Government relationships.
Part of the model includes setting up a new independent board of Te Arawa representatives to ensure the council meets its legal requirements for engaging with Māori.
This includes consulting iwi on Resource Management Act consents and providing opportunities for iwi to contribute to council decision-making.
Consulting sounds reasonable.
But what else is there to the deal?
Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick puts us in the picture:
She said the independent board would create a stronger Māori presence.
“Two members from that board will be appointed to council committees that we have and they will take part in the discussion at that level to make a recommendation to the full council so they’ll be at the table.”
And how might this affect the rest of us (at least, the rest of us whose local leaders have not already waved the surrender flag).
The president of Local Government New Zealand Lawrence Yule said the new model was a positive sign that relationships between Māori and governments were improving.
“As we are evolving around Treaty settlements, there is a closer relationship between iwi, claimant groups, and councils, and in many ways that’s often been reflected in changes in governance and planning arrangements.”
But he stopped short of recommending every council copied the same model.
“Every area in New Zealand is different so we can’t have a one -size-fits-all approach, but this is a new step forward and all councils should watch what other councils are doing,” he said.
So in Rotorua, for now, the elected civic leaders have agreed with local iwi leaders that some of them can come along and join them as unelected civic leaders.
Some of the good people of Rotorua are unwilling to go down without a fight.
An outfit called Democracy Action has issued a statement to complain about being denounced as racists for trying to champion the principle of one person, one vote.
The Maori Party’s approach of bullying and intimidation against those who have stood up for one person, one vote, in Rotorua, is a dishonourable act by Members of Parliament that should know better.
Democracy Action, a pressure group which champions democratic values is calling-out Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell for his intimidatory comments regarding the Rotorua District Council vote to accept unelected members onto Council committees.
Democracy Action Chairman Lee Short says:
“We all accept that reasonable people can have differing views on race-based appointments onto local councils, but for a Government Minister to label those who stand for democracy as ‘racist’ is frankly outrageous.”
“We call on Mr Flavell to withdraw his offensive remarks. Bullying and intimidation have no place in democratic debate.”
“The Rotorua Council should have conducted a referendum on this issue. For a constitutional change such as this, the consent of all the citizens needs to be sought.”
Good luck with that.
Alf is very familiar with Flavell and his ethnocentric attitudes.
He is unlikely to be too fussed that anyone on the non-Maori side of the race divide has been offended by anything he says.
As for conducting a referendum – well, anyone favouring this could only be regarded as racist too.