Be careful what you wish for . . .
Re: ‘Undermining democracy', January 13 story.
It is clear from this “one-sided” article, obviously sanctioned by the editor of this newspaper, that he and all the rest of the Maori ward supporters (including all members of council and their spokesperson, the deputy mayor) don't understand the meaning of the word “democracy” and its part in our legitimate political process.
It is to their everlasting shame that they should be championing this attempt to subvert law-abiding citizens' rights to be heard.
If there is anything happening in that vacant space they promote as “collective responsibility”, they should be doing their best to answer the questions that have arisen because of the council's vaguely-formed decision to back the introduction of Maori wards.
Their deliberate reluctance to expose the true intent of that decision, by not coming clean with clear answers to those of us who are asking, only adds to the confusion of what they meant when voting in council.
I'm not sure that they even knew themselves.
Here are a few facts.
Mr Wharehinga is wrong to imply that the council had a mandate to vote for the introduction of these wards.
That can only be given after there has been a vote on the matter in the (hopefully) upcoming referendum that will decide it based on a democratic vote — hardly the same as the council's and Government's misuse of their authority in an attempt to bypass the democratic process.
Second, there are important unanswered questions about the intent of the council's decision that can influence individual decision-making over which way to vote on this issue.
The most glaring examples of these are also the ones that are being deliberately left that way so that confusion remains.
For example, how many Maori wards are being proposed? One, two or five?
Will the rural wards survive?
Answers to these questions could change people's votes from the “pro” camp who support the motion, to those voting against.
Finally, it is hard to understand the agitation for guaranteed Maori wards when the current system allows Maori equal opportunity to the decision-making process.
The facts are undeniable.
Councillors Meredith Akuhata-Brown and Josh Wharehinga are living proof that they can stand successfully in urban seats traditionally dominated by Pakeha.
It only requires a repetition of others like them deciding to put their hats in the ring at election time for Maori representation to increase dramatically. I would personally unequivocally support their admission to the council table if it happened in that way. Why wouldn't l?
But that might be too hard for some!