‘Driving a wedge on basis of race’
Some things are plain. Under our current system, good candidates for council get elected. Poor candidates do not. If you are broadly supported and respected by the community, you get elected. If the community thinks you're hopeless, you don't. Trying to muck around with that system in order to tilt the scales in favour of your own racial politics, hmm, a very dangerous game.
I wouldn't mind so much except that I'm an ex-educator, so it irks me to see ill-taught youngsters demonstrating no ability to think, merely parroting mindless slogans like “equity”, unable to see the ramifications of their notions.
So, answer me this. If we are to have wards for Maori exclusively, presumably the other wards are for Pakeha exclusively. Is that correct? Pakeha in the broadest sense, of course, including Chinese, Indians, Pasifika, Whites, etc.
No? That's not what you mean? You have some simple-minded idea that it will be like Parliament, Maori seats and general seats? But if you divide local elections into a Maori/Pakeha split then I will cheerfully predict no Maori candidate will ever be successful again in a general seat in Gisborne. However well-intentioned your intervention, you will successfully drive a wedge between people on the basis of race.
Now, presuming you don't want exclusive Pakeha wards, answer me another question. What happens if, as in the last election, Meredith wants to stand for both the mayoralty and a council seat? Can she stand for council in a Maori ward and for the mayoralty in a general election? Or would she have to stand for council in a general ward? More to the point, what about Josh, who is an outstanding councillor and hopefully future Mayor?
Ah, of course, the mayoral election would be separate and available to people on either roll. But I say to you again, the minute you create this divide you handicap future Maori mayoral candidates. If they stand for council in a Maori ward they are announcing that they are not part of the broader community. And if they stand for council in a general ward they will be struggling to get votes.
Some people may think the voting community is “bigger” than to let this affect their votes. Yup, currently the voting public of Gisborne is pretty much colour-blind. But once you ram it in their faces they won't be.
Of course it is entirely possible that Aimee, and our dear Editor, know more about what makes voters tick than I do. Um, no, they don't.
The general goodwill of the community is what makes democracy viable as a system of governance. Lose that goodwill by shoving pious “woke” ideas down everybody's throat and you endanger everything. If history, or an elementary understanding of human nature can't teach you that, just look across the seas to America.