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Backwards step for us all

Letter

Mayor Stoltz is conspicuous by her absence now as reaction to the ridiculous ward scheme is building.But it seems the Deputy Mayor can't resist the temptation to justify the council's choices.

I don't believe councillor Wharehinga should even be a member of our council when he displays such ignorance of the concepts of democracy. This one-eyed promotion of a race-based system of representation is a backwards step for all of us. There is no justification for the ward system, other than allowing one section of the community to vote for a representative based entirely on race, contrary to democratic principles.

Josh reports he knows the wishes of the community from the overwhelming feedback received. I am sure his supporters have rallied to give their feedback, making him feel good. But human nature being what it is, those opposed will not have bothered; they will have their say in a referendum in true democratic fashion.

He says “the majority of the community gave feedback . . .” but would it not be correct to say “the majority of feedback was in support”, because I don't believe the majority of the community responded. If they did, I would like to see the numbers please.

Josh should also be aware of the number of regions where the proposal has been overturned by a significant majority. In 2018, more than 70 percent of voters in Manawatu and Western Bay of Plenty voted against having dedicated Maori representation on their councils; in Palmerston North, 68 percent voted against and in Kaikoura, 80 percent voted against.

Well Josh, I think we should have our referendum to remove all doubt and not just trust what you say.

Josh should be aware that figures quoted on the RNZ news site for the most recent opportunity for Maori to change rolls, more Maori moved to the general roll than moved from there to the Maori roll. Surely this tells you that generally Maori appear happy with the status quo. I suggest that figures relating to the ward issue will be similar.

K. Thompson

  1. Joe Naden says:

    What cheap comments based on a supposed superior knowledge of Greek politics – even the Greeks excluded some of their citizens from voting, just as the naysayers are advocating here for Maori following Mr Thompson’s arrogant example.
    He assumes Mr Wharehinga (maybe he is an old buddy, I don’t know) is a cheat and a liar, as he is also a good judge of a person’s character. He also interprets stats whose veracity depends of course on all sorts of biases. He should just admit that he does not believe Maori are up to it.
    Yes, the referendum result is a foregone conclusion and good old Turanganui joins Taranaki and all the others in keeping the Maori wards out.
    They don’t need Maori opinion in local politics as they are representing them very well, in their opinion. They don’t ask whether it is a good idea to continue keeping Maori out of local government.
    Why are rural wards sacrosanct? And Maori wards ‘ridiculous’ and ‘one-eyed’?

    1. K Thompson says:

      Hi Joe, thanks for the reply, however I think you may have written it in haste because you lost me completely there for a bit. But let me put some thoughts to you that so far our editor has not seen fit to print in the paper.
      First, in relation to low voter turnout for Maori, it has been said that “Maori have disengaged from local and national politics” and “politics has had a long history of not meeting their interests”. I would suggest that politics will not meet the interests of anyone who finds an excuse not to vote and ‘giving’ people representation they don’t earn is dishonest and undemocratic, by whatever definition you choose.
      Second, I ponder on the possibility of a candidate from a Maori ward getting fewer votes than an unsuccessful candidate in the general election and yet still become a councillor. Could this happen and would that be fair? No, I think not.
      Finally, don’t you think a better use of your time and influence would be to encourage more of your people to participate in the elections, and have some real control over their destiny, instead of allowing them to sit back and be represented by whoever wins the lottery? If you could affect such change then this would be a much more constructive move toward unity and cooperation than token wards.