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Quandary for candidates

Letter

Jeremy, unfortunately I think Craig Bauld has hit the nail on the head when he says that should Maori wards come to fruition, the likelihood of a Maori candidate being elected to council on the general role will be low to nil.

In the past when I have been selecting who to give my vote to for council, a candidate's race/ethnicity/cultural background has not come into it — the decision is made based on what abilities they can bring to the council table and to represent all ratepayers. If we are to have five councillor positions that only Maori can stand/vote for, my view will be that there are five Maori guaranteed on council to represent Maori, do we need any more?

No doubt there will be those who say that is a racist view. To me it is logical outcome. It will leave some of our current councillors in a quandary come next election as they will have to decide what ward they wish to stand in — one that represents Maori only, or one that represents all of us.

Lastly, if Maori make up 53 percent of our local population then all that needs to happen for Maori representation on council to increase is for Maori to put themselves forward at election time as candidates, campaign on the issues they are interested in, and for Maori to then cast their votes.

I fail to see what is so difficult about this. Perhaps Lara or Aimee could enlighten us as to what the difficulty is?

Michael Arnaboldi

  1. Bob Hughes says:

    Methinks Michael Arnaboldi hasn’t studied this issue thoroughly. He says some might claim his thinking to be a “racist view. To me it is a logical outcome . . . ” I only say it’s definitely not a logical outcome. Here’s why.
    Michael is right, candidates cannot stand for general and Maori wards at the same time. No big deal there (see my last line).
    The Local Government Act 2002 recognises the Crown’s responsibility to take appropriate account of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and to maintain and improve opportunities for Maori to contribute to local government decision-making processes. This is reinforced by a Human Rights Commission recommendation.
    Similar to the Maori Parliamentary seats, Maori wards establish areas where only those on the Maori electoral roll vote for the candidates. They sit alongside the general ward(s) which cover geographical areas of the district. Electors on the general electoral roll only vote for candidates from the general ward(s).
    All elected members, whether elected from general or Maori ward(s), represent the entire community.
    On this basis, no quandary exists for candidates whichever ward they wish to stand in — Maori wards or other, together they do represents all of us.

  2. Ken Ovenden says:

    Hi Michael, I think it is you who has hit the nail on the head. At present it appears that it does not matter what race you are, it is what electoral roll you have chosen. There does not appear to be any requirement for an elector to confirm their race when they enrol so there can be a total mis-match of races, which is a good thing in the democratic system that we have at present. So why any need for separate wards? The current system works, in that Maori are being represented and consulted with to a much greater degree than ever before. Leave well alone.

  3. Maree Conaglen says:

    I think Michael is a bit confused about the whole issue. Māori wards will guarantee Māori representation on council. This is a commitment to partnership guaranteed under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
    When it comes to the general seats on council, Māori candidates can stand for these seats too . . . just like in Parliament. I don’t think many people will be thinking about the ethnicity of the potential candidates in these general seats . . . and it’s ridiculous to even suggest that they will. Candidates in the general seats on council will be voted for, just like they are now, on their merit. This system works in Parliament and it will work on local council too.

    1. Gordon Webb says:

      But also you don’t have to be Maori to be a candidate in a Maori ward – just nominated by someone enrolled in the ward. So there is no guarantee that you will get a Maori representing a Maori ward.

  4. Joe Naden says:

    Wards are an excellent way for Maori to become familiar with the rigmarole around the Pakeha system of so-called ‘democracy’. Once they get the hang of it ‘Look out Pakeha!’
    Schools don’t teach it and Maori are brought up on consensus politics led by people who genuinely care, like their elders. Looking into the background of one of the loudest critics of wards it seems he is in the game for awards.
    If only those power lovers would see it. They profess to have the know-how to represent the Maori point of view on everything – even tikanga Maori!