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Maori wards not fair, just

Letter

So the council is overjoyed that they can now have Maori wards so Maori get equitable representation on the council.

That is not fair or just. It is not democratic.

Gisborne is a multi-cultural society. We now have citizens from over 40 different countries living here and each and every citizen has equal rights. Why should one group claim preference? Give that group preference and you immediately create divisions.

Since the 1970s every New Zealand government has worked with Maori to remedy, apologise and make amends for wrongs of the past. The Treaty settlements are almost completed, so surely it is time now to forgive.

If Maori in Gisborne feel the need for more of them to be on council, all they have to do is put up candidates when elections come around and hope they get a majority vote to win. Just like all candidates do. Simple as that and democratic.

Remember, we are all one. Let’s keep it that way. So please, can someone get a poll organised to overturn the council’s decision.

Nancy Woods

  1. Mathew Bannister says:

    I feel that Nancy has made a typo in her letter.
    The establishment of wards for Maori is not fair, it is JUST.

    The fundamental difference between all the other ethnicities and Maori is that it was Maori who signed the Treaty of Waitangi.
    This allowed the British minority to colonise and settle New Zealand, bringing in their wake the other 39 nationalities which have also prospered.

    I can understand the bewilderment of those who fail to understand the position of the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand law, as well as its position in New Zealand history.

    I can refer people to the excellent reference document published by Te Puni Kokiri – “Key Concepts of the Treaty Exchange”. This 72 page document can be downloaded and contains key court cases and tribunal decisions.

    Within it you can see the many ways in which colonial and historic governments have managed not to achieve the spirit of the Treaty in the relationship between the Crown and tangata whenua.

    The establishment of Maori wards is in someway nothing new, it is a manner of establishing something that was promised by the Treaty but the Crown has somehow never got around to making happen.

    1. Tony Lee says:

      Mathew, I thought it was, “It is not just fair, it is essential.”

      1. A McKellow says:

        Solution seems simple.
        Our area is 50/50 demographically.
        Our area also depends on the rural sector.
        If there are 12 councillors to be elected then, 4 Maori wards, 4 country wards and 4 general representatives.
        That would seem a fair representation for the district with any person on the electoral roll able to stand in any of the electorates.

        1. Ken Ovenden says:

          To A McKellow, that idea certainly has merit, there seems to be a very modern interpretation put on the Treaty of Waitangi that Maori “must” have individual wards when they are perfectly able to stand for council and represent their people the same as anyone else. Now listen and read the howls of indignation when I personally put the case forward that it could actually be considered selfish of Maori to deny rural people adequate representation caused by the loss of those wards to make way for Maori wards, if the current suggested split goes ahead.

  2. A McKellow says:

    History worth reading:
    1831 Maori petition to British Parliament
    1833 James Busby
    1835 Declaration of Independence
    1837 Establishment of the colony
    1839 The TORY and the NZ company
    1840 Land purchase prohibition.
    1841 George Clark
    1843 Wairau

    We learn from history to try to not repeat mistakes, to be more forward-looking and to be fair.

    1. Ken Ovenden says:

      Thanks A McKellow,
      The actions that concern me the most are those impacting on rural ratepayers. They are hit with a proposal that they will part-pay through rates for the city’s water and wastewater – so they will be charged for a service where they will receive no benefit. Then, to create wards based on race, they could lose the rural ward system to make space for the Maori wards. That to me is really just, “well, here we go again”.

      1. A McKellow says:

        No reason why city, rural and Maori wards cannot co-exist.
        When deciding where to alter representation, the city has an abundance of councillors to serve the population. City people also have easy access to the council bureaucracy. If the people of this area decide for a change in the format of representation it makes sense to prune from the city rather than the rural.