3 August 2014
New Plymouth Mayor at it again
New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd is at it again. He is pushing on with his plan to give Maori privileged voting rights on council.
In 2011 the council voted against establishing two Maori wards. Earlier this year councillors narrowly voted against appointing two iwi members (with full voting rights) to key council committees. Now the Mayor wants Maori only wards.
Mr Judd justified his stance as. ‘‘Central government has had Maori representation since the late 1800s…Come on, how far behind are we?”
It is not an uncommon argument used by pro-privilege advocates and adds a further imperative justifying the removal of the Maori roll and the seven seats in Parliament reserved only for Maori.
The matter will come before councillors on the 23rd of September. We believe the public of New Plymouth need to realise what their Mayor is up to. If you would like to support an advertising campaign in the New Plymouth press please donate HERE.
Removing race based entitlement
Removing race based seats will be no easy task – reversing privilege never is. Ironically one can take heart from the courage of Rosa Parks who defied race based segregation on buses in Alabama because she was “tired of giving in”.
New Zealander are getting tired of giving in to Maori who want race to be the basis of entitlement.
Pro-privilege advocates say reverse discrimination is required to overcome Maori disadvantage. No question, many who identify themselves as Maori are at the wrong end of the social statistics, and for a host of reasons but not race. It cannot however be said that they are under-represented in public office. Maori are in fact over-represented in Parliament if one were to take a pro-rata approach.
Race relations conciliator, Dame Susan Devoy, was a champion squash player. Unfortunately she is not proving to be champion of race relations. She does not seem able to comprehend the meaning of the comments made by ACT leader Jamie Whyte.
After years of treading-lightly around the issue of race, ACTs new leader has clarified the party’s policy on racial equality. See speech HERE >>>.
In a fiery retort, Dame Susan described Dr Whyte’s comments that Maori enjoy legal privilege “grotesque and inflammatory” and “incredibly naïve.” She says, “Accusations of Maori privilege are not borne out by Maori socio-economic statistics. Whether we like it or not the reality is that ethnicity and disadvantage are connected and found in damning statistics that on average sees Maori New Zealanders life expectancy, education and health outcomes lagging behind non Maori New Zealanders.”
Dame Susan goes on to say, “Treating everyone exactly the same will not necessarily make everyone exactly the same and anyone who thinks so is incredibly naïve.”
She misses that very point being made in the speech and the nuances of privilege. Dr Whyte is quite correct to point out the obvious – that Maori enjoy legal privileges and those legal privileges have not addressed the social disadvantage of Maori when measured as a collective (the Maori seats are an example).
Dame Susan urged politicians to “stick to those major issues that will help make New Zealand a better place for all our children to grow up in.”
By raising the issue of racial equality we think politicians are raising issues that will help make NZ a better place. It is encouraging to see a number of political leaders finding the courage of Rosa Parks and are now focusing on racial privilege.
Racial equality becoming an election issue
Last week Winston Peters said he won’t be part of a post-election coalition that includes race based parties – Mana and Maori. That’s significant in that Peters has drawn a line in the sand, contrary to previous statements that he will not state his coalition preferences until after the votes are counted.
That commitment, assuming Peters remains true to his word, could be significant. Should NZ First become the King-maker it rules out Mana and Maori from being in government. Removed of their influence makes the chances of a future government addressing the Maori seats issue by general referendum a possibility.
We are calling upon ACT and the Conservative Party to do the same – rule out giving confidence and supply to any Party that forms a coalition (loose or tight) with either the Mana or Maori parties. That is the true test of conviction.
Hard road for Conservatives
Unlike ACT and Peter Dunne, the Conservative Party will receive no free pass into Parliament. National’s unwillingness to do a deal on the East Coast Bays electorate means if the Conservatives are to enter Parliament they will have to do it the hard way – by gaining 5%, or by winning a seat.
We think National’s polling in East Coast Bays shows that Colin Craig is unlikely to win the seat, even if National were to campaign for the party vote only. Given that likelihood, the truth is National has nothing to gain from doing an ACT-type arrangement with the Conservatives in East Coast Bays.
Withdrawing Murray McCully completely from the electorate would also be a step further than the concessions it has given to others, and would quite rightly open up National to accusations of MMP manipulation.
Another factor in National’s decision would be their dream scenario that both the Conservatives and NZ First fail to win an electorate and fail to reach the 5% threshold. For example, should they both reach 4%, their 8% is wasted and National would need only 46% to govern alone. No doubt they would reach out to ACT and Peter Dunne, but they would in effect be puppets to a National majority.
The Conservatives will need to campaign well to reach the 5% threshold. However, there is still an opening for the Conservatives to win an electorate.
Standing the high profile Christine Rankin in Epsom is a smart move. Should the Conservatives go into the last week of the campaign polling higher than ACT, but still short of the 5% threshold, Epsom voters may well switch their vote from ACT’s David Seymour to Christine Rankin. That would be of greater benefit to National, which we have no doubt the Conservatives will be only too willing to remind Epsom voters.
Scary, is how some describe the Conservative Party billboards. Given the Party has already (unfairly) attracted the “loony” label, scary is something they should have avoided (some have likened the image to a character from an Alfred Hitchcock movie.)
They could have learnt this lesson from the Greens. The Greens truly are scary (and loony as the Prime Minister often states in Parliament), but their billboards communicate caring and cuddly.
Many commentators believe the Party will need to improve its campaign livery to reach the 5% threshold, despite having a strong policy platform.
Last week we asked: Who do you think should have the say as to whether the Maori seats are retained: Maori only or all voters?
On this readers were clear: 98% said ALL voters,2% said Maori voters only.
“All voters should all have a say because Maori only will just retain the status quo of electoral privilege. Let us follow Sweden and eliminate race from all legislation.” Monica.
“Allowing only Maori to vote would be extending the very racism we are trying to stamp out. Equality for all races.” Peter.
“To confine this vote to Maori only is to imply that it has nothing to do with New Zealand, only a few select Maori voters, and not even all Maori people as a huge number of eligible Maoris vote on the NZ electoral roll.” Elizabeth.
“As Maoris are a minority, it would only be fair that only they vote. Hopefully enough of them would see the sense it abolishing the seats.” Wayne.
“The seats were established to help Maori so it is Maori who should decide whether to keep them or not.” John.
This week we ask: Do you think the Conservative Party will take the Epsom seat from ACT?
To vote, please visit www.5pm.org.nz and look on the RH sidebar.
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Frank and Muriel Newman
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