BY FRANK NEWMAN
It is now very clear why the Labour government acted under urgency to retrospectively remove the right of locals to have the final say on the creation of Mari wards, and why it pulled the rug from under the +15,000 Northlanders who signed the petitions organised by Democracy Northland.
It is because retaining the citizens’ veto right enshrined in the Local Electoral Act would potentially stand in the way of the much bigger plan of Labour’s Maori caucus to implement the recommendation of the He Puapua report.
That report was the product of a government-appointed working group whose purpose was to come up with a “road map” to put into effect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples. The report was provided to the Labour government in November 2019 but has only NOW become available to the public following the intervention of the Ombudsman.
Among the initiatives listed as evidence of the government’s commitment to the UN Declaration is “amending the Local Electoral Act 2001 to enable the establishment of Māori seats in local government bodies”. (Report by the government to the UN.)
He Puapua action plan, which the government has had for more than a year, makes it very clear that the agenda is not for Maori to have one or two or a few Maori seats on local councils – it’s for half, “joint governance”.
Our local body councillors who supported the introduction of Maori seats are very naive indeed if they think they voted for anything less than 50/50 Maori/General seats around their council table, or they did so knowing what the bigger picture was but they (like the government) did not reveal that to the public. Either way, those councillors do not deserve to hold their seats of privilege. They need to be outed and ousted.
He Puapua report: https://www.tpk.govt.nz/docs/undrip/tpk-undrip-he-puapua.pdf
Government report to the UN: https://www.tpk.govt.nz/docs/tpk-RP%20EMRIP-self-determination-study-NZ%20submission-march2021.pdf