Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei is blissfully unaware of the appalling waste of money and self-serving, like the Auckland Maori Statutory Board, that has come about through a race-based approach to local government, Hobson’s Pledge spokeswoman Casey Costello said today.
Ms Costello debated Ms Turei on TV One’s Marae programme on the Green Party bill to get rid of the option to have a referendum when any local authority proposed setting up separate Maori wards.
The Green Party believes that more Maori wards would increase Maori representation in local councils and that this would be the answer for Maori, Ms Costello said.
However, the experience in Environment Bay of Plenty, which has had Maori wards since 2001, is that the turnout of voters on the Maori roll continues to lag behind general roll voters, Ms Costello said.
Ms Turei was also challenged with the fact that the number of Maori voters on the Maori roll shows that a huge number prefer the general roll, with 55 percent choosing the Maori roll in 2013 and 45 percent choosing the general roll.
Ms Turei was keen to label everything I had to say as “racist drivel from Hobson’s Choice,” Ms Costello from Hobson’s Pledge said.
The Green Party appears to think that Maori are not capable of gaining representation, power, and becoming leaders without special wards, authorities, appointments or electorates, she said.
They also debated the proposal to make Maori compulsory in schools.
“It is evident that dwindling numbers of students taking Maori as an option has driven us to a point that it now considered the responsibility of non-Maori New Zealanders to keep the language and culture alive,” Ms Costello said.
“There are 189 languages spoken in New Zealand. Maori is already given sufficient recognition, advocacy and support unique to any other culture or language in New Zealand,” she said.
“It seems to me the only “racist drivel” that exists is from the individuals who are telling Maori that they are not strong enough, good enough or clever enough to gain power on their own merit”, Ms Costello said.