A claim in Parliament yesterday that the legislation that enables a vote on Maori wards is discriminatory looks like an attempt to divert attention from the blatant separatism that a Maori ward entails, Hobson’s Pledge spokesman Don Brash said today.
Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson yesterday asked if the current standard for enacting Maori wards, which provides for a ratepayer poll if requested, was a "double standard", compared to the implementation of general wards.
Five councils tried to sneak in Maori wards either without meaningful consultation or despite feedback that showed Maori wards were not wanted, Dr Brash said.
Five percent of residents in all five districts – Western Bay of Plenty, Whakatane, Manawatu, Palmerston North, and Kaikoura – asked for a vote and now the councils are complaining about the expense of a poll, Dr Brash said.
If councils are concerned at the cost of holding the polls, they should in the future pay more attention to consulting with their constituents and listening to what they say, Dr Brash said.
There is no evidence that any of those councils have thought through how seats reserved for councillors with Maori ancestry elected by voters on the Maori roll is going to bring any benefit to any council, Dr Brash said.
Maori ward proponents talk about the “the Maori voice” but never say what the Maori voice is supposed to be saying, Dr Brash said.
If Marama Davidson is mainly concerned about a petition and poll only applying to Maori wards proposals, that may be easily remedied by allowing a petition and a poll for all ward proposals, Dr Brash said.
But it appears Ms Davidson is only really concerned about setting up separate voting arrangements in local government, he said.
Clear thinking people of every age should be able to see the Maori ward proposals for what they are – naïve, patronising, and liable to embed in local governance a two-tier democracy, Dr Brash said.