Why on earth would Auckland Mayor Phil Goff favour Maori wards in Auckland, Hobson’s Pledge spokesman Don Brash said today. A bill in the name of Green MP Marama Davidson which would allow councils to create Maori wards without triggering a referendum has been drawn from the ballot.
Mr Goff said that the absence of a referendum would avert what happened in New Plymouth, where former mayor Andrew Judd's attempt to impose a Maori ward created a huge backlash
Mr Goff said that while Auckland's Independent Maori Statutory Board means there is a Maori voice on most council committees, it is not there at the main council and the members do not have the same mandate as elected councillors.
“Separate Maori electorates have long out-lived any purpose,” Dr Brash said.
“The separate electorates were created in 1867 for just five years to meet a particular problem. That problem disappeared in 1893, when all adults, both men and women, got the vote,” Dr Brash said.
“Maori electorates should be scrapped without delay, as the Royal Commission on the Electoral System recommended 30 years ago,” Dr Brash said.
“There are more than 20 Maori Members of Parliament, only seven elected in the Maori electorates, providing conclusive proof that Maori are absolutely capable of being elected on their own merits, the same as all other New Zealanders,” Dr Brash said
“Suggesting that Auckland needs Maori wards in addition to the Independent Maori Statutory Board is absolutely nuts,” Dr Brash said.
“It is condescending and patronising to Aucklanders with Maori ancestry,” Dr Brash said.
“All Aucklanders want the same things - a solution to the housing crisis and a solution to steadily worsening traffic congestion,” Dr Brash said. “That is true no matter when their ancestors came to New Zealand.”
Dr Brash, with Auckland business manager Casey Costello, represents a new national campaign which says that successive Governments have taken New Zealand further and further away from the kind of country that most New Zealanders want – one where everybody is equal before the law.