New Plymouth councillors arrogant on Maori ward

It is the height of arrogance for New Plymouth District councillors to decide to create a Maori ward in that city, despite 83 percent of those who voted on a similar proposition just five years ago rejecting it, Hobson’s Pledge spokesperson Casey Costello said today.

The New Plymouth District Councillors on Tuesday voted 12-2 to establish a Maori ward without seeking community feedback.

“They are foisting the completely unnecessary cost of a referendum on ratepayers,” Ms Costello said. 

“They know what the result of that referendum will be: the good citizens of New Plymouth don’t want to introduce racism into their community,” she said.

“And let’s be clear: voting based on ethnicity is racism, plain and simple.  When it happens elsewhere in the world, most New Zealanders denounce it,” she said.

“The decision means the ward will be there in time for the next election, unless overturned by another citizen-instigated referendum, which several councillors and current Mayor Neil Holdom are expecting,” Ms Costello said. 

“All those who believe in a colour-blind democracy, all those who oppose racism in all its forms, will ensure that New Plymouth citizens have a chance to have their voices heard,” she said.

“If councillors believe that they are not able to represent all their community fairly, regardless of ethnicity, then they should not be holding their positions,” Ms Costello said.

“Maori are members of the community and not a separate entity who require anything different from council than other citizens, such as roads, clean drinking water, sewage, drainage, libraries, sports facilities and cultural centres, all of which are for the benefit of everyone,” she said.