There are a number of reasons for opposing the introduction of seats based on ethnicity and chief among them is the fact that there are already several mechanisms for improving Māori representation in decision-making;
It is not true that Māori are not being adequately represented or consulted. By adding designated Māori seats on top of the existing mechanisms, Auckland Council are doubling (perhaps tripling) up on representation for one group of people.
The establishment of Māori seats on Auckland Council would further entrench the unequal application of voting rights and representation. Separating Aucklanders into Māori and “everyone else” is divisive and damaging to cohesion in our society. Communities thrive when everyone gets a fair go and has the same rights under the law. The incoming Government is yet to be formed, but National, Act, and New Zealand First have all expressed opposition to co-governance and commitment to equality before the law.
It is fundamental to the job of councillors that they should make every effort to make decisions to the benefit of all. It is wrong to suggest that they can only represent people of the exact same demographic as them. They should make decisions on behalf of and for young and old, poor and rich, males and females, religious and non-religious, and people from every ethnic background. Separate Māori seats will result in the election of councillors who are accountable only to Māori, with no obligation to consider the interests of the wider community.
Not only are Māori disproportionately over-represented in local government, a quick look at Parliament shows that Māori have been very successful at earning seats in our central government. For example, at the 2023 election, Act, Greens, New Zealand First, and Te Pati Māori all had Māori leaders/co-leaders.