You have until December 14 to put in your submission against Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene’s bill that would require a 75 percent majority in Parliament to scrap the Maori seats.
The Maori Representation Act of 1867 provided for the election of four Maori MPs by Maori males (including those 50 percent Maori) aged 21 and over because a requirement to own land to the value of £25 disqualified most Maori men from voting.
Any need for special Maori representation in government disappeared in 1893, when New Zealand became the first nation in the world to grant universal, male and female, adult suffrage.
The Royal Commission on the Electoral System recommended in 1986 that the Maori seats be scrapped if NZ adopted MMP.
We believe that Maori seats are not necessary for decisions in Parliament, which are for the benefit of everyone irrespective of ethnicity.
The separate seats that perpetuate separate, race-based treatment have not benefitted Maori and run the risk of spreading through local government, which is the last thing taxpayers and ratepayers need.
The 2017 election, that brought to Parliament 29 MPs with Maori ancestry, 22 of whom came in on the general roll, show that those with Maori ancestry are perfectly capable of being elected without the need for the Maori seats.
Indeed, even without those elected in the Maori seats, Maori MPs constitute over 18 percent of all Members of Parliament.
Ngai Tahu and the permanent council seats
Ngai Tahu, the white South Island “tribe” that has received $437-million in Treaty settlements since 1998, is in the process of creating two permanent seats for itself on the body that will replace Environment Canterbury.
In 2010, when ECAN was replaced by seven commissioners, Ngai Tahu got to appoint one commissioner.
When, in 2016, the Environment Canterbury (Transitional Governance Arrangements) Bill aimed to introduce seven elected councillors to join six government-appointed commissioners, Ngai Tahu asked to appoint three commissioners and got to appoint two.
Because that arrangement was to end next year, a further bill called the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngai Tahu Representation) Bill would permit Ngai Tahu to appoint up to two members to the Regional Council.
Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene will shepherd the bill through Parliament.
Tirikatene affiliates to Ngai Tahu and is the grandson of Sir Eruera Tirikatene, the MP who shepherded through Parliament the Ngaitahu Claim Settlement Act 1944, which brought the tribe a “full and final” settlement of £300,000, payable at a rate of £10,000 a year for 30 years.
If racially elected councillors are not wanted, as we found out by referendum results in May in five areas where Maori wards were proposed, racially appointed councillors would be even less popular.
Crown Law big on virtue signalling
During an exchange at the High Court in Auckland on Tuesday, Justice Timothy Brewer told Crown Law lawyer Zannah Johnston that she had the right to speak Māori in court, but the rules required her to give three days’ notice.
"I do not speak Maori, and I cannot have counsel speaking in my court if I don't know what they are saying, the public doesn't know what they are saying and other counsel don't know what they are saying," Justice Brewer said.
Johnston replied she would speak English and provided the judge with a translation of her introduction that included her name, her colleague's name and who they were representing.
Courts are now often opened in Maori, as in "Kia rite mo te Kaiwhakawa o te Kuini, e tu koa", which translates to: "Silence, all stand for His/Her Honour the Queen's Judge".
Newcomers to a court session may be startled at a sudden barrage in Maori without translation without realising that they are being asked to stand as the Judge enters.
Language affords us the ability to communicate anything we can imagine. In the High Court on Tuesday, the un-notified introduction in Maori by a Crown solicitor gave the appearance that Crown Law was putting virtue signalling before comprehension.
Parihaka Maori cave story debunked
A widely believed urban myth about Maori prisoners and a Dunedin cave with a built-in steel door has been debunked.
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum curator Sean Brosnahan spent the past four years researching the story of Maori prisoners arrested at Parihaka, Taranaki, being held captive in a cave in Shore St between 1869 and 1881.
No evidence was found to support the cave story and instead some evidence suggested the cave door was not even built until the early 20th century.
His research was made public for the first time at a lecture at the museum on November 4.
The way the prisoners were guarded, documents from the time they spent in the Dunedin prison, and information about who owned the land at the time, all pointed towards the story being false, he said.
There was also specific evidence which related to the work done on the Andersons Bay causeway in about 1871, which suggested it was unlikely the prisoners would have been kept in the cave.
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