Virtue-signalling trumped rational debate when the Hastings District Council voted 10-4 on Thursday to enable four members of the Maori Joint Committee to sit and vote on the council’s four standing committees. The vote went through after an email campaign from Hobson's Pledge encouraging councillors to vote against the motion. Councillors received over 100 emails each.
The council’s move circumvented the requirement of Section 41 of the Local Government Act 2002 that only elected representatives may vote at full council meetings. It avoided a referendum because it was not a proposal for a Maori ward.
However, since all 14 councillors are members of the four standing committees (community development, finance and risk, strategy planning and partnerships, and works and services), the four voting tribal appointees could combine on these committees with the three Maori councillors to form a bloc of seven to support issues of concern to “tangata whenua”.
Would bloc voting occur? Maori councillor Jacoby Poulain appeared to assume that voting would be along racial lines when she said that a referendum on tribal appointees “would always be defeated in the community because only 20 per cent of the population is Maori”. See https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12217143&fbclid=IwAR1cdAyuJKW07AiJ9BB-LQOQ1wUKVL4GW30tz8_DD_HovyLXDjCpn11VMOE
Who are the “tangata whenua” that the voting tribal appointees are supposed to represent?
Ngati Kahungunu is the main iwi group in the area and Ngaio Tiuka, who was appointed to the finance and risk committee, works for a substantial local tribal business Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Inc as director of environment and natural resources. Tiuka has represented the iwi against the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council over water issues. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12217484
Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Inc had a turnover of around $6 million in the 2017-2018 financial year and plans to buy a controlling stake in Hawke’s Bay Seafoods.
It looks like the main interests that voting tribal appointees will push will be those of Ngati Kahungunu.
The Maori-disadvantage card was played, after the debate, by another Maori councillor, Henare O'Keefe, when he said that “Maori were over-represented in prisons, lower rates of numeracy and literacy, and in drug and alcohol abuse”, as if the four voting tribal appointees would in any way change that.
Mayoral hopeful Stuart Perry has already come out strongly against the move when he wrote in the Hawke’s Bay Today on Friday that “making decisions about the direction of our community is the responsibility of those councillors we elect”.
Local body elections are a few months away and mayor Sandra Hazlehurst and a few councillors may be in for a shock.
The names of the Hastings councillors who supported the change are listed at https://www.hobsonspledge.nz/separatists_gallery along with councillors elsewhere who voted for Maori wards, and the Environment Canterbury councillors who voted in favour of the Ngai Tahu Representation Bill.
17,256 sign against Canterbury tribal appointees
A total of 17,256 people have signed our Change.org petition to Environment Canterbury to block the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngai Tahu Representation) Bill, which would allow South Island tribe Ngai Tahu to appoint two representatives with voting rights onto the council in perpetuity.
The two appointees would sit and vote alongside the 14 elected councillors. As such, members of Ngai Tahu would be represented by the councillors they voted for as well as the Ngai Tahu appointees.
Ngai Tahu, which is also seeking more input on decision-making at The Otago Regional Council, has received $437 million in Treaty settlements since 1998.
Please click here to sign, or Google "change.org Ngai Tahu" and click on the link to "In a democracy, why should Ngai Tahu have more say than you?”
‘Equity for Maori’ pushed at hospital
Another play of the Maori-disadvantage card appeared last week when the Hawke's Bay District Health Board proposed changing the wording on its strategy statements from "Equity for all" to "Equity for Maori".
Hine Flood, on behalf of the Maori Relationship Board, recommended the adjustment at a DHB meeting on Wednesday, based on Health Minister David Clark's Letter of Expectations for DHBs for 2019/2020.
In the letter Clark said achieving equity within the New Zealand health system underpins all of [his] priorities because "Maori as a population group experience the poorest health outcomes. As you consider equity within your district, there needs to be an explicit focus on achieving equity for Maori across their life course."
The suggested virtue-signalling race-based slogan shows a failure to understand that true equity would require all in need of hospital treatment being treated equally irrespective of race. See https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12217542&fbclid=IwAR2R7UN47MAeBw0bdJpO48-S0Nre1F-UJh3MBmv7py6nZkIvQqPjJdWD3hg
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