Help trigger votes on Maori wards proposals
Councillors in New Plymouth, Tauranga, the Northland Regional Council, Kaipara, Whangarei, and Ruapehu have decided, without mandate, from July 21 to November 3, 2020, to introduce Maori wards.
Citizens have a right to petition for a vote on the proposals and signatures are being collected in those areas.
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has threatened to remove the right to a petition by amending the Local Electoral Act 2001.
By signalling such an intention, Mahuta seems ignorant of the fact that the petition rights she wants to repeal are an important democratic safeguard, introduced by Helen Clark’s Labour Government, to protect voters from councils wanting to change constitutional arrangements without a mandate from their community.
There are legitimate and illegitimate ways to attempt to change constitutional arrangements such as a voting system.
A binding referendum would be a legitimate process.
Deals stitched-up after elections without changes having been signalled to voters by parties before the election, on something as fundamental as changing constitutional arrangements, are totally illegitimate.
We need volunteers in Northland, Whangarei, Kaipara, Ruapehu, Tauranga, and New Plymouth to collect signatures.
Northland residents may collect for two councils being the Northland Regional Council and the district council of the area they live in with the exception of the Far North District Council.
What you need to know:
- Council decisions are largely concerned with roads, drinking water, sewerage, and amenities such as libraries. There is no reason why separate wards are needed for Maori ratepayers
- Creating separate Maori wards will force all Maori on the Maori electoral roll into the special Maori ward, limiting their choice of candidates
- Since we all have the opportunity to represent our community through democratic elections on merit, it is demeaning and patronising to suggest that Maori candidates need special assistance to be elected
- Councillors should make decisions on behalf of and for the benefit of the whole community. Separating ratepayers into "Maori" and the "rest of us" is divisive and will damage our communities
The council votes can be overturned if locals can collect enough signatures requesting a binding referendum of residents.
Click here to hear Ron Mark's excellent speech against the Maori Party's Local Electoral (Equitable Process for establishing Maori Wards and Maori Constituencies) Bill in June 2017. The Bill presupposes that all Maori think alike". Fortunately the Bill was defeated.
Tauranga City petition
Tauranga City Councillors have agreed to introduce a Maori ward. You can have YOUR say by signing this petition. If we collect 5000 signatures to submit before February 21, 2021, the council must hold a binding poll asking whether a Maori ward should proceed.
We believe that Maori wards are not necessary for council decisions, which are mainly to do with roads, clean drinking water, sewage, drainage, libraries, sports facilities and cultural centres, all of which are for the benefit of everyone irrespective of ethnicity. The added cost and red tape of a Maori ward is the last thing ratepayers need.
Please sign this petition to trigger a city wide vote on whether to proceed with a Maori ward.
For more information contact Ken Evans (027) 733 9686