Labour list MP Kiri Allan should explain why she thinks Maori aren't good enough to foot it with other Kiwis and need separate wards, Hobson’s Pledge spokesperson Casey Costello said today. The Whakatane-based MP spoke out against a petition calling for a district-wide vote on a proposal by the Whakatane District Council to set up a Maori ward or wards.
“Why does she look down on Maori?” Ms Costello said. “Why does she talk down to Maori? Why does she want to isolate Maori from the rest of the country?”
“I challenge her to have a bit of pride in her race,” Ms Costello said.
A proper debate on the issue would reveal the unintended consequences of setting up such wards, she said.
For instance, with 55 percent of people with Maori ancestry voting on the Maori roll, any Maori ward or wards in Whakatane would represent only 55 percent of Maori living there.
When Kiri Allan said that “there hasn't been a lot of Maori representation at a council level” she does not say that currently three of the seven Murupara community board members have Maori names as has one on the Taneatua board.
Another problem that Kiri Allan seems unaware of is that Maori roll voters would be restricted to the Maori candidates, and are locked in for two elections because they may only choose between being on the Maori roll and the general roll once every five years, after the census is held.
Ms Costello said there is no need for special measures for Maori because Maori are achieving on merit.
She cited New Zealand First MP Ron Mark, who told Parliament late last year that: “There are those of us in Maoridom who subscribe to a view that we attain and achieve on merit. We either succeed or we do not on our own abilities. Jerry Mateparae did not become the Governor-General of New Zealand or the Chief of Defence Force or the Chief of Army or an SAS officer simply because he was Maori”.
She also cited the National MP for Whangarei, Dr Shane Reti, who said: “The goal of increasing Maori representation is valiant and I support this………….Let us do this on merit”.
Kiri Allan should explain why she thinks Maori aren't good enough to foot it with everyone else and need separate wards, Ms Costello said.
Casey Costello (027) 532 4959