The ODT says:
That Maori believe they are entitled to separate representation because of the treaty is a claim not tested in law, though it may yet be; that seats should be provided for them piecemeal, council by council, as a “gesture” is patronising and scarcely credible.
What next? That each tribe should have a seat? The Cabinet decision may appear to have effectively pre-empted change, but the issue will doubtless return when Parliament debates the legislation. The Government should not retreat from its position.
The Manawatu Standard says Maori deserve better than this:
The Government’s decision to exclude Maori seats from the new Auckland super city council was the wrong one.
It is a victory for populism over courage, and political expediency over the much more arduous pursuit of justice. What is it that makes acknowledging that Maori hold a special status in this country as its indigenous people so utterly distasteful to so many? Why can we not see any further back than the myopia of Brash-era thinking and view the issue of Maori representation through a broader historical context?
If that were to happen, people like ACT leader Rodney Hide might cease his “one man, one vote” yammering and see an indigenous people whose sense of identity is inextricably linked to the land, and who were systematically marginalised as it was taken from them, divided up and sold for profit particularly in Auckland.
Is it such anathema to ensure they have input into how that land is governed now?
Just two editorials this morning on the issue and they have opposing views.
I’m with the ODT.
The Nelson Mail says:
Maori are perfectly capable of being elected on their merits when they put themselves forward alongside people of other races. Special consultation is a good thing and already required of all councils by the local government legislation. Guaranteeing seats based on race is something else.
The Taranaki Daily News writes on giving up seats so they can stand:
Are they really so disparaging of their own political prowess that they feel they need a leg-up to compete with others in the political arena? . . .
. . . Prime Minister John Key’s announcement that Cabinet will not support separate Maori seats for the Auckland super city is a tip of the hat to the mature political force and nous within Maoridom, rather than a denigration of its status.
It is a recognition that a great deal has happened in the 140 years since Maori seats were established in Parliament in 1868, that much progress has been made to advance the Maori voice, and that they no longer need to stand on the shoulders of others to get noticed.
In fact, we would go so far as to say the idea that Maori need some kind of false apparatus or rigged game to secure their place at the table is patronising and potentially racist in its intentions, a colonial sop that gives the pretence of power while keeping the reins in the hands of the few.
That might have been appropriate 140 years ago, when Maori were a nascent political force still finding their way and learning the ropes.