MIchael Bassett calls the current government the worst he’s seen in his lifetime:
Have you noticed the ways in which New Zealand’s mainspring seems gradually to be unwinding with Jacinda Ardern’s government? A collection of small things add up to an unfolding collapse of civil society as we have known it. . .
We are experiencing the worst government of my lifetime, one that has caused more damage and divisiveness in our society, than there has been at any time since the Great Depression.
Last week there were another step away from democracy and towards division.
. . . Mahuta has slipped a change into a piece of legislation that will make it mandatory for councils every six years to consider whether they should introduce Maori wards.
When they meet for their six-yearly Representation Review, the first step councils must take must be a decision about whether to establish Māori wards or constituencies.
That makes it very likely, doesn’t it, that a lot of councils will opt to introduce Māori wards. Because if they consider the wards and then actively choose not to introduce them, what are they?
That’s the response to any criticism of the government’s divisive race-based agenda.
Instead of responding with reasoned argument explaining or justifying proposals, proponents simply call the critics racist.
And no one wants to be called a racist so they’ll probably just end up taking the easy option and introducing the Māori wards.
Clever politics, Nanaia.
And what’s more, because she popped these changes into an omnibus piece of law with a whole bunch of other boring, technical changes for local elections most people seem to have totally missed it.
In fact, from what I can see, no one’s reported on it in the 26+ hours since she put out her press release.
What’s especially clever here is that Nanaia is forcing something on ratepayers that ratepayers don’t want, but really can’t stop. . .
Another step towards further division and less democracy will come this week with the third reading of the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill.
A National Government will restore the basic principle that all New Zealanders have equal voting rights, National’s Justice spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.
“It’s astounding that any party should have to make such a promise – given most Kiwis take equal voting rights for granted – but that basic principle is being undermined by the Labour Government.
“On Wednesday, Labour and the Greens are set to vote for the third reading of the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill. The legislation removes both equal voting rights in that region, as well as the basic principle of democratic accountability.
“The Bill will give Ngāi Tahu the right to appoint two councillors. Since Māori will have had an equal vote in the appointment of the other 14 councillors, this arrangement gives Ngāi Tahu voters extra voting power.
“Since the Ngāi Tahu appointments are permanent, the normal rules of accountability do not apply. The universal principle that politicians are better behaved when they know they can be thrown out at the next election, will not apply for these councillors in Canterbury.
“Once this Bill is passed this week, against strong opposition from National, we can be sure that other regions will try to follow.
“Labour members on the Māori Affairs Committee are still trying to resurrect the Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill, which would move away from equal rights for the Rotorua District Council.
“This is anti-democratic and divisive.
“This morning on Q&A, when quizzed on whether co-governance in Three Waters gave Māori disproportionate power, the Prime Minister’s only response was that “democracy is democracy”.
“New Zealanders don’t need meaningless blather from the Prime Minister. They need a resolute defence of basic democratic principles.
“Equal voting rights and accountability at the ballot box are basic principles and National will restore them if returned to office in 2023.”
Voters will have a stark choice at next year’s election.
They can vote for more divisiveness under a Labour and Green government or they can vote for a return to democracy with equal representation with a National-led government.