Entrenchment back on the agenda

Written By: - Date published: 5:18 pm, April 30th, 2009 - 44 comments
Categories: labour, maori party, Maori seats, national - Tags:

Good to see Labour pursuing a private member’s bill to entrench the Maori seats. Mita Ririnui, who’s lodging the bill, says it

“will ensure that the Maori seats in Parliament will not be able to be abolished unless 75 per cent of MPs in any Parliament vote in favour of such a move.

‘The only other way the seats would be able to be abolished under the Bill, would be if a majority of Maori electors voted in a referendum to support such a step.

As No Right Turn points out the bill will require support from National if it’s going to pass its third reading by 75% – something that is very unlikely given National required the Maori Party to give up its efforts to entrench the seats as part of their supply and confidence deal.

But it does put entrenchment back on the agenda and it forces the Maori Party into a difficult choice. Will Sharples and Turia take a principled stand against National, or will they betray their own membership for short-term political power?

UPDATE: And the answer is… 500 words of waffle and obfuscation from the Maori Party. They’re seriously backing the party of Orewa over their own people on this, what a disgrace.

44 comments on “Entrenchment back on the agenda”

  1. BLiP 1

    This is great news. Let the games begin.

  2. Will Sharples and Turia take a principled stand against National, or will they betray their own membership for short-term political power?

    Guess.

    • Tane 2.1

      God, 500 words of waffle and obfuscation. What a disgrace.

      • Ari 2.1.1

        I wouldn’t call it that. I’d say it’s five hundred words of them being angry at Labour for not taking their side in the first place.

  3. bobo 3

    Nice to see Labour forcing the issue, can the Maori Party abstain their vote? still a cop out though.

  4. BLiP 4

    C’mon Labour – eat up those dead rats – want some sauce?

  5. dave 5

    well, at my place I said this

    While in Government Labour pushed through legislation that affected about 300 people a year. That was the Civil Union Act. Then they pushed through a bill they did not expect to be upheld. That was the anti smacking legislation. They then pushed through a bill that it did not want to enforce – the Electoral Finance Act. Now it wants to push through a bill that with a primary aim other than that of passage. The aim is purely to piss off both the Maori Party and National – for different reasons – and Labour is using Parliament’s lowest profile Maori MP to do it.

  6. djp 6

    one law for all I say

    why should one race have preference over another?

    • DeeDub 6.1

      How about a little thing called The Treaty Of Waitangi?!!! The founding document of the country you are now free to display your ignorance to.

      Can I humbly suggest you learn some of your own country’s history?

      • djp 6.1.1

        hmmm.. can you show me the relevant part of the treaty that specifies race based seats?

        The treaty was signed in 1840 yet the race based seats were enacted in 1867, I find it quite doubtful (though I am not a scholar on the subject) that race based seats are mandated in the treaty.

        I can see an argument for race based seats in the 1800’s when Maori would not be familiar with the Westminster style of parliament but in the year 2009 this kind of racial discrimination needs to be abolished (esp given the bill was intended as a temporary measure).

        Can I humbly suggest you back up your assertions with references?

        • Pascal's bookie 6.1.1.1

          The seats are not specified in the treaty, but that is irrelevant. You are shifting the goal posts. What is mandated and specified in the treaty is that Maori are not just ‘a minority’, that their status in NZ is different. They are entitled by the treaty to retain their Rangatiratanga.

          It’s the second article, for your reference.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rangatiratanga

          That’s for starters, google is your friend.

          Why exactly would a supposed unfamiliarity with the Westminster system be an argument for racially based seats for Maori?

          Some more useful questions. Why weren’t Maori allowed on the general roll? How many seats would have they got on a population based method? Why was it thought to be only a temporary measure?

          • Graeme 6.1.1.1.1

            1. Maori were allowed on the general roll (in the same manner that British settlers were).

            2. I don’t know. How many seats would British settlers have gotten on a population-based method.

            3. It was temporary so that Maori would have enough time so that they could meet the required tests for the general roll.

          • Pascal's bookie 6.1.1.1.2

            1) .

            Between 1893 and 1975, those persons of more than half Mäori descent were not allowed to vote in a European electorate. Those of less than half Mäori descent were only able to vote in a European electorate.

            Only since 1975 has a person with some degree of Mäori descent been able to choose whether to vote in a Mäori or general electorate.

            In 1993 each Mäori seat represented an average electoral population of 68,150. Each general electorate seat in 1993 represented an electoral population of 33,457.

            http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PubRes/Research/Papers/5/b/e/5be4b516b3e84485a057b15dbaf4bede.htm

            2)

            Four seats were a fairly modest concession: on a per capita basis at that time, Maori deserved 14 to 16 members (Europeans then had 72).

            http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/maori-and-the-vote/setting-up-seats

            3) Enough time to assimilate and do away with their ‘communal property ownership” you mean? I’m not clear what you mean.

          • Graeme 6.1.1.1.3

            Of course. I’m not sure why now (perhaps because the second question must be linked to a specific time), I answered the questions from the introduction of democracy in NZ in 1853, or the Maori seats in 1867.

            But “Only since 1975 has a person with some degree of Mäori descent been able to choose whether to vote in a Mäori or general electorate.” is not true. Prior to 1893 Maori could vote on the general roll. It was only once the temporary ‘solution’ (to the problem of their being many Maori, but few qualified to vote, which wasn’t really fair) was seen to have become permanent that this occurred.

            Yes – the rationale behind having temporary seats was that Maori would have sufficient time to turn their communally-owned property into freehold title, and then more would meet the property test that was then a requirement for entry onto the general roll.

      • Jared 6.1.2

        The Treaty of Waitangi was signed 169 years ago. It has never been legally ratified, and to be perfectly honest, only serves to create a division in society, cultural apartheid if you will. At what point do we stand up and say, let history stay in the history books and move forward. In the 2006 census 14% of respondents identified with Maori as their ethnicity, 9% identified with Asian, do they get seats allocated in Parliament? Or is that strictly reserved for Maori. Our society is far more ethnically diverse than ever before, perhaps we should be trying to address our widespread problems than perpetuating a sense of “entitlement” to a minority simply because they were here first.

        • sean 6.1.2.1

          So do you oppose National working with the Maori Party, who attach great importance to the Treaty?

          • Jared 6.1.2.1.1

            Not at all. I think Maori as a whole will benefit from a more inclusive administration where their views and opinion are included and discussed rather than being ignored as Labour often did. The Maori party are working on behalf, and for the Maori population in NZ, so obviously they would attach greater importance to the Treaty of Waitangi, I wasn’t disputing that notion. I was however, dismissing the relevance of Maori Seats in a multicultural society where Maori are already well represented in the Major political parties, and in this current administration, even hold critical ministerial portfolios. Maori are grossly over represented in corrections, education and healthcare statistics in NZ, do you think their position would improve purely by retaining Maori Seats or by in the current administration Pita Sharples holding the Minister of Maori Affairs portfolio, Associate Minister for Corrections and Education, and Tariana Turia Associate Minister of Health, Minister for Social Development and Employment.

  7. errrrr

    Don’t see much waffle or obfuscation here…

    “”But more importantly, the nation will be asking, if it was such a good idea, why didn’t Labour do something about it in the long nine years of its office? ”

    although I defer to your vast experience in such communication modes

    • Pascal's bookie 7.1

      Dude please, that particular quote is pure waffle, I really do hope it’s not the strongest part of the release.

      ‘But more importantly

      This means ‘The following is what I want you to focus on, pay attention to this first’

      the nation will be asking,

      This means ‘here is what I want you to think’. Do you see what they did there? Phrasing what they want you to ask as ‘what you are already asking’

      if it was such a good idea, why didn’t Labour do something about it in the long nine years of its office? ‘

      This means,’let’s talk about motivations rather than the issue at hand. Please, ’cause I really don’t want to talk about the issue.’

      They are asking you ‘not to think about the policy please, here’s an ad hom argument to ponder instead.’

      They are explicitly saying that the most important thing about this bill is that Labour didn’t pass it over the last 9 years, rather than it’s content, mumble mumble look over there it’s the good year blimp. That’s like definitive waffle and obfuscation.

      • Jared 7.1.1

        Lets get to the point. I don’t think entrenching Maori Seats is the right or democratic thing to do. You are securing rights for a minority that are already well served under current legislation and have adequate representation in all major political parties without the need for specific Maori Seats. Happy?
        Except, why DIDN’T Labour entrench Maori seats if they thought it was such a good idea when they had the chance? Lets really talk about Motivations. We are looking at a Labour party that is for once on the back foot, polling low nationally with their leader scoring third on the preferred PM stakes. Are Labour really looking to entrench Maori Seats or just try and cause trouble? But then again, we both know the answer to that one.

        • Pascal's bookie 7.1.1.1

          Lets get to the point. I don’t think entrenching Maori Seats is the right or democratic thing to do.

          Personally I don’t believe that what you think is the point. And the point of the comment you replied to wasn’t the seats, but whether that quote was waffle. But nevermind.

          As far as I’m concerned, whether or not the seats should be done away with is an issue for Maori to decide. I do not think that such a thing should be imposed by the Crown against Maori wishes as there has been far too much of that sort of thing in our history for my liking as it is.

          I agree that Maori can get representation easier under MMP than FPP, but the existence of the seats does not bother me overmuch. It’s a non issue in my view. I accept that it is not a non issue for many Maori however. This bill would mean that the Crown will find it difficult to abolish the seats without Maori consent, yet would allow Maori to do so when they wish. That looks close to my position, so I support it on those terms.

          Given that reasoning, Labour’s motivations are irrelevant to me, a distraction. Whether or not they are trying to cause trouble doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t know, don’t care. I’m partisan toward policies and principles, not parties.

          But off course political motivations are in play. That is legitimate. Do you really think there were no political motivations in play when the National and Maori parties signed their agreement? It’s just silly to be suckered in by that spin.

          Parties are vehicles for voters to get the policies they want. As a voter, I would suggest focussing attention on those policies, and watching out for politicians games. They want you to identify very closely with the party, not the policy, for various reasons, not all of which are malevolent. free advice, for what it’s worth.

        • Graeme 7.1.1.2

          Except, why DIDN’T Labour entrench Maori seats if they thought it was such a good idea when they had the chance?

          How about: ‘because they and their supporters on this issue never had the 75% majority required in Parliament to actually do this’?

          National’s + Act’s House strength has always been above 25%, even in 2002-2005.

  8. How will the Maori Party react when they see how principled this government really is? With their infiltration of the Public Sector and the fact they are spitting at the idea of seperation of powers. Using private contractors to create a climate of fear within ministries by threatening ‘downsizing’, I have covered Chris Hipkins and Grant Robertsons revelations here Makes all the accusations of Helengrad look extremely hypocritical!

    Sorry for a little bit of threadjacking, I was pretty pissed off.

  9. The Press Release by Sharples/Turia is a joke. One issue with all this I have is that this is only a private members bill right? so it has to be drawn first? What are the chances of that happening? It would be very very interesting if it was, could cause a massive shift of the seats!

  10. From NZPA – “Mr Ririnui said the Maori Party leaders were “just waffling” because they didn’t know what to do about the bill.”

    Heh, well said.

  11. “We will certainly look at Mita Ririnui’s private members bill, but of course having a good idea and actually getting legislation in place, are worlds apart.”

    (My emphasis)

    Since when did the Maori Party decide to adopt C&T speak?

    • “Since when did the Maori Party decide to adopt C&T speak?”

      Correct me if I’m wrong………..wasn’t there recently an election campaign where the incumbents tried to paint opposition tactics perpetually as ” C&T speak”…….and it kinda got NO traction, resulting in a shellacking for the incumbents?

      anyhoo…continue as is

  12. gobsmacked 12

    There is the Maori Party, and there is Turia and Sharples.

    Tariana Turia has already said that she will retire at the end of this term. Pita Sharples will be 70 at the next election. They are two old people in a hurry.

    It is very sad, because the Maori Party could have a profound and positive influence on NZ politics and life. But their leaders have made their choice, and now they are doing what people do when they know they have pushed the boat out for the last time … they are justifying (perhaps even to themselves) their course of action, and continuing regardless, until they sink.

    At some point Maori voters – and the Maori Party – will say they have had enough, and reject the National/ACT agenda. But by then it will be too late for Turia and Sharples, and they will go down with the ship.

    Let’s just hope Labour do more of this (i.e. Ririnui) and less of the Clayton Cosgrove approach. It will be tempting to exploit the Maori Party’s suicidal tendencies, but they should not do so by swinging right.

  13. gingercrush 13

    I have to agree that the Maori party’s press release was silly. I don’t even understand why they put it out. If this bill happened to make it into the house. The Maori Party could easily be in favour for it. It wouldn’t break their confidence and supply agreement. I can’t even see National being pissed off about it. They have the numbers with Act and United Future to block it. Problem solved.

    • sean 13.1

      they have the numbers to block it alone. Entrenching legislation must be passed with the same supermajority that it requires to be repealed.

  14. sean 14

    The Maori Party doesn’t want to have to vote on the opposite side to National on such a big issue, and there is little to no chance that National would ever vote for entrenchment (maybe they could offer their MPs a conscience vote, it still wouldn’t get the numbers).

    So the Maori Party’s reaction is to try to delegitimise the Bill to give them an excuse to vote against it… but could they do it? Surely not, it would be the death of them.

  15. Jared 15

    Unless I am mistaken, no where in the press release did the Maori Party say they wouldn’t vote for the bill. Don’t confuse a discussion around legislating the entrenching of the Maori seats with the idea of entrenching seats. In the press release the Maori Party even commend the Labour party for supporting a long standing Maori Party policy, the same Labour Party crying foul over democratic participation yet ignored Maori rights when they legislated against Maori foreshore and seabed rights.

  16. emmess 16

    Nice one Labour
    Push an issue that 89% of the public are against (according to a Herald poll on Auckland Maori seats)
    You lot really have no idea do you?

    [lprent: you really have no idea do you. Making a claim like that without offering a link around here is regarded as “yet another bullshitting troll trying to start a flamewar”.

    I see that you’ve read the about, check out our policy on flaming and trolling.

    I think you’re probably lying about there being a poll of any kind – even those useless online ones. It sounds like you’re just trying to start a flamewar. It is up to you to produce evidence that there was a poll. Otherwise I’ll assume your only purpose was to flame. I’ll be happy with a link to prove that I had a mis-assessment. ]

    • gobsmacked 16.1

      If you mean the usual Herald online click-count (not a poll), 89% would probably be in favour of the electric chair for taggers. And … so what?

      (Edit: And, having checked, it turns out you are lying. There is no such poll.)

    • jarbury 16.2

      A herald poll is like asking kiwiblog commenters whether they want a hike in income tax, or asking people on this blog whether they want to privatise the education system. Hardly scientific.

  17. SPC 17

    There is one question that should be asked of the MP – why are they part of this government?

    Is it to achieve anything, or simply to have a seat at the table? Is being there all that they can hope to achieve (the beginning of a role as Peter Dunne’s other wig), to restore Maori mana by being merely the silent and compliant partner to Pakeha led government?

  18. exbrethren 18

    Turia says that Labour “for nine years, had a clear majority”.

    Appears she has difficulties with numbers.

  19. BR 19

    The Maori seats are a disgrace. They are racist. There can never be equality under the law while the Maori seats exist. They should have been abolished years ago.

    Bill.

  20. emmess 20

    Bullshit
    Are you guys fucking blind?
    http://dynamic.nzherald.co.nz/poll/pub/polls/index.cfm?action=results&pollid=7D01232E-D291-9082-8362C8C5F0F7C4A9
    The results changed are little bit since I saw it though
    Anyway even if for one second even if I accepted that the Herald was biased to the right, which I don’t, Why would that stop people of all political persuasions checking out the web site of the ONLY daily newspaper in their city?

    • lprent 20.1

      It is easy – I don’t believe the ‘poll’. It is on-line and has no effective validation. It is the type of ‘poll’ you do when you want a headline or something to stack.

      It is far to easy to spoof those types of ‘polls’. Just tell your mates and organize multi-hitting it. The most extreme example of that are the ‘polls’ that are done on debates. Just spend money calling the 0900 and you can make it get set to anything.

      It also takes very little to write some code to allow you to vote as many times as possible on web-polls. On ones that have e-mail you simply write some php (or whatever) code to send a mail message from multiple addresses. With the ones that are just online write code to send the appropriate POST or to send key or mouse clicks. If they actually look at IP addresses, you could simply get the computer to disconnect/reconnect, or use a more sophisticated

      Anyway, the nett effect is that every online ‘poll’ I’ve ever seen seems to be strongly skewed one way or another. The fact that you think they are valid speaks volumes about your credulous nature.

      BTW: Who reads newspapers these days. It is easier to read online and therefore read any online news.

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