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Maori seats for Auckland?

Written By: - Date published: 3:10 pm, November 16th, 2010 - 6 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, democracy under attack, leadership, len brown, Maori seats - Tags: , ,

National’s handling of the Auckland SuperCity process was profoundly undemocratic in a multitude of ways. Thank goodness, and the common sense of Aucklanders, that a “Labour Mayor from South Auckland” was elected to sort out at least some of the resulting mess. I’ve already written on one such example:

Brown’s policy gives communities more say than law provides

Local boards will control transport issues in their communities and grassroots politicians will sit on planning hearings under a policy from Super City mayoral contender Len Brown. In his first major policy announcement, the Manukau mayor has promised to extend the roles and functions of local boards beyond those proposed by the agency designing the Super City.

Despite the law stating that all transport matters will be vested in a mega-council-controlled organisation to allocate to politicians as it saw fit, Mr Brown said local boards should be responsible for local roads, footpaths, pedestrian zones, bus stops, speed limits and local public transport. … Mr Brown has promised to allow local board members to sit on resource consent hearings in “their own back yard” instead of solely relying on the Super City planning department, which will be on the North Shore.

Now Brown is addressing another particularly shameful broken National promise:

Brown pledges talks on dedicated Maori seats

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has given an undertaking to the influential Iwi Leadership Group to talk to the new Auckland Council about dedicated Maori seats on the council. But no quick decisions are expected to be taken. …

The request to discuss Maori representation on the council was put by Tainui leader Tukoroirangi Morgan and Ngati Whatua leader Naida Glavish. Mr Morgan said last night that Mr Brown gave an undertaking to discuss the issue with his new council which has only just been sworn in. He had said it was a serious issue and it would be discussed comprehensively.

Dr Sharples told the Herald last night that Mr Brown had given an undertaking to take the issue to his new council and go through a process and it could take a year or so. … Dr Sharples said it would be a gradual process “and we are quite happy to settle for that”.

National’s handling of this issue was undemocratic and insulting. Despite election promises to respect the Royal Commission’s findings it ditched the recommendation for Maori seats on the council. After the subsequent Hikoi in protest, Key promised to consider the issue again in select committee, but before the committee process was even finished he announced that there would be no Maori seats. It’s great to see that Len Brown is open to correcting this injustice.

6 comments on “Maori seats for Auckland?”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    So, why is he talking to the Iiw leadership Group rather than the affected Iwi?

    Not that I think that Maori seats has anything to do with democracy anyway. It’s bound up in the delusional Identity Politics.

  2. tc 2

    len needs to be careful as this issue cuts both ways with NACT proving very adept playing the race card when it suits….iwi not kiwi and all that.

    I’d prefer to see Len really driving through on the lack of accountability the CCO’s have to the publicly elected officials at council and local board level and Mike Lee using his knowledge of transport issues to ‘hold welly’s feet to the fire’ as the former mayor used to say.

  3. Carol 3

    I think there should be some dedicated Maori seats in the council. The story out west for the local iwi (largely Te Kawerau ā Maki), is one of initial excluson from local councils and invisibility in the local culture, followed by gradual movements towards inclusion, while not fully being included as a group within council with a direct voice in decision-making.

    The first local council out west was, I think, the Waitemata County Council. Initially, in the late 19th century, voting & representation was only for men with property. By that time Te Kawerau ā Makihad lost most of their land one way or another, and were largely marginalised to Te Henga (Bethells area). Many moved back into the centre of west Auckland from the 1950s onwards.

    There was a noticeable shift towards involvment in the council and local community. For instance,there are now quite a few carvings in public spaces, marking the history of local iwi in the area.

    Since the advent of the Waitakere City Council, in around 1990 a standing committee was set up, and a Memorandum of Understanding:

    http://www.hrc.co.nz/home/hrc/humanrightsandthetreatyofwaitangi/crown-tangatawhenuaengagement/manawhenuaandthewaitakerecitycouncil.php

    Te Taumata Rūnanga was set up in 1991. It is a standing committee of the Waitakere City Council, consisting of 10 mana whenua and other representatives, two members appointed by the council, and the mayor and deputy mayor (ex officio). The committee does not make representations on behalf of mana whenua, and does not serve as a consultation mechanism with them…

    There is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Te Kawerau ā Maki. This iwi and Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei exercise tino rangatiratanga in the kaitiakitanga of the environment. They have service-level agreements with the council that provide for:

    * preliminary consultation in respect of resource consent applications
    * preliminary consultation on any council project of relevance to the iwi
    * detailed involvement by negotiation in council projects of particular interest and relevance to the iwi.

    Waitakere City Council sponsors a regular engagement process with mana whenua and other urban Māori regarding district planning, policy development and service delivery that continues to develop a meaningful partnership as exemplified in the Treaty of Waitangi.

    It seems to me, that after being pushed off their land, and a long period of exclusion from public life and local politics and decision-making, they made some gains, but ones that don’t fully comepsate for all they’ve lost. I think it’s time for local iwi to have full direct representation on the new Auckland Council.

  4. The trend should be to reduce race-based seats, not increase them. A tweak to MMP abolishing the Maori seats should be available in the MMP referendum making the system more proportional, not less, due to overhang and unequally weighted votes. There is no need for Maori seats on Auckand Council because Maori are already capable like everybody else to get elected on the current one – and have been (Des Morrison).
    A better way to get more minority representation on Auckland Council is to abolish the ward system and go to city-wide lists where 5% of the vote gets you a seat.

  5. gingercrush 5

    What is the point in Maori seats? The turnout in general elections is barely above 50%. One can only imagine the turnout at a local level. OMG 20% turnout. How inspiring.

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