Tuku Morgan voices his opinion that:
“The Government’s denial of Maori representation on the Auckland Super City Council is a stark sign of the lowly status accorded to Maori in New Zealand.”
It strike me that one could view this the other way round as well – that National and Act think well enough of Maori that they think they can stand on their own feet without the prop of racially allocated seats. In other words it is a stark sign that New Zealanders in general now regard Maori as “part of us” rather than “poor, victimised brown people”.
While I agree that the treaty of Waitangi would dictate that Maori should have adequate input into all levels of government, guaranteeing seats at all levels of government would seem to be a very poor way of doing it. Even in parliament, the Maori party represent a very small bloc of seats that Key could easily have ignored completely, in the same way Clark did with the “last cab off the rank” (probably the most poisonous racist remark I have ever heard in New Zealand). Essentially the provision of seats only has significance in a balance of power situation, or when the “white” party is interested in dialogue. This means that the entrenchment of partnership envisaged by the treaty is not achieved by guaranteed seats but by (surprise, surprise!) willing participation on both sides.
To my mind, so far, National has upped the ante in treaty participation by saying to Maori “we want you to walk along side us – as part of us” as opposed to “here are your guaranteed seats – now be quiet and don’t annoy us”. Not guaranteeing Maori seats in the New Auckland council, is not denying representation, it is allowing Maori to stand candidates who will appeal across the spectrum of voters.
Frankly, if you don’t believe that Maori have such people then you really are a racist, no matter what your skin colour.