I guess it was only a matter of time before someone would start advocating for Maori seats on all town councils. Ngati Whatua spokesman Ngarimu Blair declares:
““We will be looking to other iwi leaders and tribes from around the country to also join that chorus because there is a super city or super town coming to their tribes and there should be Maori seats on every council, every local government from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island. This issue is a national one, so I do think that will be something that the Maori Party will have to sit up and take notice of and carry through for us in future coalition deals.””
The evil cynic in me was struck by the absurdity of this idea when it comes to small town councils. Assuming that seats are allocated proportionally, one wonders:
- Who will fill up the quarter seat on the Gore Town Council, and will Mr. Blair be donating his leg for this purpose?
- Will their be a token Pakeha seat on the Tokoroa Town Council?
- As there are apparently only two Maoris in Cambridge, will they decide who gets the seat by coin toss?
OK, I’m only fooling, but, in general, the idea of Maori seats just makes me puzzled. Why, exactly, will Maori people in Maori predominant areas apparently vote for the white fella? There are several wards in the new supercity where I would have thought that a decent Maori candidate should be shoo-in. And, why, all of a sudden, is the idea of dedicated maori seats in all town councils now being mooted? Sounds suspiciously like naked political opportunism to me.
Can we please get some decent Maori candidates for the Auckland electorates. Now would be a perfect time to demonstrate that the Maori people have progressed beyond the patriarchal idea of token seats (Apartheid. indeed) and can take their place as an integral and vital part of New Zealand society – one that needs hand-outs from no man.