Rodney Hide on pandering to race-based lobbyists

Rodney Hide explains why race-based political parties are dangerous.

The People’s Party was announced this week with a narrower focus than its name suggests. Its target is Asian and ethnic voters and its issue is fighting crime.

Prime Minister John Key pooh-poohed the party’s chances and Winston Peters attacked another race-based party as divisive.

But our political discourse is increasingly about diversity and formal and informal quotas to achieve predetermined results. The call for diversity increasingly trumps the principle “one person, one vote”.

We have reserved seats in Parliament for Maori. So why not reserved seats for other groups? Once the principle of “one person, one vote” is given away it’s impossible to draw a sensible line.

My experience is with setting up the new Auckland Council. We almost had reserved council seats for Maori and as a consolation, the Maori Party pushed for a Maori Statutory Board. That left then Minister of Ethnic Affairs Pansy Wong aggrieved and so an Ethnic People’s Advisory Panel was ordered.

It had to be a panel not a board because ethnic groups were deemed less worthy than Maori because they came later and hadn’t signed the Treaty. I kid you not.

Of course, that was but the start.   

Once the council got going it felt Parliament hadn’t gone far enough and, to achieve more diversity, established a Senior’s Advisory Panel, a Pacific People’s Advisory Panel, a Youth Advisory Panel, a Disability Advisory Panel and Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel.

It would seem in the panel hierarchy the Rainbow Communities and Pacific People’s are of lesser significance than Ethnic Peoples because they don’t enjoy statutory protection.

That’s the nuttiness of dividing the body politic into groups of collective interest rather than staying with the principle of “one person, one vote” all voting in the same pool to achieve the “general good”.

Once the carve-up starts, there’s no logical end to it.

The People’s Party should not be disheartened. On present trends the parties will reserve places on their lists for the various groups and Parliament could well establish quota to ensure diversity.

You can’t have too much of a good thing.

I believe the People’s party will fail, or attract such and assortment of ratbags who will quickly be exposed it will fail from its own “success”.

By creating special classes of people we are very quickly alienating many other voters. I wonder how long before there will actually be a party formed called the Sensible party that will dispense with all this nonsense and actually do sensible things…like ban banning, or prevent horse floats, trailers, and caravans from travelling the highways during daylight hours.


– Herald on Sunday

  • H. Upmann

    Oh Rodney, why, why, why did you not just walk away as soon as “the Maori Party
    pushed for a Maori Statutory Board”? The red light was flashing, could you not
    see that? Because nek minnit “Minister of Ethnic Affairs (what a joke and
    money-burner) Pansy Wong aggrieved and so an Ethnic People’s Advisory Panel was

    That was not a foot in the door, it was blowing the whole building up.

    • Rodney_Hide

      Of course, but I had a conundrum. I put my warrant on the line to prevent reserved council seats. But unbeknownst to me National and the Maori Party did a deal behind my back for the Board.

      It was then sprung on me.

      It never occurred to me that National would agree to such a thing.

      My conundrum was then that we were so far advanced with setting up the new council that to walk would have derailed the reform.

      Auckland would have been left without the old councils but only half way to the new one.

      It was, as they say, a bugger.


      • johcar

        I’m not sure that “only half way to the new one” would necessarily have been a bad thing, given where we are now….

      • MyHovercraftIsFullOfEels

        Rodney I’d like to say, although the Supercity naturally appealed to me, (success of London Manchester etc) I notice Milton Friedman emphasised the importance of keeping gov’t as decentralised as possible, to maximise accountability.

        Looking at it now, was the SC a mistake?

        • Rodney_Hide

          Milton Friedman was clear that jurisdiction should be as local as possible but needs to match the decisions being made. All the big infrastructure decisions reach across the city. No one is suggesting a return to eight councils!

          The difficulty with local govt is the same one we face with central govt: the lack of any limit on what it does or should do and the lack of any cap on expenditure.

          Local government suffers further because most of what it does is mandated by central govt which has rendered small councils unable to do the job they are now ordered to do.

          The Auckland Council inherited 109 statutory functions!

          There was no enthusiasm from our coalition partner to limit either central or local government despite my best persuasion!


      • MrHippo

        And this would have been worse how? For starters the most likely would have been a smaller wages bill, there wouldn’t have been a reported 1.2b spent on IT systems integration, gosh knows how many billion on a train set, which only saw ridership increase due to the subsidy applied being greater than the fare, and perhaps there may have been the possibility of actual representation of the people rather than the unelected hobby project lobbyists who inhabit the various CCOs and council HQ.

  • john Doe

    With so much diversity in society these days, political parties need to scour the populous for potential politicians who tick many boxes. Are there any female, Asian transgenders who are senior citizens out there with an interest in politics?

  • MyKillS

    Can anyone else see the irony in a bunch of immigrants who came to this country because of its egalitarian society now wanting to start a race based party?

    The sooner we get to a zero tolerance for basing decisions on race the better off this country will be. We are one nation; we should act as one. I am continually reminded of JFK’s speech “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”.

    • Observer

      That’s a bit of a fantasy in my view. In a multicultural society – people are always going to advocate for their particular group. If they’re not on tv enough, if they’re not represented in parliament etc. I actually don’t mind this particular party to the extent they are fed up with NZ’s soft approach to violent criminals.

    • Brian Dingwall

      Of course we should all ask what our country is doing for us; after all, whatever it is doing, it is doing it with the money it has coercively removed from us.

  • John

    I look at the Maori electorates and believe that they remove representation rather than add it. Northland has just two general seats. The Maori seat swallows up a voice that should be calling for improved infrastructure, instead it gets Kelvin Davis who just campaigns to get more criminals, as though Northland does not have enough. Moari seats typically get for heir constituents little more than modern equivelents of beads and blankets. If the Maori seat disappeared overnight, there is a good chance that NZ First would win three seats in the North and addressing unemployment and infrastructure inadequacies would get the attention that Tauranga received in the 90s.

    The real stupidity is that both the current member for Northland and Whangarei are both part Maori so why aren’t they viewed by other Maori as acceptable representatives.

  • Second time around

    There is no such thing as common interests among immigrants, something the Peoples Party will discover as soon as it starts to collect funds and supporters. But in the few weeks before its expected demise it has served a useful purpose by allowing Rodney to rant on in the most widely read newspaper in the country about Maori representation and pretty every other group in society that he does not currently identify with.

    • Observer

      Hide is a libertarian, he’s never going to support special groups being given statutory status ahead of individual rights. As Ayn Rand said, the smallest minority is the individual.

  • peterwn

    “like ban banning, or prevent horse floats, trailers, and caravans from travelling the highways during daylight hours.”
    …… and B Doubles.

    • Ford

      Being the driver of a B Double, I am feeling micro aggression and somewhat discriminated against here. Where is a ‘safe space’ and a support group when you need one?

      • peterwn

        On the surface, B doubles would appear to be more disruptive than caravans etc. However caravans etc can be towed by anyone with a car licence and most such drivers would be very much part time. A ‘B Double’ requires a top level ‘class 5’ licence which only professional heavy drivers would get and a ‘B Double’ in the hands of such a driver would be less disruptive than a car and caravan.

        • Ford

          I feel much better now. Thank you.

  • Ruahine

    MMP is ideal for this type of political fragmentation or maybe representation.

    Just wait until there is enough members of the so called Religion of Peace manage to get here.

  • Observer

    The late Singapore leader Lee Kuan Yew pointed out that this tended to be inevitable in multi-racial democracies. People will often simply vote along religious or racial lines. Hide is right, it needs to be knocked on the head. In future, as they become minorities, there may have to be a European People’s Advisory Panel :-D

  • Rebecca

    If you ask the People’s Party to describe the criminals they want managed, you’ll soon see whether it’s a race-based party. Unfortunately, they do have a point.