You probably only had half an ear on the Winston Peters treaty stoush debacle upset thingy.  Helpfully, Richard Harman has distilled it down for those of us who couldn’t care less.

At issue is the wording in one Bill, Taranaki Iwi Claims Settlement Bill, which would require the Taranaki Regional Council to appoint six iwi members, three on the Policy and Planning Committee, and three on the Regulatory Functions Committee.

The Bill says the Council “must” appoint the members nominated.

It is the use of the word “must” that Peters is objecting to.

The clause appears to take Maori participation requirements in the Local Government Act to a new level.

That Act says only that local authorities should provide opportunities for Maori to contribute to its decision-making processes and therefore “must establish and maintain processes” to provide opportunities for Maori to contribute to the decision-making processes of the local authority.

There is no compulsion to appoint iwi representatives to any Council committee.

Peters claims it is “electoral apartheid.”

It would be the first legislated requirement to have a race-based quota.  

“They will not be elected, but nominated by iwi, need not be subject to an iwi vote, and they will be paid for by the ratepayers,” he says.

[…] “This has been done by stealth.

“The government and the Maori Party are in cahoots on this.”

[…] In practical terms that may well end up with iwi representatives being appointed to planning committees but what has aroused interest in the Taranaki bill is that the requirement is mandatory.

New Zealand First policy is opposed to ethnic-based positions. It does not stand candidates in the Maori seats as an expression of this.

New Zealand First’s spokesperson on Maori Affairs, Pita Paraone, is resigned to the fact that the party will take a lot of flak from Taranaki iwi over holding the settlement Bill up.

“But they’ve got to understand that has always been a core position for New Zealand first,” he told POLITIK.

And so NZ First harvests a whole new lot of voters in Taranaki.  This is the same place where the mayor went to the wall to get mandatory Maori seats on council, and the electorate told him to get knotted.


– Richard Harman, Politik

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