We were alerted by David Farrar to the further crumbling of local government democracy under the Ardern Government – or, as she would put it, to making our governance arrangements more sophisticated.
The outrage – or sophistication , depending on your ideology – goes further than Farrar reported in a post headed Parliament votes to end “one person, one vote” (although some of his readers picked up on it).
Yes, the Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill abandons the key constitutional concept that all Kiwis have the same voting rights.
But check out how the government opted to deal with legislation which prescribes how the people of Rotorua will be able to vote and how their council will be structured. It is being treated as a Maori Affairs issue, not a local government issue.
The job of Parliament’s Governance and Administration Committee is to look at business related to parliamentary and legislative services, Prime Minister and Cabinet, State services, statistics, internal affairs, civil defence and emergency management, and local government.
This committee, although chaired by National’s Ian McKelvie, has a Labour majority.
But at the bill’s first reading, Parliament voted to refer it to the Māori Affairs Committee.
The job of this committee is to look at business related to Māori affairs and Treaty of Waitangi negotiations.
It is chaired by Labour list MP Tamati Coffey.