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While a Maori Party MP was grandstanding against colonial oppression and discrimination by refusing to wear a necktie in Parliament, the government was rushing the passage of a bill which will grant Maori a significant electoral advantage by subverting democracy at the local authority level.
The grandstanding was done by Rawiri Waititi, who – when kicked out of Parliament on Tuesday for breaching a dress code that has since been changed – told Speaker Trevor Mallard: “It’s not about ties — it’s about cultural identity, mate.” He described a necktie as “a colonial noose”.
The bill being rushed into law removes voters’ right to veto the imposition of Maori wards on city and district councils. This contradicts the Labour Party’s 2020 election manifesto, which stated:
“Labour will uphold local decision making in the democratic institutions of local government… Labour will ensure that major decisions about local democracy involve full participation of the local population from the outset.”
But under the Bill as it stands, tens of thousands of ratepayers in local authority areas where petitions have already been announced and signatures have been collected, will have their lawful democratic rights revoked.
As political commentator Karl du Fresne points out, the majority’s right to determine the form of local government representation in their communities is being scrapped to enable Maori (invariably part-Maori) candidates to bypass the need to win popular support. Successful candidates will be responsible only to constituents who claim Maori ancestry. Continue reading “While an MP bridles against neckties, voters who oppose Maori wards are being told to get knotted”