It was the Battle of Hastings, 2019. On one side, the stalwarts of democracy intent on defending their ideal of the best form of government for their district. On the other side, the champions of attenuated lines of accountability between citizens and those who govern them.
The democrats were outnumbered and the Hastings District Council – 33.3% of its members of Maori descent – voted to fortify iwi influence by appointing four members of the Maori Joint Committee to the council’s four standing committees.
This was decided after a debate which the NZ Herald curiously said became “divisive”, apparently because four councillors argued the decision should be taken to a public poll – a suggestion which, given the constitutional implications of the issue, had a great deal of merit.
This is especially so in a district where the citizens already have voted against a proposal to create a race-based electoral system by introducing Maori wards. Continue reading “Another Battle of Hastings – and one in the eye for those bloody democrats”