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Friday, December 4

Maori effectively sidelined in SuperCity sleight of hand


The model for Maori representation in Auckland's SuperCity is a cynical and undemocratic ploy by Rodney Hide to deny any real power to tangata whenua, said David Clendon, Green Party Spokesperson on Auckland governance issues and Maori Affairs.

A "representation and participation" model in the third Auckland governance bill about to go before Parliament is so deeply flawed that it offers neither, said Mr Clendon.

"The Government has arrogantly chosen to ignore the thousands of Maori and non-Maori who marched in protest and made submissions in support of dedicated Maori seats on the new council. Their preferred alternative, a 'statutory board' is a wonderful example of form over substance, capable of absorbing a huge amount of Maori energy and effort but delivering nothing."

The Government's 'statutory board' would have up to seven mandated representatives of 'mana whenua' (those with tribal authority within the region) and two 'taura here' (Maori whose iwi affiliations are outside the Auckland area).

The obligations of the new Council to 'take account of; consult; and work jointly with' the Maori representatives are effectively meaningless in the absence of any responsibility to act upon or implement the wishes of tangata whenua, said Mr Clendon.

"It is a complete abrogation of the Treaty relationship, and sidesteps any opportunity for Maori to make a meaningful or positive contribution to the governance of the region."

The Cabinet papers released yesterday state that there are no 'financial implications' arising from the proposed governance structure, which indicates that mana whenua and taura here representatives will not be remunerated, nor supported with clerical or research staff.

"Once again, Maori will be expected to proffer their time, knowledge and expertise, being the only players at the table not enjoying the comfort of a salary or a consultancy fee. Where is the equity or fairness in that?"

The board's only decision making power would be any that was delegated by the Council.

To add insult to injury, the Bill requires that the 2013 as well as the 2010 election be run under 'First Past the Post' rules, denying Maori the opportunity to gain council seats that would arise from a shift to an STV system as currently used in Wellington and elsewhere, Mr Clendon said.

"History demonstrates that any minority group will struggle to gain meaningful representation under FPP, and locking Auckland into this outdated, undemocratic model for the next six years is a remarkably cynical, self-serving move on the part of the Minister Rodney Hide."