Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Time to repeal this discriminatory law

At the moment several North Island local authorities are about to hold referenda on Māori wards. But Local Government New Zealand wants the law allowing the public to veto Māori representation removed:

Changes must be made to the way Māori wards are decided on, Local Government New Zealand says.

President Dave Cull has penned an open letter to the government asking for the Electoral Act to be changed.

He said the process is unfair and inconsistent.

And he's right. The process for deciding Māori wards is different from that for deciding normal wards: in one case, Pakeha get a veto, in the other they don't. And this is pretty obviously discriminatory on the basis of race. If such a law was introduced today, it might attract a formal report under section 7 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. And when you put it like that, repeal seems more than justified. Either all ward arrangements must allow a referendum, or none should.