Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Good riddance

Back in December Environment Canterbury introduced the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill to Parliament. Its a local bill, which would do what it says on the label: guarantee ECan representation to Ngāi Tahu by allowing them to appoint two members to the regional council. Apart from the obvious conflict of interest issues this would create - Ngāi Tahu has major investments in the dairy industry which it is expanding - this is also undemocratic. Not only would the members be appointed rather than elected, but they would also massively over-represent Ngāi Tahu, giving them two councillers (12.5% of representation) for 15,375 people (3% of the population at the 2013 census). So I'm not unhappy to see that the bill lacks support and is unlikely to progress:

A bill which would guarantee Ngāi Tahu two seats on future Environment Canterbury (ECan) councils is struggling to gain support in Parliament.

Labour says it is doing the numbers this week to see if it can get the apparently faltering Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill across the line for its first reading in the House.

However, the local bill will not get NZ First backing.

Neither is it likely to get the support that ECan chairman Steve Lowndes hoped would come from Canterbury National Party MPs, according to shadow leader of the House Gerry Brownlee.

I support guaranteed Māori representation on regional councils, but it must be democratic: elected and proportionate. ECan could have achieved that by choosing to have Māori wards under the Local Electoral Act. Instead, they chose to put forward a blatantly undemocratic proposal. It deserves to fail.