Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Good riddance to racist rubbish

The government plans to overturn the racist veto on Māori wards in local government:

The government is to introduce legislation to uphold council decisions to establish Māori wards, said Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta who made the announcement in New Plymouth today.

The first stage of the legislative reform would include immediate changes to establish transitional measures making the establishment of Māori wards easier ahead of the 2022 local elections.

Mahuta said the current system had a different set of rules for establishing Māori and general wards and that councils had asked for a law change.


The second stage would develop a permanent mechanism for local authorities to consider the establishment of Māori wards and constituencies.

Good. The current system is purely a racist roadblock. Councils do not need to face a referendum if they create a new ward, or even if they do away with them entirely and move to at-large election. So why should they have to when they create a Māori ward? (The answer, as we know, is racism). As Mahuta says, the process should be the same.

...which leaves me wondering why there needs to be a second stage. Because there is already a process for local authorities to change their ward structures (the council votes on it, with challenges heard by the Local Government Commission). Why not just use it?