Will the old and ex-National Party Councillors see the light and bravely face the future and opt for Maori Wards.
Back in 2011 the following voted against Maori Wards: Jan Barnett, Susan Baty, Adrian Broad, Vaughan Dennison, Lew Findlay, Jim Jefferies, Pat Kelly and Ross Linklater: Those underlined were known Nat supporters, Adrian Broad and Lew Findlay always went with the winners and Pat Kelly sort of floated in the wind back then. Barnett, Kelly and Linklater have departed the scene so maybe the eight five vote against Maori Wards can be reversed, let’s hope so.
At the council meeting those speaking in favour spoke with passion and vigor and those speaking against well let’s say they spoke. Don Esslemont [of Part Maori fame] stated that he was speaking on behalf of “Hobsons Pledge’ but I doubt if that was really the case, I got the impression that he just loves to use ‘Don Brash’s name’…it gives him a sense of importance to name drop a failed leader of the National and Act Parties…Although this year Don E has turned to NZ First… and he must be really disappointed that the elderly Winston Peters appears to be back tracking on removing the Maori Seats.
Anyway the Manawatu Standard sent along its local government reporter and she faithfully reported what went on: Here is her bland report in full: I know that most people don’t bother to read the local paper these days, which is sad but understandable when one considers the right wing leanings of our overseas owned MSM…here is her report.
“Submitter Tina Smith, a nurse and educator, encourages the Palmerston North City Council to guarantee Māori seats at the council table.
Almost two-thirds of the people who have made submissions about Māori seats on the Palmerston North City Council oppose the idea.
But at a public hearing on Monday, nine out of 12 speakers urged councillors to adopt the Māori ward proposal.
Submitter Steph Hirst urges the Palmerston North City Council to introduce seats for Māori to guarantee their voice and perspective is heard.
Public Service Association organiser John Shennan said many of the submissions in favour represented large groups of people, and he urged the council to be "brave" and create Māori wards because it was "the right thing to do".
Submitters and supporters hear opinions about whether there should be Māori wards on the Palmerston North City Council.
One of the three speakers scheduled to talk in opposition withdrew, and opponent Selwyn Brown asked to be a late addition to the list after he saw the imbalance.
Brown said the timing of the Monday afternoon hearing was weighted against participation by people who had day jobs, as opposed to those who were paid to speak for their organisations.
He said councillors had no mandate to change the system under which they were elected.
He said the Māori voice was important, and he would like to see Māori on the council, but they should stand for election under the existing system.
A Māori submitter who was elected to Horizons Regional Council despite its lack of a Māori ward, Wiremu Te Awe Awe, urged the council to ensure Māori representation was guaranteed at its council table.
Speaking for Rangitāne o Manawatū, he said Māori and Pākehā had come a long way, especially in Palmerston North, in understanding and respecting each other.
"I encourage the council to be courageous and bold," he said.
Te Awe Awe said he was encouraged to hear many non-Māori speaking in favour of having Māori seats on the council.
Among them was retired MidCentral Health geriatrician Fred Hirst, who tabled extensive evidence about disparities between Māori and other New Zealanders in health and access to healthcare.
Māori born today had a life expectancy seven years less than other New Zealanders, they were more likely to be poor, to die from accidents and preventable illnesses, and to end up in hospital because they had not sought and received primary health services.
He said Māori were disproportionately living and dying in poverty.
Hirst said non-Māori, no matter how well-intentioned, could not effectively solve the problems.
"Māori representation and leadership is needed to assist the council to improve the living and working conditions of the most vulnerable and socio-economically deprived in our community."
Hirst dismissed assertions by Hobson's Pledge frontman Don Brash at a meeting in Palmerston North in July that Māori wards would be race-based discrimination as "insulting and disrespectful".
Hobson's Pledge was represented at the hearing by Don Esslemont, who also spoke in his personal capacity.
He said it was not moral to treat people differently based on their race.
Esslemont said it was good that historic and "deplorable" examples of discrimination against Māori were no longer tolerated in law.
But he said there was considerable resentment in the community against there being special rules and concessions for people who had Māori ancestry.
The council is expected to make its decision on whether to set up one or two Māori seats for the 2019 local body elections at its meeting on October 24th
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