Not a pretty picture
The relationship between the Maori Party and National has never been better. In fact, it’s stronger than ever.
According to Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples: “The agreement the Maori Party has with National is totally mana-enhancing.”
He goes on: “We have an open and honest policy. We agree to disagree. We have done that. There are no surprises and that’s why our relationship is growing stronger.”
At least that’s what he fed Parliament after National shafted Maori by coming up with a plan with no guarantee of Maori representation in the Auckland supercity.
Perhaps there have been harsh words behind closed doors from Pita and Tariana Tu- ria but if the reaction to that betrayal is so positive, we shouldn’t be surprised if John Key contemplated more shafting – like doing away with the Maori seats.
It would be tempting for him if he can get away with shoring up the anti-Maori support National attracts, yet still hear protestations of undying love.
We can be pretty sure that whatever his words, Pita would’ve been fuming over how quickly Key and Rod- ney Hide teamed up to ditch the Royal Commission’s formula for ensuring the supercity would have three Maori representatives.
Maori have been trying for years to have some say on local bodies. But the record shows if you leave it to democracy Maori miss out.
Pakeha voters, the majority in just about every local government area, prefer to vote for Pakeha regardless of the talent on offer.
That’s just one
of the ways Kiwi racism works.
It’s true sometimes there have been only a few strong candidates with a Maori background, that some of them haven’t campaigned effectively, and that many Maori voters have been so irritated with local body politics they haven’t bothered to vote.
But that doesn’t explain how overwhelmingly Pakeha our councils are.
The commission had the sense to recognise a council with no Maori representatives can’t look after Maori interests – not competently anyway.
The government is blind to that – and deaf to Maori voices. It’s almost as if Don Brash is still in charge – and it’s not a pretty picture.