Not a pretty pic­ture

Central Leader - - News -

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.

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