(Source | Sunday News – John Tamihere) I CONFIRM that I am a member of the independent Maori statutory board representing Maori interests on the new super city council. We marched up Queen St to assert the rights outlined by the Royal Commission of Inquiry, which recommended three Maori seats on the council.
This was denied by the Government with Rodney Hide and the Act party indicating they would leave the Government coalition if separate Maori representation occurred. The majority parties, National and Act, without any consultation with Maori or others legislated for the board I am a member of.
As usual, Maori become the meat in the Pakeha sandwich. As a minority indigenous group with different rights because of the treaty, we are often excluded. Then we are told because we have been excluded we are separatists.
We are appointed not elected. Our preference was an election. Maori had no say over this outcome. The present law states we must appoint a secretariat, that we will ensure the council’s treaty obligations are met. We did not write this, we are a minority always directed by the majority culture.
We know historically and in fact that local government has been used as a crude and brutal tool to take our land by way of the Rating Act and by way of the Public Works Act.
We know that roads, water, sewerage came to Maori land last not first.
For the first time in this country’s history we are allowed to sit and participate in the true machinery of local government.
We are there not as advisers but with our own mana to contribute to our great city. One day my sons and grandsons will celebrate the fact that we could have a meaningful say because prior to this the majority culture always excluded us.
On Monday the super city council has to make a decision. It will either include us with mana or continue to exclude us under the guise of so-called democracy and that whilst they spend $4 billion a year, Maori have to represent their rights with minimal support and major supervision because we are untrustworthy.
Once again we are being used as the brown football as councillors from the top end of town want to kick us from touch and councillors from the left end of town want to exclude us because we are appointed not elected.
Maori call this convergence being caught in the perfect Pakeha storm. For those reading this column, do not think this is an Auckland issue only, it is coming to a town close to you very shortly.