20 April 2022

Submit today on the Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill

David Farrar's Kiwiblog has an excellent submission on this absolute travesty of basic individual rights and liberal democracy.

This debate about this issue has been muted. Stuff reports it, with taxpayer funding from NZ On Air, without ANY discussion about the implications for liberal democracy.

What is proposes is a form of racial gerrymandering that means that Māori Ward Councillors on Rotorua District Council will represent fewer people, but with the same amount of power as General Ward Councillors. 

As Farrar says:

This bill would give the Māori ward three Councillors for an electoral population of 21,700 and the General ward three Councillors for an electoral population of 55,600. This means the vote of someone on the general roll will be worth only 39% of the vote of someone on the Māori roll in terms of Ward Councillors, and 58% in terms of the whole Council. 

It debases the votes of non-Māori ward voters, and for what? To seek to equalise representation not on the basis of counting heads, but by valuing the votes of Māori ward voters 2.5x more than non-Māori ward voters.

Let's apply this to Parliament?

Extend this to Parliament (assuming no change in the number of seats) and the result would be this:

General Electorates: 36. 1 MP for every 89958 voters

Māori Electorates: 36. 1 MP for every 7591 voters

In essence it multiplies Māori roll votes 11 fold compared to non-Māori. The exact impact on Parliament is difficult to forecast for multiple reasons, as no doubt there would be more candidates, but also the impact on emigration (let alone immigration) would change the demographic as well (some advancing this policy would like that). 

It could be assumed that the majority of Māori Electorates would vote Labour, and some would vote Te Pāti Māori, maybe one or two could go Green or even NZ First.  

How would that affect the list seats? It is entirely possible to leave them as is, with one person one vote and let proportionality come to play, but that is likely to create an overhang. Let's say based on the current Parliament, that one in seven of the Māori electorates go to Te Pāti Māori, which would mean it gets 5-6 seats. Even if it got double the party vote of 2020 (which would be 2.34%) it would only be entitled to around 3 seats in Parliament, so Parliament would grow by 2-3 more seats in total.  Advocates of such a change might say the overall impact would not be significant, because ultimately National would get most of its MPs from the list, so proportionality might be retained overall, but the effect would be dramatic.

Moreover, if you can argue for electorates that require 11 general roll voters to elect an MP, but 1 Māori roll voter, then you can argue that Māori party voters get the same magnification of impact.

and that would truly be the end of liberal democracy as we know it, and is internationally recognised on the basis of one person one vote.

This sort of gerrymandering is seen in corrupt democracies, which try to construct constituencies that have small numbers of politicians representing large numbers of people who politicians want to reduce the franchise for, with higher numbers for the preferred group.  During the dying days of apartheid, the South African Government argued for its democracy to enable white South Africans to have a veto of decision making over the black majority.  This was rightly decried as racist and unacceptable. Going from total white minority rule to white minority veto was not advancing the rights of all South Africans.

However, there is a movement in Māori politics that is antithetical to liberal democracy and individual rights. Te Pāti Māori MP Rawiri Waititi said it clearly when he thought Aotearoa had a great future "but not necessarily as a democracy". 

It isn't exactly rude to ask if the Green Party of Aotearoa or the New Zealand Labour Party share his view. 

Now I'm highly sceptical of liberal democracy as a tool to protect individual rights, and Waititi is dead right when he raises concern about majority rule. Unfettered democracy does enable mob rule and does enable injustice, but the contraints on this should be constitutional to ensure basic rights are not overriden. I have a lot of sympathy for calls for tino rangatiratanga for everyone.

However, nobody advancing this change is caring remotely for the rights of individuals to peacefully go about their lives, this is about advancing power, albeit at the local government level, to regulate and tax people's property and businesses.

You have only a few hours to express your opposition to this racist travesty of a Bill, that has NOT been advanced by the local MP Todd McClay but rather Labour list MP Tāmati Coffey.  Labour, the Greens and Te Pāti Māori are all advancing it.

It deserves to be voted down in flames, and it deserves your submission in ardent opposition to it.

Either go here:


or here:



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