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Māori representation on TCDC

 |  Dal Minogue  | 

The recent decision on Māori representation by the TCDC, led by Mayor Len Salt, is in my opinion a fatal mistake that will throw out the balance of fair community representation.

I say that because of my experience not only as a past TCDC Councillor, but as a past WRC Councillor (which had two Māori Councillors) and a past member of the Hauraki Gulf Forum (which had 5 Māori representatives).

So here is my take.

Such Māori representation ends up being to the extreme environmental left of bona fide ‘greenies’ – until a quid pro quo is paid to the leadership of a tribe or Iwi, usually over consent proposals, in which case Māori representation suddenly decides to be normal. That makes Local Government process potentially corrupt, although virtually no-one is ever brave enough to say it.

So how did Mayor Salt lead the Council to this?

It almost always happens through naivety and good intentions through newly elected Members yet to develop a local government ‘brain’. It is better to have genuine Green and Conservative Councillors, able to work out pragmatic, sensible solutions to environmental issues, rather than through private graft deals that stand outside council meetings and workshops.

Sorry Len, you got it wrong.

Māori representation on Community Boards could however have worked really well. And if that idea had been put forward through community consultation as a second option to Mayor Len’s proposal, it could have easily been agreed on by our community.

What a mess.

The recent decision on Māori representation by the TCDC, led by Mayor Len Salt, is in my opinion a fatal mistake that will throw out the balance of fair community representation.

I say that because of my experience not only as a past TCDC Councillor, but as a past WRC Councillor (which had two Māori Councillors) and a past member of the Hauraki Gulf Forum (which had 5 Māori representatives).

So here is my take.

Such Māori representation ends up being to the extreme environmental left of bona fide ‘greenies’ – until a quid pro quo is paid to the leadership of a tribe or Iwi, usually over consent proposals, in which case Māori representation suddenly decides to be normal. That makes Local Government process potentially corrupt, although virtually no-one is ever brave enough to say it.

So how did Mayor Salt lead the Council to this?

It almost always happens through naivety and good intentions through newly elected Members yet to develop a local government ‘brain’. It is better to have genuine Green and Conservative Councillors, able to work out pragmatic, sensible solutions to environmental issues, rather than through private graft deals that stand outside council meetings and workshops.

Sorry Len, you got it wrong.

Māori representation on Community Boards could however have worked really well. And if that idea had been put forward through community consultation as a second option to Mayor Len’s proposal, it could have easily been agreed on by our community.

What a mess.


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