Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: Careful what you wish for: How entrenching the Māori seats may lead to the opposite of what its supporters seek

4 Responses

  • simon g,

    Well, this doesn't deserve to go uncommented. Perhaps we're all watching the World Cup. Entrench Gareth Southgate, I reckon.

    Moving from Graeme's legal analysis to the grubby politics of the issue, you can see an unintended consequence. A party officially against the existence of Maori seats is a bit like the passive republicans: it's a policy, you support it, but you don't really expect to do anything about it (essentially that's National's position on the seats, post-Brash).

    But a move to entrench could force this "passive policy" out into the open. If it passes (it won't) then there is an easy target for the opposition, or a new conservative/authoritarian party. It's one thing to say "leave well alone", but quite another to defend a change. And opposition moves from rhetoric to action: "We voted against it". That's an easier (and more dangerous) sound bite.

    Underlying all this is the contradiction that (IMO) makes the status quo the best option. The argument goes: 1) "We don't need the Maori seats, because we have MMP (Royal Commission is then referenced)". Also 2) "Let's dump MMP".

    It tends to be the same people saying both these things, but not on the same day.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1254 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    Worth noting that the likely opposition to this proposal are not entirely committed to Te Tiriti either, so arguments of the form "but the treaty says..." are not likely to be especially persuasive. Or could be met with Maori Gratitude Day or worse. Or just "so we will require that every party running list candidates have at least one person on their list who claims Maori heritage". The potential for mischief is enormous.

    I'd like to think Aotearoa can do the suffrage/marriage/nukes thing again and come up with a solution that the world is impressed by. Sadly I don't think that's a likely outcome. In the meantime, just stopping the public voting debacles might have to be enough.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1118 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    I would only ever support this if an overwhelming majority of Maori stated that they wanted their abolition. That sort of groundswell is not discernible, so therefore the Maori seats must stay in place, and perhaps even be increased in proportion should there be specific Maori Roll enrolments that would warrant that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 481 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    increased in proportion […to…] Maori Roll enrolments

    Isn’t that already the system in place?

    Each five-yearly Māori Electoral Option determines the number of Māori electorates for the next one or two elections.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1805 posts Report Reply

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