Category: Constitutional Reform
There is growing concern that local government is becoming more ‘activist’. Unfortunately ratepayers are not at the heart of their motivations. Before looking at examples, let’s examine how the new Labour-led Government is dealing with some of the constraints being faced by local authorities.
Last week the final referendum results for the five councils that had decided to introduce Maori wards against the wishes of their local electors were released. In each case, the public voted against their decision. The message from the results is that most New Zealanders do not want local government defined by race.
Over recent years the people of New Zealand have repeatedly spoken through binding polls held under the auspices of the Local Electoral Act concerning establishment of separate Maori representation in their local governments. As of May 19, five binding polls decisively vetoed Maori wards that elected representatives on their local councils tried to foist upon them.
People need to take action to defend a community’s democratic right to call a referendum if their local council decides to establish a Maori ward, since Local Government New Zealand is attempting to have this important public power abolished.
LGNZ is engaged in a power grab. It wants to ensure its members are not subject to public polls concerning Maori wards/constituencies. The reason for this is that LGNZ supports race-based Maori wards/constituencies and wants its members to be able to impose them unchecked
Last month Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, the President of Local Government New Zealand wrote to the coalition Government calling for the removal of the petition rights that allow local residents and ratepayers to demand a poll if their Council unilaterally decides to establish Maori wards.
The Western Bay of Plenty District Council is divided into three wards for electoral purposes. However, in November 2017, Councillors voted - with nine votes in favour and three opposed - to establish additional race-based wards, which would guarantee seats for Maori.
The recent volatility in sharemarkets around the world should serve as a warning to our new Government about the fragility of financial markets and the crucial importance of having a strong balance sheet as a buffer against future economic shocks.
With the Jacinda Ardern-led tripartite coalition government passing its hundred day milestone in the 52nd New Zealand Parliament, Labour and National are now running neck-and-neck in public opinion polls. Either could potentially win the next general election in 2020 outright.