Category: Constitutional Reform
Ill-advised comments by senior Judges can have a profound and long-lasting impact. We saw this in the 1987 Lands Case between the New Zealand Maori Council - represented by Sian Elias - and the Attorney-General, when the President of the Court of Appeal, Sir Robin Cooke, used the word ‘partnership’.
"I swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Her heirs and successors, according to law, in the office of Judge and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of New Zealand, without fear or favour, affection or ill will. So help me God." This is the Oath of Office taken by all Judges.
Last month Parliament debated a Private Members’ bill to entrench the Maori seats. The bill would make it more difficult to abolish Parliament’s Maori seats by ensuring that a vote of 75 percent of MPs would be needed to get rid of them.
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.