Metiria Turei
The biggest Maori urban population shut out from their own city

National’s decision to ditch the Maori seats on the Auckland super city is another means to remove Maori from the barest minimum of decision-making in the biggest Maori city in the country. Catherine has blogged on the general issue before but the issues are even more acute in Auckland.

According the 2006 census, nearly 25% of the Maori population live in the Auckland region. John Key has made much of his hongi with iwi leaders, meanwhile the greatest population of Maori in the country with the least representation, most dispossessed and most impoverished get nothing but the finger.

There has only been one elected Maori councillor since 1989 – that is, in the last twenty years. And before that Sandra Lee was the sole Maori voice for a number of years. Its clear that it is extremely difficult for Maori to get access to the decision-making table. And I also understand that the Auckland City council has in the last 18 months twice refused to even entertain the idea of holding a referendum on whether there should be Maori seats. If the council won’t even allow the city to consider it, what chance do Maori have of ever having adequate representation on a super council?

Now the Royal Commission was not at all generous in suggesting 3 Maori seats, so the removal of them by the Iwi/Kiwi National Party is particularly mean – though not at all unexpected. The next question is how the Maori Party will deal with this given their agreement with National that:

The relationship between the Maori Party and the National Party will be one of good faith and no surprises.
Both the National Party and the Maori Party will act in accordance with te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Treaty of Waitangi.

Despite the lauded political deals National might have done they nonetheless retain the 19th century arrogance of dispensing their largesse to Maori, tightly controlled and kept in their place.

59 thoughts on “The biggest Maori urban population shut out from their own city

  1. remove Maori from the barest minimum of decision-making in the biggest Maori city in the country.

    That is an absolute rubbish statement.

    There is nothing to prevent Maori from forming a political party in Auckland and standing for any governing position.

    Absolutely nothing is preventing them from participating in the democratic process.

    I applaud the decision made by the government and so will Maori as they are no longer treated like a “special” needs case. They can stand on their own initiative with their heads held high.

    Looking forward to Maori particiapting in the democratic process in the best way possible. By forming political parties to contest the election of city officials just like the rest of us Jaffas.

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  2. If the rules stated that Maori were not entitled to stand or vote then your headline would be correct and that would be abhorrent . As it is, you are displaying blatant racism and should be ashamed of your stance. Is this really the official Party line or is this just one persons racist stance? Go join the Maori party…

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  3. Interestingly enough, wasn’t Sandra Lee the first Maori female member to Parliament representing a non- Maor seat? Yes she was, and as a candidate for a Maori Party too!

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  4. If I understand the Greens correctly, Maori are to be patronised and treated like children.

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  5. oops, I think she was the second- but first woman to be elected in a general seat – Auckland Central – representing a Maori party.

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  6. Total nonsense, Metiria.

    How many votes do Maori have?

    Same as the rest of us:

    1

    Lucky we have a sane government who are not beholden to racist, paternalistic, grandstanding from so-called leaders.

    Democracy 1, Racists 0.

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  7. So……NOT having seperate seats for a specific race is now somehow racist?

    Apartheid South Africa?…..we owe you an apology.

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  8. Sandra Lee was the first Maori woman to represent a general electorate and only the third woman to be elected to Parliament within 80 years of Maori women gaining the right to stand. 80 years and only 3 Maori women in that time in Parliament.

    Wail and knash your teeth all you please, the facts are the facts.

    Maori representation at a local government level is radically below that of the population. Maori stand for election all around the country but currently only about 5% of elected councillors are Maori. The rate is so low that even the DIA report “Local Authority Election Statistics 2007″ doesnt make any reference to the numer of Maori elected.

    And it has little to do with suitability for the job. Many are elected simply because they are famous – it is very much a popularity contest not about who would make effective councillors for the governance decisions in the best interests of their community.

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  9. Met

    There is NOTHING to stop maori standing for council, there is NOTHING stopping maori being elected to council, please stop telling lies.

    Seats reserved for one race of people is apartheid politics, again you demand special treatment for one race of people about all others, it is not right and it is not democratic.

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  10. >>it is very much a popularity contest

    On a slippery slope there, Metiria.

    >>only about 5% of elected councillors are Maori

    Perhaps those who turned out to vote preferred one of the many other candidates on offer. Perhaps many didn’t vote on race.

    You know, democracy.

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  11. Maori stand for election all around the country but currently only about 5% of elected councillors are Maori.

    Means that Maori (20% of the population) are smart and not voting on race but on who can do the best job in representing their interest.

    A very healthy sign I would say, not at all a negative.

    Maori participating in democracy.

    Just becauce the figures dont line up neatly along the 20% racial demarcation so desired by the Greens, does not mean that Maori interest are not represented.

    Unless you are saying Maori dont bother to vote. Something I dont think is true.

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  12. Following Metiria’s logic, shouldn’t the Maori Party have got 18% of the vote?

    I guess Maori chose the party and candidates who they deemed most suitable…

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  13. Gerrit, the general turnout for local body elections is around 50% and lower even for Maori. Overall turnout is appalling and needs to be remedied somehow. Perhaps the general standard for candidates is a reason, maybe its that council is just not that relevant to people. Its not true of course, local councils have huge influence on the resources and development of a city or community, but there is very little committment to the structure fromteh population in general.

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  14. “Sandra Lee was the first Maori woman to represent a general electorate and only the third woman to be elected to Parliament within 80 years of Maori women gaining the right to stand. 80 years and only 3 Maori women in that time in Parliament.

    Wail and knash your teeth all you please, the facts are the facts.”

    So? Met, let us not forget that women in general had not been all that well represented during that era either – indeed, the Fourth Labour Government had been the first government to have a reasonable number of women in caucus, and a reasonable number of women in cabinet.

    Also, let us not forget that it wasn’t until 1975 that Maori were allowed to stand in General Electorates, that would have made things more difficult.

    I find it hypocritical that the Greens, many of whom made a stand against apartheid South Africa, are advocating a similar type of racism here – I say, one person, one vote – no ifs buts or maybes.

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  15. >>Overall turnout is appalling and needs to be remedied somehow.

    Why?

    People have determined local body elections aren’t important to them. I suspect people will turn up en masse if they perceive something is seriously wrong, but if things seem to be going ok, they do something else.

    And that is their choice. I’ve never once voted in a local body election.

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  16. Sandra Lee was the first Maori woman to represent a general electorate and only the third woman to be elected to Parliament within 80 years of Maori women gaining the right to stand. 80 years and only 3 Maori women in that time in Parliament.

    Wail and knash your teeth all you please, the facts are the facts
    To be fair, the second Maori women representing a general seat was elected the same day as Lee, so you could say they were first equal…. and ironically more Maori women up to that time were elected in General seats than Maori seats.

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  17. Guys like Gerritt don’t have a clue about the Treaty…and don’t want to. Just like the National Party. I don’t think we need any more evidence on that score. It will be interesting to see how the Maori Party explain this one away.

    As for the Auckland proposal as a whole, it gives us a clear view of just how much the National Party hates democracy. Only 20 councillors for 1.3 million people and elected at large by First Past the Post. I can’t think of a worse configuration for such a large diverse city.

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  18. Go get some good insect repellant Metiria.
    You must reverse the divisivneess now. otherwise a whole class of Kiwi will become extinct.
    Religion an color are but tools to drive you to give up our Taxes in spite of the best evidence.
    Anyone can stand……is there a Pakeha out there who could take a Maori seat? Or perhaps the other way roumd? Would gentle suggestions about respect be understood and held equal…..?

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  19. So Metiria’s argument appears to be that with low turnout to local body elections and little communication, there needs to be racially based representation on a mega council.

    Maori voters select who they want to be councillors, and amazingly many choose non-Maori candidates, because, remarkably, many judge people on their character and policies, not their race. It’s as absurd as saying that having a Chinese woman as a councillor means non-Chinese men are not “represented”.

    The tired old structuralist identity politics, based on collectivising everyone, not treating people as individuals. However, the Greens seem to put on the “what race are you?” classification glasses whenever they engage – Maori are automatically disadvantaged victims.

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  20. Out in Front

    Guys like Gerritt don’t have a clue about the Treaty…and don’t want to.

    How wrong you are. I made the comment to frog on another posting that the treaty (the english version – cant read the Maori one, sorry) makes no mention of Maori having rights to sit unelected and undemocratically on governmental bodies. There is no right enshrined in the treaty for that to happen. Heck, even the proposed UN charter on indeginous rights does not have that right.

    Maori have a right to be consulted, but the mechanisms for that do not include race based representation.

    But if there is, please explain it to me where you found it.

    As for National not liking Democracy, I cant answer, Am not a party member and dont have an opinion on that myth any more so than if Labour or the Greens like democracy.

    I suspect that no political party actually likes democracy. They all want to rule but those pesky voters just cant see the “truth” that their particular brand of ideology is for the public good.

    I actually think the Auckland super city is a bad idea. One for the reason of representation you mention. But more importantly the power that the council will have over the New Zealand parliament.

    That 1.2 million people block will yeild a powerful influence over parliament.

    Maybe that is a much more pertinent topic to discuss then ridiculous race based council selection policy of the Greens.

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  21. Metiria,

    Gerrit, the general turnout for local body elections is around 50% and lower even for Maori. Overall turnout is appalling and needs to be remedied somehow.

    Totally agree and if, instead of the racial selected policy, The Greens come out with an education policy to get ALL voters to be more aware of local body issues and politicians, I would be 100% in favour.

    Even targetted to differing racial groups, not a problem because that is democracy, get ALL involved.

    One thing I hope the new coucil continous with is the Manukau City policy of having multiple languages on promotional electioneering material. Am sure that Maori, Samoan, Indian, Sri Lankan, Chinese, etc. voters will find it much easier to participate in a democracy with this long running Manukau City initiative.

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  22. Metiria – the inability of many posters here to comprehend what it is you are saying will be no surprise to you. It is par for the course when it comes to issues where Maori representation in politics is discussed. You’ll make precious little progress with what presents to me as a patently obvious issue. Your observation that there has been so very little in the way of Maori representation in Auckland will be fudged forever by the headshakers here, determined as they are to hold to their views that ‘Maori could if they wanted to – if only the got off their arses…’
    Best of luck with that.

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  23. It is probably not a coincidence that those most in favour of continuing the 50 + 1 takes all are pakeha – who in 50 + 1 contests can always elect their own.

    The treaty was supposed to be a partnerrship with, not an assimilation of, Maori. While there are still Maori on the Maroi roll they deserve representation, and they will not get it from general seats.

    It is unsurprising that it is the Greens who are the only pakeha dominated party who champion this cause – being the only one with a commitment to the treaty.

    3 seats – a threat? Get a life!

    peace
    W

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  24. Hey lookie:

    “Capitalism will never fail because socialism will always be there to bail
    it out.” Ralph Nader

    Divide and Conquer never looked so good

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  25. Not having three racist seats- a threat? Get a life!
    Just remind me why one born New Zealander should have more/less rights than another born New Zealander?
    One person, one vote is a non negotiable bottom line in human rights, how could The Greens not champion that?

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  26. Bliss,

    You’re making the same ridiculous assumption – that Maori will always vote for the Maori candidate.

    Clearly, they don’t.

    Many Maori voted for Helen Clark. What tribe is she from, hmmmm?
    Perhaps, just perhaps, those Maori who voted for Helen thought she would do a better job that the alternatives.

    Same goes for any elected representative.

    One person, one vote.

    Bottom line.

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  27. The concept of voting for local candidates goes back to times when distance was an obstacle and communication was limited to word of mouth. Neither of these impediments remain, and so perhaps it is appropriate to think of other ways of establishing ‘electorates’ for both local and national elections.

    For instance, we could take the current discussion and work on the basis of race. At age 18 everyone could be required to establish, based on a majority of ancestors (personal word accepted of course,) what ‘race’ you are. Three Maori grandparents – Maori. Three Asian Grandparents – Asian. Two English Grandparents, one Maori one Asian – European. It would require a one-time update to the electoral role, and after that would work fine. Each ‘electorate’ could have proportional representation in the elected body, new parties could be formed if sufficient endorsement was achieved, and parties could target and and all electorates as they deemed fit. All funding could be based on a central pool with a theme as easy as 1 person, 1 vote, 1 dollar in the pool, with the pool split evenly between the candidates.
    In this way, no one would be able to say there was racism in the process, as all races would be equal in their opportunity.

    The main difference with this approach is, of course, the potential removal of left-right continuum’ from elections, to be replaced with ethnicity preferences. Perhaps this would be a good thing! Somehow though, I doubt we will achieve it, too many politicians have a vested interest in left vs. right.

    Another way to eliminate the current conundrum, and take away the potential for a segment of society to feel unrepresented, is to eliminate the electorate, and keep everything else the same. In this way, voters will be able to cast ballots for (say) 30 people they want on council, or (say) 100 people they want in Parliament, from a slate of however many wish to stand. This would make an STV style election quite interesting in both local and national elections, and make media campaigning a true art-form.

    I’m sure there are many other ideas out there of how to go past the restrictions of the 16th century and bring our approach to elections up to the 21st. What are your ideas on this?

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  28. The option of guaranteed maori seats does not impinge on the one person one vote principle. Why do you think it does? We have the same system for central government and it remains a one person one vote system.

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  29. You’re making the same ridiculous assumption – that Maori will always vote for the Maori candidate.

    No I am not.

    W

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  30. Lets have @ 20 independant nation states then……anything to stop the endless bickering – the Bro already owes more to “Banksie” than anyone in Wellington – but then, don’t we all?
    Why is that?

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  31. The parliamentary racist seats are fundamentally wrong. Adding Auckland racist seats only compounds the wrong.

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  32. Metiria,

    What you are advocating is a seperate Maori roll and in principal that is one person one vote, just like parliament does now.

    That is miles away from what the royal commision for the Auckland super city was proposing.

    They proposed unelected representatives be on the council (be they Maori, Pakeha, Indian, Samoan, Cook Islander, etc. does not matter).

    That is totally wrong.

    I think you need to draw that distinction in you overview and posting.

    Having a seperate Maori roll for Maori representation is acceptable and could be seen as a partnership arrangement under the treaty.

    Unelected representatives (of any cast or shade) is not acceptable and as such would breach the treaty partnership.

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  33. What’s the bet we get 24 local boards? 12 ward councillors would mean two local boards for each ward – sounds more likely than anything else. It’ll be interesting to see if a “treaty breach” can be argued with relation to this decision. Interesting indeed.

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  34. Time for a New treaty – being ‘glory bound’ to ancient documents is a farce – otherwise we can drop the ‘New’ part of the Country’s Name – I mean, whoever calls it “Great” Britain these days?
    New Zealand – you gotta be kidding.

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  35. You can’t call it Zealand – the place already exists in Holland!

    Interesting though. No comment on my idea of doing away with geographic representation. perhaps we do belong in the old fashioned world after all.

    An aside – Partnership means sharing the risks and rewards of a venture. I’d like to see a discussion on that, as well as the treaty’s piece on The Crown governs, Tangata Whenua are consulted. To my mind consulted does not include a vote? How did I get that mistaken idea?

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  36. Could allow the iwi within the influence of the counsel to choose a representive, democraticly or not, whom would then hold the power of veto over counsel decisions should they be found to be detrimental to maori and to lack over two thirds consensus among the counsel members.

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  37. I t’ink the Dutch Place is called Zeeland – remember Aotearoa? – I like it a lot! New Name too – yep – betchya…..
    Well there is the Kiwi King at Ngaurawhahia – better I should ask him, check with the Queen etc etc….

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  38. The option of guaranteed maori seats does not impinge on the one person one vote principle. Why do you think it does? We have the same system for central government and it remains a one person one vote system.

    And the central govt system is not only a one person one vote principle – that principle also extends to one person one vote, one vote, one value, which of course is 100% democratic.

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  39. Wonder how many Millionaires there are in Parliament – could you check that ?

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  40. Mark

    There will be one less after today’s valedictory speech and another one will go when Cullen leaves the house.

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  41. Yeah (my bs deflectors won’t let me watch, or listen) – plenty Left but…..the Paki Tour is still On Bro! Where d’ya wanna Bat? – I Open and take the shine offa the Ball 4 ya!

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  42. “the inability of many posters here to comprehend what it is you are saying will be no surprise to you. It is par for the course when it comes to issues where Maori representation in politics is discussed. You’ll make precious little progress with what presents to me as a patently obvious issue.”

    I don’t think there is any argument by most interested people (interested enough to take time to post here that is,) against Maori Representation in politics. Most of us would say that the formation of the Maori Party was a good thing, and look forward to a time when they put candidates up in all electorates, just like any other major party.

    I think what you are saying is that most of us are against a dual-form of politics, whereby most people vote on a location basis and a minority vote on a racial basis. Racism, in any form, is a terrible thing, and what is being supported here by Metiria and Greenfly is racism.

    If a party called the British Party were to appear, and demand that they be allowed a number of seats, in all elected bodies, based on their representing the other party to the Treaty and so deserving of special treatment, I believe the outcry would be measured in thousands of decibels. I would expect Pakeha with no affiliation to Britain to be vocal, Asians to be vocal, Pacific Islanders to be vocal; indeed, all non-British and non-Maori people to be vocal, as well as some Maori and some British people who value equality in democracy.

    To ensure that Maori are given total equality of opportunity in our country, we need to ensure we do not have a society that discriminates against them in any way whatsoever. By the same token, we have a responsibility to ALL races and ethnicities, including people of mixed race and mixed ethnicity, to ensure we have a country with NO discrimination of any kind. For this reason, positive (or affirmative) discrimination is, in my personal opinion, is equally to be abhorred as negative (or exclusionary,) discrimination.

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  43. Bro; the years have gone for all of us I’m sorry, though I appreciate your inherit compliment.
    But – the consolation is you’ve got older and Smarter Bro; we can change bowlers every few overs if you want – I’m a bit surprised, I thought you were a Batsman.
    Think them Out Bro – plus we’ll use our Kiwi ingeni….ingeanie…..cunning ay?
    Of course we can share the new ball – great; now I just gotta find nine other madmen – shouldn’t be too hard ay?

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  44. Mark

    Only eight, you forget that Toad claims to have been a reasonable player.

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  45. Although given his recent “tone” I suspect it might not be good for team unity if he and I were placed next to each other in the slips.

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  46. Strings: What say we just Raise the Standards for Everyone? Simpler!
    Is there a Law against it?
    On the subject of the Dearth of Postee’s – I’ve actually logged on as 20 different people – really it’s pretty much just you and me.
    Seriously though – only you me and Whinston have the free time to luxuriate on the Net – most have to whork and take care of stuff like that – pity, I know.
    Yet – I do think a fresh start as a Republic (a la Canada – which incidentally values native culture perhaps better than anywhere) would give us the Opportunity to Draw up a much more Whorkable Document than the Whaitangi Show…it seems unwhorkable to me…and it guarantees a separation between the races that actually conspires against both – I reckon whe could do better

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  47. Bro; Well as my first Volunteer you would be Vice-Captain; a role not to be underestimated given the fact that I’ll be busy solving the Bigger Issues.
    Put the Field where you like – caveat emptor and all that
    Toad has sadly yet to Volunteer – just cos some or all of us may not return…..honestly, some people think they gonna live for ever!
    Plus I figure it’ll be Safe there now, for Cricketers anyway – I’ll check with Imran.
    Since NZ is only a Colonial outpost and not a ‘real’ country the NZCB should have no trouble with us taking on ‘National’ Prominance and Title.
    None of our current millionaire Players are willing to risk their valuable hides – precious aren’t they?
    Besides I want Gold Ferns on the Caps – they look much better!

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  48. “Besides I want Gold Ferns on the Caps – they look much better!”

    Just as long as they are not Green

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  49. No worries Bro; – Green and Gold are Colours associated with a couple of countries that are notoriously bad sports (and worse referees) – we’ll stick with the Black and Gold. Errant team members can always field on the boundary – in front of the Taleban Stand (also poor sports)…the Green Government would be colourblind they reckon anyway.

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  50. Maybe, in order to understand things, one must look at a theoretical situation where New Zealand was invaded by a country next year. Let’s say it’s China (for argument’s sake). China come and effectively colonise us, but we sign a deal with them to say that we’ll accept that as long as we are recognised as partners. China renegs on that deal, effectively steals all our land and imposes their culture upon us. Would we be unreasonable to ask for a few “pre-Chinese control” seats to be set aside for us? (assuming our population had changed to the point that it was around 70% Chinese and only 15% from the pre-China situation). If we’re inherently disadvantaged by being forced to operate in a different culture, shouldn’t some steps be taken to minimise that disadvantage?

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  51. Except that it is 2009 we have a good knowledge of each other and instant communication and that wasn’t the case when the treaty was signed. Very few Moari would have understood the geo politics of Great Britain. The agents of the British were not diplomats and had little to gain other than getting to go home when it was over. The British who wanted the treaty were unrealistic to expect Moari to relinquish power and the end result was a fudged agreement. Chances are colonisation would have gone ahead one way or the other (altho some of you believe Maori could and would have stopped it). It is important to remember that much Maori territory was not utilised “Maori land”. A lack of food limited the population. I have grown Maori potato and they don’t compare to potato (not to mention wheat, pumpkins pigs…….etc)

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  52. Those damned Brits. They should have just gone out conquering like they did in the Sub-Continent and all this money-raking would stop.

    Now we (the immigrants,) are left with three options.
    Option 1. Continue as we are with one invader claiming rights of possession and treaty rights never envisioned by either side that cost us more in terms of angst than the $18,000 per ‘Maori’ person per year that we currently pay (go analyse the real numbers in the governments books, do it on a transaction by transaction basis allocating every cost to ‘Treaty related’ or ‘non treaty related’ you WILL be amazed.
    Option 2. Have a civil war, get the matter settled and move on with life as an all equal society.
    Option 3. Renounce The Crown’s treaty rights and obligations and turn the country over to Maori to run. (The most probable outcome would be Option 2, but what the heck, we would have tried!)

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