A Man After My Own Heart

19 Jun

From today’s letters to the editor

 No need for Maori seats

The 1840 British form of government was not ‘‘imposed’’ here in New Zealand’’ at the point of a gun’’ as claimed by Alan Bennett (June 17).

The new treaty was a response to requests from northern chiefs, and the few British military on ship would have been easily swept aside by the vastly superior Maori forces if those Maori had not welcomed a new central government bringing peace to a land rife with intertribal warfare, social disruption and killing.

Equality of all citizens was fundamental then, and should be now. When all property-owning adult males had the vote, Maori chiefs were able to vote, but so few that special seats were introduced as a temporary stopgap expedient to make sure a Maori voice would be heard. For a time all Maori men could vote while non-property owners among non-Maori missed out. Now we all, men and women, have equal rights and there is no need for separate seats.

Democracy can only work where there is equality. Special rights defined by race divide us and move backwards towards an unequal and undemocratic system of lords of the manor and tribal chieftainship that should be left behind in the dustbin of history.

JOHN ROBINSON Wellington

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One Response to “A Man After My Own Heart”

  1. Philip T June 19, 2014 at 10:00 am #

    Many years ago before she become PM I was lucky enough to get to hear Helen Clarke give a talk about leadership. Much of it stuck with me for ever and her main pointes were if Maori were 18% of the population that should be reflected in all walks of life. 18% of university students should be Maori, 18% of the Police and so on. If that is not the case in some way we have failed as a community. It wasn’t just about Maori but also woman and any other sectors of society. Much has been made about Maori getting preferential treatment but the reality is much different and we all know that. That talk stuck with me and I am a firm believer in what she said. We need to reflect society in what we do and if that is not the case we should find the ways to make it happen.
    A good example is in our council. Woman make up 50% of the cities population but that is not reflected. Would we be a better community if our elected representatives were reflected in the even split. I would say categorically yes. Classic example is decisions around Esk St. How many older than middle aged men shop in Esk St?
    There are those who argue that we would be a nanny state by insisting on such things but often progress is forced. Giving woman the vote for instance was one small step. Property rights was another. If it isn’t happening there is nothing wrong with finding ways to encourage it to happen.
    The main point all to often being lost is our society is only as good as the person at the bottom and until we improve his or her lot we will remain stuck where we are.
    Their voice is the one we need to hear white well off middle aged males will do not that.

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