Monday, July 01, 2013

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: Parekura Horomia's seat should be left unfilled

_richardmcgrathLibertarianz leader Dr  Richard McGrath wasn’t the only one who didn’t vote in the weekend’s poorly attended Maori-only by-election.

The by-election result in Ikaroa-Rawhiti was an embarrassment for everyone involved, which the final count confirms was very few indeed. Voter turnout in this race-based seat was abysmal, suggesting very firmly that Parekura Horomia's seat in Parliament should be left empty rather then filling it with another bum.

Overall, 67% of eligible voters boycotted this by-election, despite massive taxpayer-funded publicity. The Labour candidate who achieved the largest out of a very small total won the by-election with a mandate from just 13.2% of eligible voters. 

Why is the mainstream media choosing to ignore this overwhelming vote of no-confidence in the electoral system?

Even the Maori electoral option itself is fading fast. After a massive advertising campaign, paid for by you and I, voters choosing to vote on the Maori roll are dwindling. Surely, the confluence of these two things is a sign that the time has finally come to consign race-based seats at all levels of government to the dustbin of history, where they belong.

imageWhy is the mainstream media choosing to ignore this overwhelming vote of no-confidence in these race-based seats?

The on-going presence of Maori seats is a disgrace to our nation. It demonstrates, firstly, a lack of integrity and courage from the National Party, who made noises about abolishing these anachronistic remnants of a bygone era when the occupants of the Maori seats voted against them in the house, but who support them when some are coalition partners.

Secondly, it perpetuates a stinging insult to people of Maori descent. More than any other gesture, it confirms the status of Maori people as second-class citizens in their native land, at least in the eyes of our politicians and the Electoral Commission. It implies that Maori people cannot foot it in the MMP system, and could not be elected to Parliament were it not for the demeaning and insulting system of reserved seats. 

The election of Paula Bennett, Simon Bridges, Jami-Lee Ross and Louisa Wall in electorate seats provides ample evidence that Maori candidates can win open elections on their own merits—and the election victories of Kris Faafoi, Sua Sio and Sam Lotu-Iiga shows that non-Maori brown-skinned candidates are also perfectly electable without any patronising need for racial preference.

The continuation of the patronising attitude to Maori ignores the reality of the MMP era, which if it stands for anything must surely be More Maoris in Parliament.

Thirdly, despite their dwindling interest by the voter, the Maori seats themselves enjoy a gerrymander giving them more electoral power than any other. If the Maori seats were calculated using the same basis as the general seats, there would be just five seats, not seven. So the seats are not only race-based, they also represent racial preference.

I am astonished that the mainstream media continues to ignore both this racial gerrymander and the race-based system it perpetuates. But the flat response to Maori roll enrolment coupled with the weekend’s mass by-election boycott should not be ignored, and all should acknowledge the resounding message it sends to the Prime Minister and his minions: that not even Maori people want these seats to exist.

For goodness sake, Mr Key, find some principles—discover some as-yet unapparent testicular fortitude—and abolish the Maori seats now!"

Read Doc McGrath’s regular irregular column here at NOT PC  every Wednesday whenever he puts pen to electronic paper.

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