Discussion: Regarding Auckland

318 Responses

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  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Like Paul said: the time for consultation is over.

    Jose,just speaking to JK on BFM has got him to agree, "NO IDEA" what it will cost.No consultation with Maori. No reason why it must be done by 2010 and did a fine job in asking.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Corin H,

    What I'd like to know ... is why all these list members of Parliament, who were elected at-large and support proportional representation in Parliament, are now speaking out against a proposal to bring that sort of election to Auckland...

    Er, because the proposed Auckland system is not proportional representation?

    It has more in common with a Mixed Supplementary Member type system than MMP.

    Since Jan 2007 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Mikaere you said

    we can't get to multiculturalism (even if this was possible or desired) without first implementing bi-culturalism.

    Are you sure we can't get to multiculturalism directly. It would seem sad to me to think that we can't recognise the values/needs/responsibilities of all parts of our culture at the same time.

    I don't disagree that we (as a society) have failed to create an environment that allow Maori to achieve or even to avoid failing. Not wishing to get into an argument about the meanings of either of those words, but I don't think anyone can say Maori are where they or anyone wants them to be in NZ.

    I don't know how to reach multiculturalism. I know for certain that we in NZ do a shit load better at it than I've seen in my time in the US. I also think that over the last 20 year we have improved in NZ, not just with Maori but with all the parts of our culture.

    That's not to say we can't do better. The question for me is how best to get to a society where you can't predict someone's life expectancy or wealth based on their race.

    I'm not convinced reserved places on councils for Maori (or any race) is a way forward. I don't really see that the Maori seats in parliament have been that successful and so I can't see why similar seats on a council would work.

    What does seem to have been positive (speaking from very little actual knowledge here and I'm happy to informed) is the combination of MMP with the rise of genuine Maori led political party. Rather than having Maori seats occupied by Labour party members who seemed to only represent Labour, we now have a party that tries to represent Maori. Could that party exist without the Maori seats? I don't know but it seems to me that the political power of the Maori party doesn't simply reside in reserved seats.

    I would hope that the Maori party would spend the same effort getting Auckland city councilors as they do getting MPs. And I honestly think that given their current political strength that if they put up and supported strong candidate they could easily get on the council.

    None of that obviates a legal obligation under the treaty to provide representation and I'm not arguing that.

    Not sure if the above thoughts make sense or are even relevant. I guess I'm just uncomfortable with reserved spots for anyone and in the end maybe I should just get over that discomfort.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Hilary and Sofie

    A couple of points on Helen's tribute time and the mean National digs

    Might I remind you of her behaviour when Don Brash made his last speech, disgraceful and ungracious

    Two wrongs don't make a right but lets not make a mole hill into a mountain

    And how history may judge her, two words

    Winston Peters

    Which I admit was an uncharacteristic slip but really came across as someone who would do almost anything to cling to power

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Bart

    Aren't all Maori MPs in Maori electorate seats? Which means it couldn't survive without 'em.

    If biculturalism is the first step towards multiculturalism, and if biculturalism is served by Maori seats, then multiculturalism must be served by all seats being allocated to other ethnicities.

    But why stop there? Surely, culture is larger than ethnicity. Gay seats. Transport seats. Music seats.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    One could also argue that the Treaty doesn't apply to local government

    One could. One would look silly though.

    And how history may judge her, two words

    Winston Peters

    Which I admit was an uncharacteristic slip but really came across as someone who would do almost anything to cling to power

    I think that story still needs to be told. I'm dubious that it was holding onto power, but I'd be curious to hear her 'tell all' - which she's said she won't write - on that topic in particular.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Aren't all Maori MPs in Maori electorate seats? Which means it couldn't survive without 'em.

    Why? All the Maori electorate voters would have to go somewhere. Who's to say what what happen in Northland (or Gisborne, at least once Hormoia is gone) if the electorate demographics (and boundaries) changed because a large number of people were suddenly moved to the general roll...

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3212 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    Mikaere, if we want a bi-cultural governance structure (and I know only enough about traditional Maori models to know that it's something we should at least try) it's not going to be achieved by dumping three Maori into a sea of, very likely, white men. They'll be tied into the same processes and failed mechanisms that we've been using for the last 170 years. Worse, they'll be co-opted, with the old boys pointing to their token non-honky colleagues and talking about how Maori are included in the process.

    I think we can separate out the arguments here. I think we both agree that we should at least try bi-cultural governance.

    The main issue that remains is ensuring an effective representation model for the 22 seats (i.e. non-mana whenua). Sure, only 3 Maori voices on a decision-making committee runs the risk of them being outvoted. However, at least Maori would be at the table, rather than hived off to some consultation committee. And, over time, we could build up concrete quantitative evidence of voting patterns to back up our thesis that Maori could be consistently outvoted. Contrast this with the qualitative (i.e. highly spinable) evidence from consultation processes which result in Maori not being listened to - much harder to prove and easier for the council to spin.

    So, how would I construct the governance model ?

    1) 20 general wards, 2 Maori wards, 1 mana whenua ward
    2) Each ward chooses on it's own election method via STV.
    3) Each ward has a number of elected ward-members, but only 1 seat on the council. The ward members choose a representative to be on the council, and have yearly re-selections for their rep.
    4) Wards can bind their rep to vote a certain way on specific issues if they have a certain majority (dunno, 2/3rds ?), otherwise the rep may vote differently to the ward's wishes.
    5) All votes at ward and council level are public, and reps need to be accountable back to their ward if they don't vote as requested. Perhaps there needs to be a mechanism by which bound votes are registered with the council so the rep can't vote the wrong way.

    Probably not perfect, but I think this would work a lot better than what is proposed (and what we currently have).

    Since the wards are directly represented on the council, I think the issue of them being not funded is essentially OK since they can vote for funding priorities.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    If biculturalism is the first step towards multiculturalism, and if biculturalism is served by Maori seats, then multiculturalism must be served by all seats being allocated to other ethnicities.
    But why stop there? Surely, culture is larger than ethnicity. Gay seats. Transport seats. Music seats.

    I thought we covered this earlier in the thread? We don't have a Treaty of Multiculturalism, or a Treaty of Transport, or a Treaty of Gaiety (heh). We have a Treaty of Waitangi. Between Maori and the Crown.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    And how history may judge her, two words

    Winston Peters

    That's like saying history judges FDR in one word: Yalta.

    There are several pretty big volumes of history to read before you get to that chapter. History may be written by the winners, but it certainly shouldn't be written by the amnesiacs.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Aren't all Maori MPs in Maori electorate seats?

    Eh? You mean all the MPs who are Maori are in Maori seats? There are plenty that aren't: Georgina Te Heu Heu? Meteria Turei? Parekura Horomia?

    But I do think that James has a point on "community of interest seats". I think there should be an option for any defined group (of which Maori are an established one) to choose to be represented other than by locality. So if Chinese people want an electorate and enough of them petition for one, they'd get it. Affiliating to a group would be optional, of course, and I suspect Maori would be the only one to manage it.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Mikaere, I like your ideas and would subscribe to your newsletter but fear that would breach Emma's new moderation bot...

    I particularly like the wards-as-Local-Boards with direct Council representation model, and could even handle a smaller number of (proportionally voted) at-large members under that model to work as "independent directors". They could counter some of the local parochialism that may be a downside of pure ward representation. And I agree that Maori wards are relevant and important - letting the ward determine it's own voting structure seems appropriate in that sense.

    But while I think the binding vote concept is a good one, I think voter engagement would be a real issue for local Auckland governance. 2/3s of people responding to a given ward referendum would still be a very tiny percentage of the local population given recent engagement and turnout.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Gay seats. Transport seats. Music seats.

    That brings some odd images to mind.

    Seriously that's an extreme version of the discussion and not really helpful. You don't need to go to extremes. And if you can get benefit from a partial measure the fact that an extreme measure might be silly is not a reason to exclude the partial measure.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    Here's a question for those of you with more knowledge/time to check Wikipedia: are there any other cities *of a similar population size and geographic area* which we can compare this set-up to? Most of the comparisons I've seen have been to places like Sydney (5 million in the urban area) or London (11 million.) They don't quite work for me.

    As a matter of fact, Pittsburgh is going through that process. The relatively small city (c. 300,000) is in the process of merging with the county of about a million.

    As the article I linked to says, this isn't so much to do with clunky vision-less governance (the mayor is 29!) as with a declining population and thus declining local tax base. The major problem is duplication of services -- there are something like 10 different police forces in the area, including one for every university -- and development strategy isn't so much of a problem because there just isn't all that much development to do. Also, it's only merging two governments, not four or five. Those from the county are concerned that their taxes are going to be used to prop up a city they don't feel a part of, and of course those from the city are worried that the county is full of zombies.

    Still, it's hard to see if anything is happening on this, as there was a burst of press about it this time last year, and not a lot since.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Eh? You mean all the MPs who are Maori are in Maori seats? There are plenty that aren't: Georgina Te Heu Heu? Meteria Turei? Parekura Horomia?

    I understood him to mean all Māori Party MPs were MPs in Māori electorates, which is true.

    I would note, however, that Parekura Horomia is the member of Parliament for Ikaroa-Rawhiti.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3212 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    "Interesting to describe Christine Fletcher as left-ish, given she is a former National MP."

    Ok, you got me there.... But compared to Banks...

    Shall we just say Christine and Mat are sane-ish, and split the sane vote? :)

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 893 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    I did note that the PM said there would be a Select Committee process around all this on b this morning

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    __Isn't he shaping up well.__

    Well, he certainly thinks so :)

    Lockwood's now in a tricky position trying to get Minister's to answer questions but not having to judge the quality of the answer. I hope he manages it. He did well yesterday when Smith was flat out evading a direct question from Mallard re the ACC Chair. If Lockwood resolves this, and I genuinely hope he does, he'll have made a major improvement to our democracy.

    Are you sure we can't get to multiculturalism directly. It would seem sad to me to think that we can't recognise the values/needs/responsibilities of all parts of our culture at the same time.

    I thought that was what possibly what Matthew Poole was getting at and I'm inclined to agree with Mikaere's response - that biculturalism is a first step.

    I don't agree, however, that our current system of parliament is fairly described as monocultural, unless it's monoculturally a New Zealand arrangement. To say it's monocultural ignores the long and significant influence of Maori on its development. I'm not just talking about the symbolic stuff, the use of Maori language and the Maori Select Committee rooms, I mean the contributions Maori and non-Maori have made to all the traditions, Standing Orders included. I don't want to overstate this, but the contrast between Australian parliaments and New Zealand's is stark and is a function of the people that have been in those chambers.

    What's my point? I agree our goal should be a more inclusive and representative parliament/government and that progressively honouring the Treaty is fundamental. I also think we should note that progress has been made.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    He did well yesterday when Smith was flat out evading a direct question from Mallard re the ACC Chair.

    He did do well, but I think this is a little harsh on Nick Smith. He was asked a supplementary question (so without notice) about an apparent inconsistency with a statement he'd made to NZPA supposedly saying the opposite.

    He didn't remember exactly what he'd said to NZPA, and didn't have it in front of him; he could have said, I don't recall exactly what I said to NZPA, so I can't answer the question about whether there is an inconsistency in my two statements. That wouldn't have been all that helpful. So instead he basically answered "here is exactly what happened ...". This provided much more information to the House/public, and would enable others to determine whether there was an inconsistency.

    Mallard seemed to think the more helpful response would have been to refuse to answer the question because he couldn't recall what he'd said. Which he did at the second attempt, while alluding to his belief that that wouldn't have been all that helpful, so had taken the other course.

    A little while later Smith came into the House, and sought leave to table the NZPA report, claiming that Mallard had completely mis-characterised it, and that there was no inconsistency.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3212 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    He did do well, but I think this is a little harsh on Nick Smith. He was asked a supplementary question (so without notice) about an apparent inconsistency with a statement he'd made to NZPA supposedly saying the opposite.

    Graeme, I think it reasonable to expect Smith would have thoroughly reviewed his actions over the last few weeks and would be on top of the details. Mallard's supplementary was predictable.

    A little while later Smith came into the House, and sought leave to table the NZPA report, claiming that Mallard had completely mis-characterised it, and that there was no inconsistency.

    I didn't see/know this so appreciate your point.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Rich of Obs & Graeme:

    Doh. Yeah meant Maori Party MPs.

    Actually, I don't accept my own argument. Bart's right. You just end up with a bunch of tokens. Guess this shows why I'm not a wonk. Mikaere, u=champ.

    Roger: how do the representation stats (1:70K) compare to some of those other places to which Auckland's been compared, e.g. Toronto?

    And can't be arsed reminiscing on the rapidly-being-dismantled Clark achievements. Go the UN Dvlpnt programme. The way the current gummint's going, we're all gonna need it.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Graham,

    will the auckland tail wag the New Zealand dog? hope not as 3/4 of nzers dont live there!

    Actually only 66% of NZers don't live here and that's changing every day.

    The Auckland as a nation-state within NZ is a red herring.

    What I don't get is why a perceived need to change the governance structure that, ugly a process as it is, enables consultation, co-operation and compromise - three words the right dislike intensely.

    Did anyone hear Banks on Nat Radio this morning - scratch the layer off a friendly Banksy, find the old attack dog underneath. Banks insults other councils

    What we're going to end up with is a conservative council and mayor who will try to keep rates down by postponing investment in infrastructure, withhold funding for "non-core business" whatever that is, because the poor and young do not vote, delivering a city geared solely towards 'business' interests and ignoring the fact that businesses thrive in cities that have a thriving and diverse cultural base. Richard Florida has it nicely here

    AAAAAAAAAARGH. Hijacked by fascists in blue suits. Again.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 217 posts Report Reply

  • Roger,

    Roger: how do the representation stats (1:70K) compare to some of those other places to which Auckland's been compared, e.g. Toronto?

    James... I don't have North American numbers. A year or so I got interested and tracked down the Australian numbers so I had those at hand, but it is often actually quite difficult to get them.

    One I do know is Edinburgh that had about 450,000 people and 50 councillors. However that is a different system... they run a cabinet portfolio system for the Council.

    In the US they can often have quite small 'councils' but in many cases all of the senior managers may be political appointees so they get a sort of representation in a different way. Anyone know how US local government works??

    I do remember reading that even including the NYC and LAs into the mix, the average size of a council is of the order of 20,000 people which equates to Waitaki District Council. In New Zealand the average council size is 58,000 (median = 34,000) which makes our Councils very large by world standards.

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2007 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Richard Florida has it nicely here

    As housing starts and housing prices rose, so did tax revenues, and a major capital-spending boom occurred throughout the Greater Phoenix area. Arizona State University built a new downtown Phoenix campus, and the city expanded its convention center and constructed a 20-mile light-rail system connecting Phoenix, Mesa, and Tempe.

    Awww man - we got the housing boom and not even a lousy capital-spending purge to go with it!

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Roger,

    James...

    Well actually that was easy! Toronto has a Mayor (elected at large) and 44 councillors (from 44 wards) for a population of 2.5 million or 1:55,600

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2007 • 179 posts Report Reply

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