Bloggers Should Sit On Transport Cmte!


Two unelected Maori will sit on the Auckland Council transport committee and participate in decisions. In fact we just seem to have all woken up to the fine print in the Government local body legislation dictating that the Maori Statutory Board can appoint up to two members with full voting rights to all council committees that deal with natural and physical resources.
The Maori board chairman David Taipari told the Aucklander:

20 of the council’s committees, panels and forums will have two Maori representatives at the table for meetings.
These bodies’ responsibilities range over almost all the council’s activities – future vision, strategy and finance, transport, regulations and bylaws, social and community development, parks and heritage.
“We asked the council for its requirements in regards to skills and expertise that it wanted for the members to join the committees prior to Christmas and we did not get a response back,” he says.
“So, rather than wait any further, we have nominated two names for each of the majority of the committees. We have considered what skills they should have and we have put those names forward.”
Asked if the public seemed aware of the Maori appointments, Mr Taipari replies: “I’m starting to find out that that’s probably not the case. I believe the council has yet to get its head around it. But have we gained the balance of power? I would say we have not. What we have gained is an opportunity to participate.”

One of the 4 tekoteko outside Eden Park

The relevant section (85) of the Local Government (Auckland Council) Amendment Act 2010 says:

Board’s specific functions (1) The board must appoint a maximum of 2 persons to sit as members on each of the Auckland Council’s committees that deal with the management and stewardship of natural and physical resources.

(2) If the Auckland Council asks the board to appoint a person or persons to sit as members on any other of the Council’s committees, the board may do so.

(3) The board must

(a) before making the appointments, seek the views of the Auckland Council as to the skills and experience that the Council would like the appointees to have; and

(b) when making the appointments, take the views of the Auckland Council into account.

(4) The board must consider a request by the Auckland Council that the board accept the delegation of a function by the Council.

(5) The board must act in accordance with a delegation that it has accepted

It’s extraordinary that this has only just surfaced without proper debate.

The reality is that there could well be an occasion when a committee vote is split and the two representatives do hold the balance of power.

The principle of unelected people having votes on a council committee is highly questionable and a long way from the original debate about 2 elected Maori seats on the council. Elected is the way it should be.

But if we are going down the unelected but vested route route, does a group like the Campaign for Better Transport with its vested interest in transport not have justification for being a defacto member of the transport committee with voting rights? It already has permission to sit in on the Hamilton rail working committee at Environment Waikato. Should it not be able to have voting rights as well?

Maybe transport bloggers can also apply to have full voting rights on the transport committee representing the ears of the public. Now that would be fun. Count me in.




  1. Paul in Sydney says:

    You have my vote

    That’s right it’s unelected, so how does one get unelected?

  2. Jeremy says:

    why haven’t we heard anything from Mr Hide?

  3. kel says:

    I’d vote for you Jon any day…

  4. Mike Rogers says:

    So how do you propose they be elected? Separate ballot? Separate Maori electoral role? It seems like it would be more hassle for what one would, under reasonable treaty assumptions, see as symbolic gesture.

    But is it really a case of appointees being unelected, it’s not like its Joe Blogs walking off the street. A rigorous enough selection process is followed and anyone familiar with Maori politics would know that peer selection would be subject to rigorous internal debate through many hui.

  5. Michael Wood says:

    This is extraordinary. Many of us believe that it is important for Maori to have a defined place at the Council table, and backed elected Maori seats to achieve this. Hide and the right accused us of separatism for this. Now his legislation means unelected people having a vote on every single major decision of the Council.
    It is both undemocratic and it de-legitimises Maori representation. Yet another reason that Hide deserves to be run out of town for what he did to Auckland.

  6. Andrew says:

    I’m also not comfortable with this. Just look where we’ve got with our Transport Minister, also unelected.
    Nobody voted for Steven Joyce, he got in on the party list.

  7. Urban Local says:

    These positions are very much needed to ensure robust environmental stewardship and recognising the role Maori have in this process. It would have been better if they were elected positions but the current government is opposed to Maori seats in principle (it would like to see an end to parliamentary electoral seats). In light of this it is good compromise and until rectified by a future government. Alternatively Maori would be left out in the cold.

  8. Matt L says:

    Urban Local - how is it a good thing? if someone wants have a say in what happens then there is nothing stopping them from running for a seat on the council, its not like there is any restrictions on them doing so. The rectification that should be made is to remove the statuary board from having voting rights, that way they can provide advice but not make decisions that affect more than 1 million residents.

  9. JC says:

    I am really unhappy with this rubbish.

    Yet again Hide makes the rules up on the day for the day. I hope he crashes and burns this coming election. He is not to be trusted and has proved it once again.

  10. Mark says:

    Urban local - “Alternatively Maori would be left out in the cold”

    they have the exact same rights as everyone else - nobody is left out. that is what democracy is - and why we’ve fought wars against people wanting to remove this right.

    This is all typical muddled thinking - some muthical “maori” - no this isn’t all maori - this is a select few choosing jobs/pay/mana amongst themselves. Have any of your maori friends been offeredd these jobs? none of mine have!

    Over 50% of “maori” reject seperate seats by choosing to stay on general roles - so why doesn’t that seem to count?

    Democracy is too important to distort. Businesses pay almost 50% of the total rates - shoudl the business roundtable get a seat on committees?

    Local govt is not the crown - it was not a party to the treaty. Only the Crown has responsibilities - and what we see are them constantly pushing these onto other bodies - basically as a way of side stepping any responsibility.

    On this basis, after Council committees, why not school trust boards?

  11. joust says:

    @Andrew, slightly off topic, this idea that list MPs weren’t voted in is false. The party lists are freely available months before an election anyone who ticks a particular party’s box is basically acknowledging:

    “yep, I’ve had a look at the list and policies of this lot and am happiest with that combination above any of the others.”

    SJ was a pretty big and obvious part of National’s campaign, a party vote for them clearly included Mr Joyce.

    Anyone with a big enough problem with one of the personalities on the list to be publicly suggesting they don’t deserve to be there probably should look elsewhere to give their party vote.

    In fact I think thats what happened to Labour with their previous leader at the helm. Democracy in action.

  12. mark says:

    “It would have been better if they were elected positions ”

    Damn right it would, Urban Local - however, I think this DAMAGES Maori representation, because they get special treatment. Just wait until the first crucial decision is “thrown” by the unelected members, and watch the firestorm - a mixture of righteous and unrighteous indignation is a fearsome thing to watch. If you think that will help people respect Maori views, I am afraid you are wrong.

    And it’s undemocratic. Full stop.

  13. JC says:

    I fully agree with Mark.

    We all have to earn our right to be somebody in life,
    The fact that these positions were just given away sinks. It has also put Maori is a position where they will cop flack from the public,

    In my opinion It is a silly appointment and a decision made without public debate, and a decision made by a group who haven’t thought it through.

    You can understand why people are unhappy with the appointment. I am unhappy with the appointment process as an Aucklander, a voter and a rate payer, and I am unhappy that Maori are placed in a position where by they will be picked on because of a back door deal.


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