Tamihere disqualified from Maori board?
Pita Sharples announced the Auckland Council's new Maori board members today. One of whom is John Tamihere. Who is doing it under protest.Well he might be protesting from the sidelines, because I'm not sure he's even qualified to be there:
Willie Jackson on their Radio Live show makes constant reference to his drink driving record as a wind up. I don't think it's funny myself, it's a bit cruel how he goes on and on about it. Here it is mentioned on Wikipedia:But does John Tamihere's drink driving offences bar him from the Auckland Council's Maori committee?
It all hinges on whether a conviction was for something that had a maximum penalty of 2 years or more. The NZTA says a third drink-driving incident is:The question is what was the penalty back when he was last convicted. If it is 2 years or more he is disqualified. From the Local Government (Auckland Council) Amendment Act 2010 :In my submission to the select committee I said that the 2 year (or any imprisonment at all) disqualification was unfair because it did not apply to the CCOs - just the Maori board - and that it would disbar some otherwise good candidates as the threshold was just too high. I regard it as a Jim Crow type law designed to keep out anti-establishment people, protest leaders of the past who have crossed paths with the law etc. Meanwhile any shady goings on at the golf club or dodginess at the Scout rooms that the white folks may have copped a conviction for is acceptable - they won't be barred from the other boards for their crimes. One harsher rule for Maori - one lighter rule for others. It is discrimination, the basis racial.
I pointed it out to the MPs at the time and they seemed to have acknowledged it - one saying that the same qualification for an MP ought to apply to the board (ie. past convictions are not relevant only ones incurred when in office if serious enough). I was saddened to see when the final legislation was introduced that they had not done anything about it and that the unfairness was still there. And now - at least from the sources I have referred to above - a question mark hangs over Tamihere's validity to serve on the board. This was the exact sort of situation I warned of.
I'm not trying to be a stirrer here and this isn't personally against him - despite Tamihere being a bit of a rat bag and not completely my cup of tea - he is probably the sort of person the board should have and barring him and people like him who have made mistakes in the past and paid the penalty - is unfair. If Tamihere is disqualified then the law should be changed (but I won't hold my breath - he ain't Peter Jackson and Maori aren't as important to this Tory government as Warner Bros.)