DPF's musings this morning on Act's social liberalism deficit is amusing. Not because the internal tensions that have always existed within the Act party between conservative and liberal are funny, but because of the wonderful conclusion he comes up with:
Wouldn’t it be great I thought to hear Don Brash say something along the lines of “Yes we are going to get rid of the Maori seats, because race based seats are wrong – but we are also going to decriminalise personal use of cannabis, as our current drug laws unfairly penalise young Maori”.
Do you love his logic? (And let's be generous and call it logic).
So, the reason to decriminalise drugs is so that Maori can get the same lenient treatment as Pakeha? Really? I thought it was about freedom to determine one's own actions as long as it doesn't negatively affect others, but no - it's about racial equality, apparently. And coming from Act - after that awful race-baiting ad - it would never ring true. But that's not the silly bit I want to focus on, it's the corollary (and let's be generous enough to use that word to link it back to logic) of his argument: that policy should be based on not unfairly penalising Maori.
Glad he brought that up. The reason the Maori electorates exist in the form they do is precisely because if they did not it would unfairly penalise Maori. Abolishing the seats would also unfairly advantage Pakeha and magnify the marginalisation of Maori.
The seats exist to offset the other unfair penalty of not having the Treaty of Waitangi honoured by the Crown. The seats were created at the same time the NZ government had embarked on a war against Maori and had abrogated the Treaty - as a gimmick to placate the Colonial Office for having done so.
Maori that wish to represent Maori as a Maori have never been elected in a General/European seat. The closest to it was Sandra Lee's 1993 victory in Auckland Central over Richard Prebble, but that was a unique set of circumstances (and under Alliance banner rather than as a Mana Motuhake member) and such a feat has not been repeated. It is that FPP system (and MMP with a 5% threshold) that is unfair to Maori and electoral history is testament to that. To abolish - for Pakeha to abolish - the Maori seats would be to unfairly penalise Maori.