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Time to move on

By Seamus Boyer

[email protected]

A lot has been said on the subject of iwi representatives having a vote on Masterton District Council committees.

Certainly enough, and probably too much.

Now it’s time to move on.

The two reps, who were given voting rights on two committees earlier this year, but not on full council, were reaffirmed in their positions last month by the incoming council.

Five councillors wanted the system scrapped, five wanted it to continue.

Mayor Lyn Patterson sided with those in favour, and the system continued.

Around the district a lot of people have an opinion on this.

Those in favour like to believe it was a forward-thinking move, and that history will prove them right.

They might argue that such a setup will become standard across the country before long.

But the fact is that is yet to be seen, and is not a good enough reason in itself for implementing it Masterton now.

And even if they are right, a lot of people disagree with it.

No matter how valid you believe your arguments, you cannot force people to share them.

Many people around the district remain opposed to it, and some vehemently so.

Some of those against it point to lofty principles of democracy, saying the system has been placed in peril by the awarding of committee votes to unelected appointees.

They stress it has nothing whatsoever to do with race.

Some of them probably aren’t being entirely honest.

The issue has become a sideshow, taking away attention from what really matters to Masterton ratepayers, and leaving those iwi reps chosen to sit on the comittees in an awkward position.

Five of the eleven elected officials don’t want them there – not that it’s anything personal, of course.

So now it is time to move on.

This issue will not be revisited, it will not be overturned.

It’s time for the councillors to focus on the task ahead, which should be to make the district a better place to live than it was when they were elected.

It’s time for them to embrace the system as it now is, and how it will remain for the next three years, for the good of the district.

Let’s hope that happens.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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