“Labour’s fixation with shoe-horning co-governance into every aspect of our lives means the Canterbury Regional Council will soon be able to have unelected representatives based on their race,” says ACT’s Local Government spokesperson Simon Court.

“The Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill gives Ngāi Tahu the ability to appoint two unelected representatives to council.

“Liberal democracy matters. Every adult New Zealander gets one vote. Superficial characteristics like race, sex, sexuality and religion are not relevant to ourrights. Being the first in the world to achieve that is New Zealand’s greatest political achievement.

“ACT believes that only democratically-elected representatives should vote in councils and in Parliament, this piece of legislation erodes this principle.

“ECAN currently has two Mana Whenua experts on the council who provide advice but don’t have the power to vote at council meetings. This is a democratic way to ensure Māori voices are heard without overriding basic democratic principles.

“Ngāi Tahu are welcome to gain greater representation and voting rights on the council by participating in local government elections and being voted in. No one should gain these rights without going through this process.

“ACT appealed to the Government to fulfil the principle that only democratically elected representatives should vote in Councils and Parliament. The people of Canterbury should have the right to decide who represents them on their council through fair and democratic local elections.”

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Simon Court