One person, one vote – the fundamental principle underpinning our democracy – is under attack by a new Bill in Parliament from Labour list MP Tamati Coffey and the Rotorua District Council.
Under this racist and divisive Bill, a vote from a voter on the General Roll would only be worth 58% of the vote from their neighbour on the Maori Roll.
This isn’t just separate seats for a different ethnicity, like in Parliament, this is giving different values to different votes, based on the ancestry of the voter.
New Zealand’s proud history of democratic inclusion will be left in tatters by treating one voter as less important than the next.
So far, this Bill has flown under the radar. Your submission against the bill will show the anti-democracy movement they can’t sneak this through unchallenged.
Rotorua’s 21,700 Māori Roll voters will elect three councillors, while the 55,600 General Roll voters, more than double the number of voters, will also get just three councillors. Four councillors and the mayor are elected at large.
Local government electoral legislation prohibits arranging council seats in this way, protecting the one person, one vote principle. The Rotorua Council and Tāmati Coffey have brought forward this Bill to override that legal protection.
This Bill will not only undermine democracy in Rotorua, but it will also establish a precedent.
If the anti-democracy movement can just legislate away democratic equality when it suits them, the integrity of our democracy isn’t safe anywhere.
Will your council be next? What about Parliament?
Our system of government relies on the democratic right of the people to vote out the politicians that represent them.
Once our votes aren’t worth the same, the politicians won’t have to listen to us all equally.
Your ability to demand that politicians listen to the public will be undermined as politicians first wonder what kind of voter you are.
MAKE A SUBMISSION
In a bizarre twist, submissions on the Bill have been reopened. More here.