Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ngai Tahu elections

The Ngai Tahu elections are a worry. Here is Richard Parata's analysis - and note this is from 2006 but is still relevant today. In fact my question is, "What has changed?"

"Iwi pleads for more openness"; "Ngai Tahu beneficiaries are calling for greater transparency in the way their assets are managed" (The Press, September 22). I could not agree more. The time has come for all Ngai Tahu to be informed and involved, through democratically elected representatives."

The process by which the 18 representatives are appointed to Tront is not democratic. Few of the 37,000 eligible beneficiaries have the opportunity to vote directly for a person to represent them.

A major problem is that voting is marae-based and through an electoral college. Only some marae allow fully democratic postal voting. All beneficiaries can trace their whakapapa to more than one marae and by right can vote on multiple marae, and therefore the system allows multiple votes. But implementing a full multiple-vote system would produce more problems than it would solve.

It does not help in seeking the participation of beneficiaries that 55 per cent live outside the tribal area, in the North Island and overseas. Lack of democracy means that Tront is not truly accountable to the people. Unbridled power has taken precedence over the democratic needs of the beneficiaries, with serious consequences for the tribe's financial future."

It is important that all Ngai Tahu get engaged with this election. Go to Richards blog and read up about the historical situation that has got us here. Ask your runanga or your rep about what is happening. Find out if you are enrolled. Find out if your Tiipuna is included within the roll for your marae.

There are many challenges facing our Iwi and those challenges require a full paddling commitment from all members of the waka. And we can't get that unless we give Ngai Tahu whanui a way to ensure their voices are heard. Because it's their iwi too, its our iwi too...

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