Calls for a new councillor to resign, vandalism, and council staff on strike for higher pay; the new council’s first week had it all.

Newly elected councillor Andrew Hollis caused offence through comments that were dismissive of the Treaty of Waitangi and the settlement process arising from the Crown’s historic breaches. He faced calls from a couple of elected colleagues and the public to resign with accusations of racism thrown in. Others urged him to ‘stick to his guns;’ saying he represents the views of a sector of the community.

Personally, I strongly disagree with his comments in both content and tone. My ancestors migrated from Britain, starting in 1841, under that document drafted in the name of Queen Victoria. Dismissing it diminishes both European and Maori history equally. However, it’s too easy these days to brand someone a ‘racist’ and terminate the debate. Doing so cuts off an opportunity to listen to each other but also diminishes racism, which is abhorrent, to an overused debating term.

Hayden Henry tore copies of the Treaty off the chamber wall which got the media excited. I was disappointed by that act too. Rather, I respected Buddy Mikaere’s act of protest; standing and pointing at the Treaty during Cr Hollis’ swearing in. It was quiet but powerful, making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Adding to the tension, downstairs, there was a noisy protest we thought was about the Treaty comments, but it was a protest from council staff demanding more pay!

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris