Candidates’ views on co-governance

The question ‘‘do you support co-governance as it is being promoted by this Government?’’was one of the questions posed at the Rotary Club of Gore’s meet-the-candidates evening last week.

The candidates’ replies, in the order they were given, are as follows:

Ben Bell: “No, I don’t support co-governance in the way it’s proposed. Sorry. The way it’s formed is that we have to have a 50-50 split with elected members and then iwi, and then it will roll down into a board, and then it will roll down into electing a CE [chief executive], so you can imagine what our voice is going to be like by the end of that.’’

Liz Adams-Gray: “No.’’

Nick Grant: “No. Too messy and unconventional, and it’s not going to work in this day and age.”

Steven Dixon: “Definitely don’t support it for the same reason.’’

Stephen McStay: “No. I think it’s a distraction and it’s splitting our communities.”

Janeen Reti: “No. I think ‘too many cooks ruin the broth’ is a good one for that one.’’

Paul McPhail: “No. I believe one vote per person. That’s democracy.’’

Robert McKenzie: “I was sitting here thinking what I was going to say, and Paul just said it on my behalf. One vote, one person. That’s the law.”

Joe Stringer: “I have a vote, I have a voice [and] I don’t like half of that being taken away from me.”

Glenys Dickson: “No. I think it’s divisive and I don’t think it’s where our country needs to be going.”

Keith Hovell: “I don’t support it either. Representation is across a community and the people you elect should reflect what is in that community, with the community deciding who they have to stand and work with them.’’

Bronwyn Reid: “I think that is a very interesting question. I don’t agree with the way it’s been presented by Government, but I certainly don’t feel threatened, as we currently work alongside our local iwi and we work very well with them.

‘‘I think we have to be very careful about how we approach questions like that, as I find some of it actually is coming from a very racist point of view.’’

Bret Highsted: “I don’t support it in its current shape. We are one country, we’re one people and one vote.’’

Richard McPhail: “No. I don’t support co-governance. I think there’s no process currently under our electoral system to recognise it.’’

Tracy Hicks: “I would like to ask some of the candidates who said ‘no, they don’t support it’, to explain what it is. In most people’s minds, when you ask about co-governance, you’re thinking about reform for Three Waters — but co-governance is much bigger and much more expansive than that. It is something that has been working and working well in the North Island, and there are examples of where it can be a good thing.

‘‘I totally agree with one person, one vote; but we also have to acknowledge from our history we come from a treaty settlement and there has to be recognition of that. How that looks in reality, I don’t know.’’

Reuben Turipa: “I don’t agree with co-governance, even if it was local iwi. I don’t believe it is. A lot of people, I believe, are selected by people higher, like the elites.”