Stand for council

It is not a walk in the park to put one's name for election to a council, and many good people have stood and not made it, women included, and we are 51 per cent of the population.

Every man and woman of any ethnicity is my equal, and I know that if we have a Maori ward or wards it is telling Maori they are not good enough and not electable. This is a nonsense as we have had capable Maori representatives in the past and we will again in the future. Just as we have had more really capable women on Western Bay and at the moment we only have one.

So, I believe it is a dreadful lie to pretend that Maori are not good enough. Imagine locking Maori voters into one or two wards stretching over the extraordinarily vast distances and stopping them from voting for other positions.

There are four councillors representing the Kaimai Ward, three representing Katikati Waihi Beach ward, and four representing Te Puke Maketu. No way can the system be designed to keep Maori out and separate. We are all equal.
Margaret Murray-Benge
Bethlehem

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Common purpose

Peter Dey (Letters, January 20) claims only 5 per cent of councillors in NZ are Maori. The obvious reason is not, as claimed by Peter Dey, that people vote for candidates they ethnically identify with. Rather, I believe that Maori have a lethargy about involvement and a failure to put up credible candidates. To suggest otherwise is to demean those elected on merit.

Among others, mayors Ron Mark, Georgina Beyer, councillors Ray Ahipene-Mercer, and Tauranga's own Colin Bidois, a three-time Manukau City Councillor.

The blame for spending $70,000 on a referendum is not the fault of those signing the petition but, in my opinion, lies squarely with those who failed to consult their community.

I believe consultation would have told them a petition would be called for and abandoned the idea, saving $70,000. The organisers of this petition and those signing it are the kaitiaki of democracy.

I would like to believe that Peter Dey does believe in equality but equality cannot be achieved through inequality. It's time to get out of the waka of separatism paddling in a different direction and climb aboard the cruise liner of democracy and be part of a community with a common purpose.

Richard Prince
Welcome Bay

Baby not news

In regards to Jacinda Ardern's baby news: So what? It happens all the time. Why all the fawning over it? Don't our MPs have anything better to be getting on with? Just as well it won't be born in December, I can just see our local MPs trotting off to Bethlehem (NZ) bearing gifts.
Leave it to the women's magazines to cover all the dreary details. No more front page spreads please, stick to real news.
Robert England
Papamoa