Everybody appreciates politicians who stand by their principles. They make a refreshing change from the many who tailor their views to the prevailing tide. Hats off, then, to Act leader Rodney Hide, who has vowed to resign as Local Government Minister if National agrees to Maori representation on the Super-City Auckland Council. He believes an advisory board should provide the voice for Maori, and says he intends to stand by that.

Such clarity also makes matters easy for the Prime Minister. John Key should thank Mr Hide for being so unequivocal and, with Auckland's interests uppermost in his mind, accept his resignation. Ever since the rush-of-blood decision to exclude Maori, Mr Key has, quite correctly, been seeking to fashion a compromise. Mr Hide's stand should make that process easier, not more fraught. His resignation would, after all, not affect Act's five votes supporting National on confidence and supply.

Mr Hide's absence would allow a more reasoned analysis, notably of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance's recommendation in favour of Maori seats. Maori, a community of distinctive character and interest, should be represented on the Auckland Council. Dedicated seats, preferably two in number and elected by Auckland residents on the rolls of the Maori parliamentary electorates covering the Super City, are the obvious means of ensuring this.

A hikoi in May demonstrated the depth of feeling in the Maori community. It also emphasised that the Government, which, until then, had adopted an inclusive approach to Maori issues, had got itself in a jam. Extracting itself will be much simpler now that Mr Hide has revealed the extent of his dogmatism.

Not that this should discourage the Act leader from bringing the same sense of principle to the regulatory reform and commerce portfolios which would still be his.