Rudman wrong again on SuperCity

In the Herald’s largely excellent coverage of the supercity proposals, there is one standout example of faulty logic.

Brian Rudman is critical of the at-large system that will be used to partly fill the seats of the new Auckland Council.

He says that the at-large system will favour the Remuera power-brokers, and will apparently perpetuate the notion of older men and Europeans in local government.

The irony is that he couldn’t be more wrong. Rudman is probably harkening back to his heydeys of reporting in the late 1970s, rather than reflecting on what modern New Zealand is like. In the 1970s, the Auckland councils were predominately white and older faces, but then, the Labour Party offerings in the 1970s were hardly appealing. In fact, they were goddamn incompetent buffoons like Jim Anderton. Faced with that choice, voters rushed to support C&R. But I digress.

In fact, there is an example of a modern “at large” system for voting in NZ politics. It’s called the MMP list.

If anything, the MMP list has been an opportunity to massively increase diversity in almost every way. We now have Chinese, Korean, Pacific Islander, Indian, Muslim and more ethnic groups in Parliament, thanks to the Parliamentary list. Admittedly, we haven’t made life easy for those MPs who wanted to be Dutch before Kiwi, but you get the drift.

At Large systems don’t promulgate a certain sector of population in a modern, multi-cultural society. They reflect them.

Tickets that end up offering only Maori radical candidates on any new Auckland Council would be just as exclusionary and forgettable in the minds of voters as a “Chinatown First” political party or a ticket made up of white older men.

Voters are after competent, hardworking, intelligent people, who reflect their communities. With the added responsibilities of a $3.2 billion organisation, we will need people with businesslike thinking, commercial and/or political experience as well as community involvement and engagement.

Rudman really needs to let go of the 1970s, and embrace the new millenium. We’ve all changed a lot over 40 years. Rudman should too.

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