In May Shane Jones proposed a bill to guarantee Maori representation on the Council. And in June Labour showed its hand by departing from the Royal Commission recommendation that a Mana Whenua seat be created. That's right, they disagreed with the Royal Commission on Maori seats.
But today over at Red Alert, Grant Robertson was even more pithy and vague:
David: Labour believes strong Maori participation is critical to the success of the Auckland. Just as the Maori seats in Parliament guarantee a Maori voice in Parliament a similar arrangement could work well on the Auckland Council.Could work well? What about "necessary"? Or even "imperative"? And even ACT believes strong Maori participation is critical. So there is nothing new there. In typical Labour spinspeak, Robertson's comment equates to pseudo mumbo jumbo.
The sad reality though is that these decisions are not going to be taken by Labour. It is really interesting that Mr Farrar and others try to divert the conversation. The issue here is about what National will do.
Phil Goff needs to portray himself as a centrist, almost on the right, and gain back some of the centre ground John Key has gobbled up. He needs to show the country he stands against apartheid-type seats. He won't be able to do that with race-based legislation.
So Labour has backed down.