On November 21 I had to take part in the debate on the issue of Maori wards for the Western Bay of Plenty Council. I voted not to introduce Maori wards and now, for me, it is the moment of truth. Unfortunately iwi have decided they are a victim of circumstance. It allows them to blame other people; lets them blame circumstance; permits them to avoid responsibility for their lives; encourages them to feel sorry for themselves, and guarantees they will stay a victim for financial gain. Ethic-based tribal politics has to stop.
Instead of opening business and being part of commerce, iwi has come to rely on patronage as payback as a means of advancing unqualified grievances and compensation. It stifles innovation and fractures the fabric of our society.
Instead of unifying the country it divides Kiwi from iwi and councillors of Western Bay (but not all) are part of the crime, as is central government.
The process was flawed by Western Bay Council. The public and ratepayers had no say on who will foot the bill. In two years' time I have to front up to the people in Te Puke who voted for me.
They will let me know if I got it wrong and I hope I have not let you down.
Cr M Lally, Te Puke-Maketu (Abridged).