Demo leader ignores electorate numbers issue

Tuesday October 31, 2017 Published in Letters to the Editor

I’m disappointed that in her first article after my challenge last week for both parties to show leadership and deal with the electorate numbers issue, the leader of the Democratic Party, Tina Browne, chose to ignore that, perhaps hoping it would go away so she can stand for Rakahanga and its 35 voters in the next election.


Instead of accepting the pretty well unchallengeable argument of making for fairness over the whole country, she issued a heartfelt plea for yet more taxpayer subsidies for northern shipping.

She acknowledged that commercial shipping up there is only barely sustainable, but went on to say that we taxpayers should pay for it anyway. In our world of politically manipulative subsidies, northern shipping is in a class of its own.

The real issue in the north is declining populations. For years now, both parties have poured taxpayer money into the four parliamentary seats up north and the Democratic  Party obviously intends to continue the habit. More subsidies are not going to fix things. Nothing has made any difference to the decline in populations.

Except in Pukapuka. I’m interested to know how and why Pukapuka has managed to maintain a sustainable population of now around 500 when the other 3 dwindle away. What are those people doing right that the others aren’t? Has anyone in government ever wondered about this?

I find it shameful that the leader of one of our two main parties should make a blatantly political plea for more taxpayer-funded subsidies to be spent on what in reality is a lost cause.

Instead of more subsidies, she should concentrate of restoring fairness to the electoral system.

            Mata-Atua McNair


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