OK, let’s talk about Tauranga.
Tauranga City Council this week has had a bit of drama.
A guy called Andrew Hollis has just been elected to council.
Problem is, Andrew Hollis made some comments about the treaty that haven’t gone down very well.
He agreed with a Facebook comment about burning the Treaty, he called it a joke and said it was past its use-by date.
So he’s been told he needs to quit.
The race relations commissioner’s told him to quit.
Local iwi have told him to quit.
The new mayor said he didn’t need to quit, then he did need to quit, then he didn’t need to quit again.
It got quite heated yesterday, the council was sworn in and a tangata whenua representative ripped a copy of the treaty off the wall in protest, which was promptly replaced.
Now I can understand why some people might not like what Andrew Hollis said.
But this can’t be how we react every time someone says something that someone else finds offensive: by demanding their resignation or shutting them down
For a while there the new mayor Tenby Powell considered barring Hollis from participating in any vote that involved anything treaty related.
Because, according go the mayor, Hollis had “pre-determined views.”
Well who doesn’t?
Who in this country doesn’t have an opinion on the treaty?
And just to underscore how ridiculous an idea that was, most council votes involve the treaty in some way.
So Tauranga would’ve had a councillor on the pay role unable to do his job because he has an opinion that the mayor and the iwi and the race relations conciliator don’t like.
And that is pretty much all it comes down to.
These guy don’t like his opinion.
As it happens, nor do I.
I disagree with him.
I think the treaty of Waitangi is a contract that the crown has repeatedly breached and should uphold.
But that’s where it ends. I disagree, he probably disagrees with me, but that’s life.
He's a democratically elected councillor whose views shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, he put these posts up before and during the election period.
And having an opinion on something is not a conflict of interest.
It’s a requirement of the job I would’ve thought.