Thanks Rodney

You probably know the old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

It's an idea that strikes a chord because we've all come across well-intentioned people who haven't thought things through, and have pushed ahead with plans destined for disaster.

A present-day example of that may be John Key's determination to stick to his scheme of selling off a chunk of government assets regardless of who really owns them, and regardless of the miserable sale price he'll have to settle for.

It's too early to judge whether his plan is seriously dopey - or just moderately stupid.

So I'll bypass that issue for now.

Instead let's look at the reverse side of that adage about the common consequences of good intentions.

The reverse side is that bad intentions sometimes deliver unexpectedly good results.

Rodney Hide may be able to tell us a bit about that.

Rodney received the Local Government portfolio in 2008 as a reward for propping up John Key's coalition.

He then set about creating the super-city in Auckland.

But in the process he also set about rejecting the recommendation that there should be some provision to ensure Maori representation on the new council.

Anyone who's ever taken a serious look at how people vote in local body elections will know that, by and large, Pakeha don't vote for Maori candidates.

And so wherever there's a majority of Pakeha voters, which is just about everywhere, a Maori candidate has no show.

Perhaps that wouldn't be a great problem if Pakeha councillors were clued up about the non-Pakeha in their communities.

They would also need some grasp of the Treaty obligations that the government has delegated to them.

But those councillors are a product of our Kiwi media and education system which don't do much to dispel racial ignorance and prejudice - which means our councils really do need a hand.

Rodney and his government mates, however, were unbending.

If there were to be Maori voices on the Auckland council they had to be elected.

He would settle, though, for a Maori advisory board outside the council - which is what he did, possibly with a smile because there's been a long history of governments and councils pretending to listen to Maori advice and then taking no notice at all.

Mr Hide may have miscalculated here though.

The Maori Independent Statutory Board which is now attached to the Auckland Council isn't a wimpy, toothless group resigned to being ignored.

In David Taipari and John Tamihere, for instance, the board has men who know something about law and justice. The 30-year plan they have just released says something about their vision too.

It's not Rodney's but that's too bad for him.

Manukau Courier