"At the time I tried to think of any model of democracy that involved members of a committee of government appointees, not elected by the people they purport to represent, sharing voting rights on a city council with elected councillors. This system of Maori representation doesn't fit the ideal of any form of democracy that I know of this side of the old communist world."Hmmm. Rudman appears to have overlooked that local government legislation in New Zealand has for a long-time provided for exactly that.
Clause 31(3) of Schedule 7 of the Local Government Act 2002 allows a local authority to appoint people other than councillors to council committees, as long as each committee continues to have at least one elected member:
"The members of a committee or subcommittee may, but need not be, elected members of the local authority, and a local authority or committee may appoint to a committee or subcommittee a person who is not a member of the local authority or committee if, in the opinion of the local authority, that person has the skills, attributes, or knowledge that will assist the work of the committee or subcommittee."Such a practice was also authorised under earlier legislation. It reflects the idea that local democracy involves a blend of representation, diversity and expertise.
While non-councillors are entitled to sit on committees, the democratic principle is pure for the governing body of the local authority - elected members remain ultimately responsible for decisions made by committees, subcommittees or other people under delegations. It's also worth noting that (certain quasi-decisions aside), the governing body can generally revoke or overturn a decision made by any of its committees.