Auck­land Ma¯ori ward con­sid­ered

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - JAMES PASLEY

Elected Ma¯ori rep­re­sen­ta­tion is in Auck­land Coun­cil’s sights.

Yes­ter­day Auck­land coun­cil­lors met to vote on whether or not to es­tab­lish a Ma¯ori ward. The re­sult was not avail­able at the time of print. To read the out­come of the vote head to the Cen­tral Leader Neigh­bourly or Face­book page.

As a way to help im­ple­ment Treaty of Wai­tangi obli­ga­tions, the Ma¯ori ward would take the place of one of 20 gov­ern­ing body mem­bers, not in­clud­ing the mayor.

Auck­land Coun­cil could vote for it to be es­tab­lished in time for the 2019 lo­cal body elec­tions.

If there is pub­lic back­lash and a pe­ti­tion is launched, at­tract­ing more than 5 per cent of el­i­gi­ble vot­ers, in this case 51,000 Auck­land res­i­dents, then a $1 mil­lion ‘‘for or against’’ poll would need to take place.

Auck­land Coun­cil also had the op­tion to con­duct its own poll in con­junc­tion with the 2019 lo­cal body elec­tions, which could re­duce the cost to about $150,000.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2013 con­sen­sus 169,800 Auck­land res­i­dents were Ma¯ori out of a to­tal 1,493,200 res­i­dents, mak­ing up more than 11 per cent of Auck­land’s pop­u­la­tion.

Auck­land Coun­cil al­ready has the In­de­pen­dent Maori Statu­tory Board (IMSB) which was formed in 2010 to pro­mote Ma¯ori is­sues in Auck­land.

In a may­oral de­bate last year mayor Phil Goff said he sup­ported Ma¯ori wards, be­cause it was bet­ter to have elected rather than ap­pointed rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

Po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor Mor­gan God­fery has writ­ten lit­er­a­ture about Ma¯ori un­der­rep­re­sen­ta­tion in lo­cal gov­ern­ment. Orig­i­nally, the Royal Com­mis­sion on Auck­land Gover­nance rec­om­mended Ma¯ori wards, God­fery said.

How­ever, for­mer Min­is­ter of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and ACT leader Rod­ney Hide ig­nored the Royal Com­mis­sion and with then Min­is­ter of Ma¯ori Af­fairs Pita Sharples in­stead agreed to cre­ate the IMSB, God­fery said.

Other coun­cils across the coun­try also had the op­tion of elect­ing Ma¯ori wards, but back­lash stopped them from do­ing so. In Nel­son and New Ply­mouth enough sig­na­tures were gath­ered to trig­ger bind­ing ref­er­en­dums on Ma¯ori wards in their re­spec­tive cities, God­fery said.

‘‘Need­less to say, Ma¯ori wards were over­whelm­ingly de­feated.’’

KENT BLECHYNDEN/ STUFF

For­mer Min­is­ter of Ma¯ori Af­fairs Pita Sharples.

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