Council push ahead with Ma¯ori ward
Auckland Council will seek a legislative change to allow it to make an elected Ma¯ori councillor role compulsory.
Auckland councillors on Thursday voted 10 to five in favour of a Ma¯ori ward, in principle.
However, the complex logistics of introducing one means legislation would need to change in order for it to be in place in time for the next local body elections, which are in 2019.
Councillors were also worried that if they decided in favour, a public backlash could cause a petition to be launched.
If so, if it attracted about 51,000 Auckland residents, then a $1 million for or against poll would have had to take place funded by Auckland Council.
Auckland Council would look into changing legislation to increase councillor numbers before establishing a Ma¯ori ward.
If a Ma¯ori ward had been approved it would have taken the place of one of 20 governing body members, not including the mayor.
Currently the council’s governing body cannot change its representation numbers, and is the only council in New Zealand with that restriction in its legislation.