Otago Daily Times

No plans for DCC Maori ward, mayor says

- GRANT MILLER grant.miller@odt.co.nz Politics · Dunedin · Otago Region

ES­TAB­LISH­ING a Maori ward will not be con­sid­ered as part of the Dunedin City Coun­cil’s rep­re­sen­ta­tion re­view.

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins does not plan to lead the charge to cre­ate one.

Both the Otago Daily Times and Mr Hawkins raised the pos­si­bil­ity of a Maori ward be­ing con­sid­ered, but for that to hap­pen, coun­cil­lors would have to pass a sep­a­rate res­o­lu­tion or at least 5% of el­i­gi­ble vot­ers would need to pe­ti­tion for a poll.

This has not oc­curred, although Mr Hawkins has not ruled out such a move if a groundswel­l of sup­port emerged.

‘‘While I re­main open to such a propo­si­tion, in these sorts of dis­cus­sions I would take my lead from our lo­cal runaka lead­er­ship,’’ Mr Hawkins said.

The coun­cil en­gaged with iwi through the Maori par­tic­i­pa­tion work­ing party, he said.

‘‘This is the fo­rum we have for both mana whenua and mataawaka Maori to pro­vide strate­gic in­put into the work of coun­cil.

‘‘The ex­ist­ing mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing we have with those par­ties is cur­rently un­der re­view, and we’re ac­tively look­ing at how we can strengthen that re­la­tion­ship.’’

The pos­si­bil­ity of a Maori ward was raised in an ar­ti­cle by Mr Hawkins in this month’s coun­cil news­let­ter, and the sub­ject was cov­ered by the ODT on Tuesday.

It is not among the sub­jects an in­de­pen­dent panel has been tasked with ex­am­in­ing in its rep­re­sen­ta­tion re­view next year.

How­ever, mem­ber­ship of the panel is ex­pected to cover a va­ri­ety of skills and com­mu­ni­ty­based in­ter­ests and could in­clude rep­re­sen­ta­tion from mana whenua.

The re­view will cover the num­ber of coun­cil­lors, whether they are elected from sep­a­rate ar­eas or votes through­out the city, and whether com­mu­nity boards should con­tinue and, if so, how many.

Re­view­ing the mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing could also re­sult in some changes.

The sta­tus of the work­ing party within the coun­cil struc­ture is one dis­cus­sion point.

Re­mu­ner­at­ing mana whenua rep­re­sen­ta­tives who vol­un­teer on coun­cil ad­vi­sory bodies is an­other.

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