Ward up to voters
Taranaki regional councillors have voted against establishing a Ma¯ ori ward at the next local body elections but left open the opportunity for a public poll on the matter if more than 5 per cent of electors demand it.
In August the council introduced six permanently appointed iwi representatives to council standing committees in accordance with Treaty of Waitangi settlements with three iwi, Nga¯ ruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki. There was also opportunities for consultation between Ma¯ ori and council staff, the meeting heard on Tuesday.
Te Ka¯hui o Taranaki chief executive Wharehoka Wano said eight Taranaki iwi were fully involved in the appointment of the six iwi members on the regional council committees.
‘‘We are pleased that these appointees are able to speak on behalf of tangata whenua here in Taranaki,’’ he said.
Taranaki Regional Council had voted three times in the lead up to local elections in 2003, 2005 and 2011 not to have a Ma¯ ori constituency.
Regional councillor Tom Cloke said the issue had been discussed fully on the previous occasions and public polls had shown there was not a high demand to have separate Ma¯ ori wards introduced.
Councillor Charlotte Littlewood said the iwi appointed representative model on the council committees was working well.