Ward up to vot­ers

South Taranaki Star - - STARS PAST - MIKE WAT­SON

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.

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