Petition for Maori seats falls short
A poll for Maori representation on the South Waikato District Council will not be held for the 2013 local council elections.
Although a poll can still be petitioned for the 2016 and 2019 elections.
The community needed 745 signatures to petition for a poll on Maori representation on the council, which if successful would have instituted a Maori seat for the 2013 local elections.
However, 160 signatures were eliminated due to being invalid.
South Waikato District Council’s electoral officer Richard Fisk said 585 signatures were validated from that petition. There had to be at least 745 valid signatures received.
‘‘A poll for Maori representation will not be held for the 2013 election, however that is not to say that a poll will not be held at all. We have 585 validated signatures that can be added to, to make up the amount of 745 signatures to ensure a poll will run that, if successful, would influence the 2016 and 2019 elections.’’
Among the reasons why there were not enough valid signatures was that people from out of the district signed the petition, or provided incomplete addresses or had simply failed to enrol on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll in time.
‘‘When filling out a petition for a poll, the name and address that people provide must match what is on the electoral roll.’’
Mr Fisk said that if a further 160 validated signatures were added to the 585 that the council had already then the council would need to run a poll after May 21, 2012 on Maori representation for the 2016 and 2019 elections.
‘‘ Council could still hold a review of its overall represen- tation arrangements for the 2013 elections. However, that would not be a compulsory requirement for council this time around. In any case, the holding of a review would still not allow for the setting up of separate Maori representation for 2013, ’’ Mr Fisk said.
The council has indicated that if a poll was to go ahead it would cost ratepayers $30,000 to run it, however if the council had decided to institute Maori representation when it come up for review last year, ratepayers would not have sustained the cost of a poll unless it was petitioned for.
ISSUES RAISED: Tokoroa-born author Marianne Elliott has documented her work in Afghanistan in her book Zen Under Fire.