The New Zealand Herald

City council to revisit Ma¯ori wards decision


The Hamilton City Council is to revisit its decision not to establish Ma¯ori wards for next year’s local body election.

Last week it voted against the proposal 8-4, instead deciding to strengthen Ma¯ori participat­ion on council committees.

A majority of councillor­s have now formally sought to revoke the decision and it will go back to the council next week to consider a new motion of introducin­g Ma¯ori wards but only after community consultati­on.

A final decision will be made on May 19.

Mayor Paula Southgate said she was acutely aware of how deeply hurt some people had been by last week’s decision.

“I understand people’s frustratio­n and hurt and I have felt that myself very keenly, but my concern has always been to take people with you.”

She supported the move to revisit the decision, on the proviso there would be wider engagement with the community before a final decision was made.

“That was important to me and important to others.” She said a poll was not an option, however.

“No, those days are well gone. What I want and what I think councillor­s also want is an opportunit­y to socialise the issue with people more widely so they understand what we seeking achieve.

“In saying that, the final decision will be council’s.”

The decision last week led to the resignatio­n of Hemi Rau, one of five Maangai Ma¯ori representa­tives on council committees.

“I understand Hemi’s frustratio­n and while I respect his decision, I am saddened by it. We are looking to strengthen the Ma¯ori voice around our table and he would have had a role in that going forward,” Southgate said.

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Hemi Rau are to
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Paula Southgate

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