Poll re­jects Ma¯ori wards for Western Bay

Waihi Leader - - News -

A poll progress re­sult has gone against es­tab­lish­ing Ma¯ori wards in the Western Bay of Plenty District.

It shows 78.2 per cent of elec­tors voted against Ma¯ori wards while 21.5 per­cent were in favour.

At the time of print­ing, the progress re­sults ex­clude spe­cial votes and the fi­nal re­sult was to be an­nounced yes­ter­day.

Mayor Garry Webber says he ac­cepts the progress re­sult.

“In an­nounc­ing its de­ci­sion in Novem­ber last year Coun­cil ac­knowl­edged that not ev­ery­one would agree. We were also clear that due process, which in­cluded the call for a poll, would be fol­lowed and the re­sult of that process re­spected.

“The re­sult, which is bind­ing for the 2019 and 2022 elec­tions, is clear so it’s time for Coun­cil to move on with the rest of the rep­re­sen­ta­tion re­view.”

In Novem­ber 2017, the ma­jor­ity of coun­cil­lors (9 for, 3 against) voted to es­tab­lish one or more Ma¯ori wards as part of a six-yearly rep­re­sen­ta­tion re­view that legally re­quires Coun­cil to con­sider Ma¯ori rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

An in­de­pen­dent pe­ti­tion from over 5 per cent of Western Bay District elec­tors who op­posed the move was handed to Coun­cil in Fe­bru­ary, re­quir­ing a poll.

The poll closed last Satur­day and was opened for nearly a month. Of el­i­gi­ble elec­tors, 40 per cent voted.

The next phase of the rep­re­sen­ta­tion re­view fo­cuses on whether cur­rent rep­re­sen­ta­tion ar­range­ments (Mayor, 11 Coun­cil­lors, three wards, five com­mu­nity boards and 20 com­mu­nity board mem­bers), pro­vides for fair and ef­fec­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tion, or if changes can be made to im­prove the District’s rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

Coun­cil is con­sid­er­ing feed­back and will go back to the com­mu­nity with an ini­tial pro­posal for fu­ture rep­re­sen­ta­tion ar­range­ments in the sec­ond half of 2018.

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