Poll rejects Ma¯ori wards for Western Bay
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.