October 14, 2013
Maori fall short in local polls
Newly-elected Northland Regional Councillor Dover Samuels says too few Maori stood in the local government election and too few voted.
Despite Northland’s high Maori population, the only Maori elected were Mr Samuels and lawyer Willow Jean Prime on the Far North District Council.
It was a similar story around the country, with few councils having more than one councillor and many having none.
The former Labour cabinet minister says the elections were a shocker for the Maori nation.
"It’s our people really who need a voice at the table. There weren’t that many Maori candidates that put their hands up, especially here in the far north where we have got over 40 percent Maori population so I guess now we are going to get all the same old blah, blah, blah, those tino rangatiratanga people who had the opportunity to vote are going to say we need separate Maori constituencies. Well, let’s sit around the table and have a talk about that," Mr Samuels says.
Most of the Maori candidates he saw in the north weren’t able to build up any kind of media presence or project themselves as being able to advocate around the council table.
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