September 24, 2014
Councillor resigns over Maori Ward
New Plymouth District Council has approved the establishment of a Maori ward in a heated debate that led to a councillor's sudden resignation.
Former SAS member and reality tv contestant John "Horse" McLeod quit after the vote was won 7-6, saying he could not work in any environment that has a belief in separatist values based on race, creed or religion.
Mayor Andrew Judd says the Maori ward will enable a greater partnership between Maori and the council.
He says the law already required the council to provide for Maori participation and effectiveness in the decision-making process, and having a guaranteed Maori seat at the council table is a big step toward that goal.
Only those registered on the Maori Electoral Roll will be able to vote in the Maori Ward. which should be in place at the next election.
Grey Power has threatened to mount a petition which would force a poll on the issue.
New Plymouth will be the first district council to have a dedicated Maori seat.
There are Maori constituencies at the Bay of Plenty and Waikato regional councils.
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