May 10, 2016
Maori voice a constant challenge
An outgoing New Plymouth district councillor says every new council needs to be brought up to speed on Maori issues, and any gains can quickly be lost.
Howie Tamati, who just scraped in at the last election, has confirmed he won't stand in October's election, after serving four terms over 15 years.
Also going is mayor Andrew Judd, whose attempt to create a Maori ward has made him unelectable in the province.
Mr Tamati says he has his own reasons for going, but issues such as the fate of the Waitara endowment lands, Maori representation, and the refusal by a council committee to consider Maori street names for a Waitara subdivision all show the struggle Maori have to be heard.
"Just when you think you've got some understanding and support around the table a curve ball comes in and you feel a lot of the work you have done over the years has gone nowhere. This group probably has a good understanding of Maori issues now but a number of them will go out, as Andrew and I will at the next elections, and you start again," he says.
Mr Tamati says he's contemplating a shift to the national political stage.
He's tipped as a possible Maori Party nominee for Te Tai Hauauru, which is currently held by Labour's Adrian Rurawhe.
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