October 27, 2017
Waikato sticks with Maori wards
Waikato Regional Council has voted seven-three to retain its two Maori seats.
Opponents of the seats said they did not like race based seats, and that Maori no longer needed tokenism.
But other councillors said there was no mood in the community for change, and the Maori seats had proven their effectiveness, particularly given the council’s Resource Management Act and Treaty settlement obligations towards Maori.
Palmerston North City Council this week voted to have one or two Maori seats at the next election, although dissenting councilors threatened a petition for a referendum to overturn the decision.
Councilors noted there had been no Maori on council for the past seven terms, and Maori have not had an opportunity to participate in many decisions affecting them.
But Napier Council has run scared and voted against a Maori ward, after an online poll indicated nearly three out of four of respondents thought a Maori ward would be divisive.
Maori make up 20 percent of the city’s population but only one Maori has ever been elected to the council.
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