November 23, 2017
PM applauds push for Maori seats
Division in the coalition over the growing number of councils opting for Maori wards.
Councils are going through a regular exercise of deciding their composition for the next two terms, and so far Palmerston North, Opotiki and Western Bay of Plenty have opted for Maori wards.
Auckland Council says it will go that way if the Government changes the law so the decision can’t be overturned by a forced referendum, while Napier, Taupo, New Plymouth and other councils have opted to look at other ways to interact with Maori.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters remains implacably opposed to Maori seas, and if Maori want council representation they need to vote for Maori candidates.
But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she sees progress.
"You know when I saw the leadership, particularly in Whakatane, to say 'there is under-representation here. We've got to make sure all our communities are represented and that is one way to do that.' I really applaud that leadership that’s been shown," she says.
Ms Ardern says the new Government hasn’t had a chance yet to consider whether changes to the legislation are on the cards.
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