December 07, 2019
No change to Maori seat veto
A call from Local Government New Zealand for referenda on Māori wards to be dropped has been turned down by Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta.
After signalling should would consider changing the law if the sector wanted it, she now says it’s not possible under the current coalition arrangements.
This follows New Zealand First indicating it will vote against Rino Tirikatene’s Bill to entrench parliament’s Māori seats.
Five councils had their plans for Māori wards rejected in the last cycle, forcing councils to adopt other strategies to ensure they comply with requirements to involve Māori, such as by appointments to council committees.
The back down was welcomed by lobby group Democracy Action, which says taking away the opportunity for citizens to decide whether or not to endorse race-based representation in local government would give politicians more power at the expense of the people.
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