September 22, 2020
Onus on councils to fight for Maori voice
A top of the South Island Māori leader says Māori representation on the region’s local bodies falls well short of what is needed.
Nelson City Council yesterday voted against establishing a Māori ward because of likely public opposition.
Wakatu Incorporation chair Paul Morgan says over the past 30 years there has been a significant change for Māori in economic engagement, cultural development and investment in marae.
But they are still not at the local government table, and he has told the region’s mayors it is their responsibility to address that.
"It's their rules. They operate under the current law. They should be showing leadership and they should be talking to the government of the day to have law reform and have this sorted out. We don't need to do that. We are a very busy community and we think it should be their priority to get the law changed so we can sit at the table as of right," Mr Morgan says.
Nelson City Council yesterday voted to ask the Government for a law change so it could establish a Maori ward without triggering a referendum which could overturn the decision.
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