December 01, 2020
Petitions call for rapid action on Maori wards
Māori in local government organisation Te Ropu Tautoko Māori and Action Station will deliver petitions to parliament at noon urging Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta to move quickly on the binding referendums that can block councils creating Māori wards.
Petitioner Toni Boynton from Whakatane says the current law is racist because it only applies to Māori seats, not to other structures councils may adopt such as rural wards.
She says councils need Māori membership to deal with the legislation passed down from central government that requires Māori input at local or regional government level.
"That's where the actual mahi happens with that legislation so you really need to ensure we have a Māori voice, Māori world views at that table making decisions so that it looks at looking after all our whenua, our water and everybody because Māori don't just look after themselves, they always look after everybody and what is going to happen in the future," Ms Boynton says.
She says while critics of Māori wards say they are race-based, they are actually Treaty of Waitangi-based.
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