February 15, 2021
Kia tere call for Maori seat change
The chair of the Māori Affairs select committee says people were able to have their voices heard on amending the Local Government Act, despite there being only a 48-hour window to get in submissions.
The Government is fast-tracking the Bill to remove the ability of just 5 per cent of voters to force a binding referendum if councils try to create a Māori ward or constituency.
Tamati Coffey says many councils which were thwarted in bids to increase Māori representation wanted to have their say, as did Māori organisations and Māori in local government.
When opponents claimed the Bill was a racist attack on democracy, its supporters pushed back.
"We’ve been having this conversation for a long time, whether it is at a council – councils have been through this before – but also Māori in terms of equal representation and getting rid of discriminatory laws in our country, we can't move fast enough. There was someone, her words were 'kia tere, hurry up,'" Mr Coffey says.
Tamati Coffey says the bill will be reported back this week.
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