February 16, 2021
National wants more time on Maori ward Bill
National Party deputy leader Shane Reti says the way the Government is pushing through an amendment to the Local Government Act isn’t fair or democratic.
The Bill removes a provision that allows a petition of just 5 percent of voters to force a binding referendum if a council decides to create a Māori ward.
People were given just two days to put in a submission, and the select committee spent Friday and Saturday hearing from supporters and opponents before writing its report.
Dr Reti says National wanted a full week for consultation to make the Bill better, because rushed bills always have faults.
He says while councils need to consult when setting up new general wards, no such consultation will be needed for Māori wards.
"We want this to be a reasonable and balanced argument but the way the Bill is written, it's swung too much to one side so that is giving us some significant concern," Dr Reti says.
He says National supports the intent of Māori being represented on local government.
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