March 18, 2021
Whangarei councillors push back on Maori wards
Māori in Whangārei face a new challenge to getting a seat at the council table, with five councillors filing a notice of motion to rescind a decision to create Māori wards.
The motion will be debated at next week’s meeting, which will also receive a 3000-signature petition against Māori seats organised by former Northland regional councillor John Bain.
Member of Te Kārearea Delaraine Armstrong says the council’s 8:6 vote in November was welcomed by hapū and iwi who thought their voice would finally be heard.
"There's a prevailing attitude among some of those white men that they know best and it's better for us not to have Māori wards at this time for a raft of reasons and we're like 'forget it. We want Māori wards now,'" she says.
Whangārei is about to start a representation review, including looking at the total number of councillors, how they are elected, how many of those are from general and Māori wards, the number of wards, ward boundaries, whether councillors are elected at large/in their wards or a mixture of these, whether to still have wards and whether or not to introduce community boards.
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