April 05, 2021
Hamilton Council ducks Maori ward challenge
A lack of vision and a lack of courage.
That’s how the chair of Waikato Tainui’s Te Arataura executive describes Hamilton City Council’s decision to put off creating Māori wards in time for next year’s local body elections.
Linda Te Aho says for years the council said it would not create Māori seats because it could be overturned by referendum.
Now they have the opportunity to make the decision without that risk, they made excuses and damaged what was supposed to be a treaty partnership with the iwi.
"The previous council established māngai Māori. They boast about how successful the model is because of the excellent skills those Maori bring to decision making in certain committees, so they know the quality of our people, they know the decision making will be better, but still, they make this short-sighted politically expedient decision because they lack courage," Ms Te Aho says.
She says the consultation Hamilton Council says it needs to undertake is just a referendum by another name.
Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate says the council first needs to pass its He Poumana Ora strategy before it can make decisions to create Māori wards or find other ways to deepen Māori participation.
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