May 14, 2021
Maori governance does Wairoa proud
A big tick for the local authority serving one of the country’s most Māori districts.
The Local Government New Zealand-backed Council MARK independent assessment programme has given Wairoa a BB rating, praising its bicultural governance model, methodical community engagement, and strong understanding of the council and region’s financial risks.
Assessment board chair Toby Stevenson says many ways Wairoa District Council bridges the gap between the traditional and modern council models.
All of the elected members hold day jobs and they’ve got a small staff count, but they’re able to provide closer touchpoints to a greater number of the community than a typical council.
The council’s engagement included a traditional model of strong marae and iwi connections.
Five out of the seven elected members are Māori, as well as the interim chief executive, and there is an active and engaged voting base.
He says its challenges lie in the fact ratepayers and central government are asking more of the council, whether that’s environmental standards, roading, three waters or other infrastructure.
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