May 18, 2021
Twin cities split on Maori seats
Hastings will have Māori wards at the next election but not neighbouring Napier, where there was a protest yesterday against the council putting off a vote until next year.
Hastings councillor Bayden Barber says such decisions come down to the personalities around the table.
He says the council’s consultation on Māori wards drew 2100 submissions in three weeks.
"Consultation is never going to be perfect, You are never going to get to every ear in your district but you can put things in place to do a credible job and I think we did that and we said to Napier 'just follow what we are doing, we can work together,'" he says.
Going on the number of Māori in the district on the Māori electoral roll, Hastings will have three Māori seats on the next council.
Meanwhile, a Napier councillor says more talking is needed to get the city’s population ready for Māori wards.
Api Tapine says he’s disappointed the city won’t have Māori wards in time for next year’s election, but it had not done enough consultation for his fellow councillors to make the call.
He says Napier has a different history of relationships with mana whenua than its neighbours Hastings and Hawke's Bay Regional Council.
"And I am envious of their positions and I'm envious of the progress Hastings District Council even today Hastings DC demonstrated in supporting a 10-2 vote for Māori wards and I genuinely look forward to us engaging in an open conversation that might bring our city to that same realisation of the benefits we might achieve from more diversity and at the very least a dedicated voice for Māori on council," Mr Tapine says.
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