September 19, 2023
IMSB distraction in Auckland Māori seat debate
Auckland councillor Kerrin Leoni says there’s an organised push back to a proposal to have Māori wards on the council.
Submissions on the proposed options need to close this week to make the deadline for getting seats in time for the next local government election in 2025, and the council is keen that more Māori have their say.
Ms Leoni says pamphlets against the proposal have been circulating in some areas, and that’s feeding into submissions.
She’s concerned some councillors may use the Independent Māori Statutory Board, which has members on some committees but not the governing body, as an excuse to vote against direct democracy for Māori.
“There’s other countries across the country that have something similar to the IMSB plus the Māori wards which are actually working really well so mana whenua having a voice at the table is totally different legislation to the Māori wards and we should really have bothy,” Ms Leoni says.
A law change lifting the cap on councillors from 20 to 29 means the council can create Māori wards without having to rejig the whole table, but extra legislation would be needed if it opts for the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance to have an additional seat appointed by mana whenua iwi.