Jan 27, 2021

TangataWhenua.com

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Decision on Separate Maori seats delayed

2 min read

BRONWYN TORRIE

A decision on whether to adopt separate Maori seats for the next Porirua council has been delayed until next year.

Porirua City councillors decided last night to delay the decision to allow time for proper consultation with local iwi Ngati Toa and the wider community.

Residents can have their say on whether Maori wards should be established when they are consulted during a representation review in April.

Deputy mayor Liz Kelly said after the meeting Porirua did not need Maori wards as tangata whenua had always been represented around the council table.

“My personal view about it is that is actually marginalises Maori. Currently we have three Maori councillors that have been elected at large. Porirua has always had Maori representation and Ngati Toa representation.”

Ngati Toa said they were in favour of Maori wards being established in the city following a hui held earlier this month.

Mayor Nick Leggett said the council reflects the community with three Pacific, three Maori and one youth councillor elected this term.

Creating a city-wide Maori ward would “reduce the power of Maori voters to influence their council.

One or two Maori wards could be created in Porirua. Only people enrolled on the Maori roll could vote for those standing in a Maori ward.

The remaining councillors would be elected by voters on the general roll.

About 20 per cent of Porirua’s population identify as Maori, Mr Leggett said.

More than 91 per cent of people who voted on a dompost.co.nz poll on Wednesday said councils should not have separate Maori seats.

A total of 126 people voted.

Nelson City Council decided this month to create a Maori ward in time for the next local body elections in 2013.

A petition has been launched in an attempt to force the council to hold a poll on establishing a Maori ward, though there is no legal obligation to consult publicly on the matter.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has four Maori ward seats and the Waikato Regional Council has just decided to instigate two Maori ward seats in time for the next election.

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