Petition forces poll on Maori seats in Nelson (Nelson Mail)

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A petition has successfully forced a poll on whether Nelson City Council should have aMaori ward.

A poll will be held on whether Nelson City Council should have a Maori ward. A petition has successfully forced the council to hold the poll, which will run from the end of April.

Nelson man Kevin Gardener, whoorganised the petition, received confirmation yesterday that the required number of signatures has been validated and the poll will be held.

He called it a victory for democracy, saying the council had railroaded through its decision last November to establish a Maori ward. He believes a Maori ward is separatism, and is confident voters will reject it.

Nelson electors will first vote on whether they want council amalgamation. Voting on the Local Government Commission’s proposal for a Nelson Tasman Council, which includes a Maori board, will be held in April. It needs more than 50 per cent of the votes cast in each poll in Nelson and Tasman to succeed.

If it doesn’t, then the Nelson City Council will continue and the poll on a Maori ward will be held.

City council chief executive Keith Marshall said the poll on the creation of a Maori ward would be held from April 26, with voting closing on May 19.

It will cost Nelson ratepayers about $85,000, the same as their amalgamation poll.

He said the petition calling for the poll on the Maori ward reached the required threshold of 5 per cent of electors, or 1690 signatures. A total of 2176 signatures were collected and 1725 were validated.

Mr Gardener said they had more signatures to send if needed, but electoral officer Warwick Lampp had told him he stopped counting at 1725 as he had already validated the required number.

The petition requests the city council to conduct a poll of registered electors of Nelson City to determine whether a Maori electorate ward should be established for the council.

Mr Gardener said it had been easy to get the signatures because of the willingness of ratepayers to sign the petition..

The point being made in the petition was about democracy, he said.

“It was never for or against a Maori ward. It was about the democratic right of ratepayers to decide if they want a Maori ward, whether they want to have a separatist Maori ward within the Nelson City Council.

“At the moment Nelson does not have a ward system and they want to create a ward for Maori, which is separatist.”

He has not planned to hold any public meetings.

“People will naturally vote whichever way they want. I don’t think they need to be brainwashed.

“Common sense will prevail.”

YES OR NO?

Two polls:Proposal for a Nelson Tasman Council: Voting papers will be mailed to electors of Nelson City and Tasman District between March 29 and April 4. Polling closes April 21. Proposal for NCC to establish a Maori ward: A poll of Nelson city electors with postal votes sent out between April 26 and May 1. Polling closes May 19.

3 COMMENTS

  1. When will these part Maoris understand New Zealanders will never tolerate council seats decided on the basis of race?

  2. Be it token or otherwise.. representation of indigneous people on a council is not separatism it is an assurance, that a partnership is honoured.. with or without MAORI.
    This insures the Tiriti o Waitangi 1840 is honoured, and be it as it may.. an agreement is an agreement.
    This is not about separatism.. this is about partnership PERIOD!… I too am a Mainlander.. my ancestors.. names are all over the Nelson and Tasman District for over a thousand years.. and their names.. still stand in some of these areas 😉

    • I am sorry Mr Schneider but electing individuals based on ethnicity is racist whichever way you look at it. Be courageous enough to say that. We we wither have a democracy where people are elected on their merit or not. No more mealy mouthed manipulations.

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