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To: Nanaia Mahuta, Minister for Local Government

Change the discriminatory law that enabled the Māori wards referenda

Change the discriminatory law that enabled the Māori wards referenda

Please give Māori representation on local government a fair go. We ask you to change the discriminatory law that enabled the Māori wards referenda to happen in the first place.

The rights of minorities should never be decided on by a majority vote.

We ask you to amend the Local Electoral Act 2001 to make the process by which territorial authorities and regional councils can establish Māori wards and Māori constituencies the same as the process by which territorial authorities and regional councils can establish general wards and constituencies.

Why is this important?

We are a community of people that value fairness and inclusion. We want our cities and towns to be vibrant and flourishing democracies where everybody participates, and our children and grandchildren can see themselves reflected in the leaders we elect.

We believe the more people participate in local government, the more council decisions and actions will achieve positive outcomes for all of us - everyday people and the land we love - both now and for the future.

Sadly, we are being held back from this vision because Māori are under-represented in local government and they have been for a long time.

One way to rebalance this and increase Māori representation is to establish Māori wards.

These are a bit like the Māori seats in Parliament, but for local government. They establish areas where those who choose to go on the Māori electoral roll can vote for councillors to represent them.

Councillors in five areas - Kaikōura, Whakatāne, Western Bay of Plenty, Manawatū and Palmerston North - had voted to establish Māori wards to increase Māori representation. Until Don Brash, Hobson’s Pledge and a handful of anonymous wealthy backers used fear and the politics of the past to force a public referendum using an outdated, discriminatory law.

We are all for increasing participatory decision making. But these referenda are unfair for two reasons.

➡️No other ward (e.g. rural) can be subject to a referendum and decided on this way; and
➡️ The rights of a minority group should never be decided by the majority.

On Saturday 19 May, all votes were counted and as of writing, all districts have voted against increasing Māori representation.

In Whakatāne, 56.39 percent voted against Māori representation. 43.37 percent in favour.

The total Māori population in Whakatāne? 43 percent.

These referenda shouldn't have ever happened.

It's long past time to change the discriminatory law that enabled them in the first place. That is what we are asking Nanaia Mahuta to do.

Together, we can create an inclusive community where we all have a voice, and everyone is involved in making good decisions together about our shared future.



How it will be delivered

We will deliver the petition once we reach 1000 signatures

Reasons for signing

  • I signed this petition because I feel like a mind reader. I knew that if they got enough signatures to hold a referendum then we were shot cause WE (Maori) dont vote. Hello Maori Party ! gone why?? because WE dont vote !!! and Pakeha know that. I am a bus driver and our Depot Manager had the petition on her office desk and asking people if they wanted to sign, what the heck ! Will things ever change ? Gutted again
  • there is no fair representation on Whakatane District Council
  • Kia whakamana nga mokopuna whakatipuranga!


2018-05-21 09:58:09 +1200

1,000 signatures reached

2018-05-20 02:40:08 +1200

500 signatures reached

2018-05-19 17:47:04 +1200

100 signatures reached

2018-05-19 17:29:19 +1200

50 signatures reached

2018-05-19 17:08:01 +1200

25 signatures reached

2018-05-19 16:43:58 +1200

10 signatures reached