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To: Justice and Electoral Select Committee

Remove barriers to Māori Wards on Councils

Remove barriers to Māori Wards on Councils

We ask that the Select Committee agree to remove the requirement for decisions on Māori Wards on Councils to go to a binding poll and that the process for establishing them go through the same process as the establishment of any other ward.

Make an official submission today to the Justice Select Committee using this easy form. Final date is 29 November 2017.

Your submission will be collated and sent together with others in support of the petition of Andrew Judd supporting "a law change to make the establishment of Māori wards on district councils follow the same legal framework as establishing other wards on district councils”.

Why is this important?

In 2016 a petition signed by over 5% of the population led to a referendum that blocked the establishment of a Māori ward on the Taranaki Council.[1] The mayor at the time Andrew Judd said “"This is a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation. It is the modern day version of something from 1840, a Crown law to control Maori."

A Māori Ward is a seat or seats on a Council that works to guarantee Māori representation. Only people enrolled on the Maori electoral roll can vote in a Maori ward, the same way as the general electorate Māori seats work.

Māori Wards on Councils can presently be blocked by a citizens initiated referendum, in the city, district or region that has voted to establish a Māori ward.

Five per cent of the voting public can challenge a Council decision to establish a Māori Ward, which means Māori interests will almost always be defeated in this process.

No other ward decision, including rural wards, can be forced to a binding poll and Māori Wards should be given the same standing. We ask for this discriminatory legislation to be removed from the law.

At present there is very low participation by Māori in local body politics. [2]

Māori wards have been established successfully on other councils such as Waikato's Regional Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Te Wairoa and most recently in Whakatane and Bay of Plenty.

Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne said it was important to foster strong and meaningful relationships with Maori across the district and ensuring that Te Ao Māori was recognised and supported at the council table.[3]

“Māori wards would not only enrich the culture of councils by sharing knowledge about Māori history, significant sites but would also provide appropriate support to address issues facing Māori and others in their respective regions.” Marama Fox.[4]

Submissions to the Parliamentary inquiry into the 2016 Local Body elections close on the 31st December. Make a submission today in support of the petition by former New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd for a fair go for Māori wards.[5]

The petition asks that “the House of Representatives consider a law change to make the establishment of Māori wards on district councils follow the same legal framework as establishing other wards on district councils”.

Make a submission today using this form. Make an official submission today to the Justice Select Committee using this easy form. Final date is 29 November 2017.

Your submission will be collated and sent together in support of the petition of Andrew Judd supporting "a law change to make the establishment of Māori wards on district councils follow the same legal framework as establishing other wards on district councils”. Your submission will show the level of support to the Justice Committee in its consideration of Māori representation in local politics.

References
1 - Watch: Andrew Judd: How the Taranaki Maori ward debate began https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NS3jmhBcTM
2 - Māori representation in local government
https://www.hrc.co.nz/your-rights/indigenous-rights/our-work/maori-representation-local-government/
3 - Whakatane District Council votes in favour of Maori wards
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11944204
4 - Petition calling for Māori seats in local government
http://www.maoriparty.org/maori_party_to_present_petition_calling_for_maori_seats_in_local_government
5 - Inquiry into the 2016 Local Authority Elections
https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/sc/committees-press-releases/have-your-say-on-the-inquiry-into-the-2016-local-authority-elections/

How it will be delivered

As a collated document with a summary of all submissions provided.

Category

Updates

2017-11-27 12:26:36 +1300

25 signatures reached

2017-11-24 09:04:44 +1300

10 signatures reached