Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) is delighted to see Minister of Local Government Nanaia Mahuta announce the introduction of an amendment bill which aims to bring equality to the creation of local Māori wards.
LGNZ has been advocating for equality in the establishment of all wards for many years, by removing the poll provisions that only apply to Māori wards, including in an open letter to the Government in 2018 and more recently in the 2020 LGNZ General Election Manifesto.
“The existing poll provisions are unfair and inconsistent with every other ward type,” said LGNZ President Stuart Crosby.
“Either the poll provisions should apply to all wards or they should apply to none.”
The removal of the poll provisions has been championed by many current and former local government elected members including former New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd and former Gisborne Mayor and now Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon.
“Having fair processes and frameworks for engagement with hapu and iwi is vital to delivering representative democracy.”
As well as amending the legislation to remove the poll provision, LGNZ has highlighted the need for legislative mechanisms to ensure that wards continue to serve communities well into the future.
“We look forward to working with the Government and the Minister to ensure that the representation review process, which exists to ensure wards and constituencies provide fair and effective representation and reflect changes in population, meets the needs of Māori voters,” concluded Mr Crosby.