Not much support for Maori wards

MATT RILKOFF
Last updated 05:00 25/08/2014

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A decision on whether to support a Maori ward has been sidestepped by the Waitara Community Board with a call for a wider review of Maori representation on council.

The idea of a dedicated ward for Maori voters in the New Plymouth District by 2016 comes just weeks after the council blocked a proposal to give Maori seats on council committees.

So far Kaitake Community Board has backed the creation of a ward in time for the 2016 local body elections, while Clifton Community Board rejected the idea as it already involves iwi in meetings. Inglewood Community Board also opposed the ward idea.

Waitara's decision was always going to influence the full council's decision and board member Bill Simpson rejected it.

"I totally disapprove. I am opposed to Maori wards," he said.

There was ample legislation compelling council to involve Maori.

"I agree we need Maori representation in council but I believe we should ask council for a report into other forms of Maori representation," Simpson said.

Chairman Joe Rauner opposed the ward system while board member Andrew Larsen thought the status quo was working nicely.

In the end the board rejected backing the establishment of the ward by 2016, rejected the option of a binding poll on the idea in 2016 and rejected that a ward not be established.

Instead they made their own recommendation that the council produce a report outlining further options for Maori participation in decision-making at council.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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