West Auckland councillors divided over Māori ward

Waitākere ward councillor Penny Hulse was the only west Auckland councillor to vote in favour of a Māori ward.
AUCKLAND COUNCIL/SUPPLED

Waitākere ward councillor Penny Hulse was the only west Auckland councillor to vote in favour of a Māori ward.

All but one of west Auckland's councillors are against introducing a Māori ward.

Auckland Council will seek a legislative change to allow it to make an elected Māori councillor role compulsory. 

It comes after 10 Auckland councillors voted in favour to establish a Maori ward, in principle, while five voted against it. Six did not vote because they were not at the meeting.

Waitākere ward councillor Linda Cooper didn't cast a vote but says she would have voted against the proposal.
SIMON SMITH/STUFF

Waitākere ward councillor Linda Cooper didn't cast a vote but says she would have voted against the proposal.

Waitākere councillors Linda Cooper and Penny Hulse were divided on the subject.

READ MORE:
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Hulse voted in favour at the meeting on September 28, and although Cooper didn't attend the meeting or cast a vote, she said she was against the idea.

Whau ward councillor Ross Clow voted against a Māori ward as he was more supportive of the Independent Māori Statutory Board.
AUCKLAND COUNCIL/SUPPLED

Whau ward councillor Ross Clow voted against a Māori ward as he was more supportive of the Independent Māori Statutory Board.

Whau councillor Ross Clow also voted against the proposal.

Hulse said the Government would need to mend the legislation in order to allow another ward councillor, but in theory she supported a Māori ward.

"We do need to increase the participation of Māori," Hulse said.

Rodney councillor Greg Sayers said the choice of a Māori ward should be made by the public.
DANIELLE CLENT/STUFF

Rodney councillor Greg Sayers said the choice of a Māori ward should be made by the public.

"We need to increase representation by Māori to greatly and more evenly reflect the number of Māori in our community."

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But Cooper said representation was already "quite good".

"For example, Henderson-Massey Local Board, you've got two Māori members, one Chinese member, you've got a reasonable mix of male and female, and age range as well," Cooper said.

Although not originally a fan of the Independent Māori Statutory Board (IMSB), she said it was working well and represented all iwi.

If there was an elected Māori councillor, all iwi may not be represented, Cooper said.

"It might not be perfect, but I think the setup we have now is quite good."

Clow also said although the IMSB wasn't perfect, it was pretty representative of all iwi.

"I am, like a number of people, quite supportive of the IMSB and personally, I think that has one heck of a lot more grunt for Māoridom."

He said there were councillors who voted for the Māori ward that would want to get rid of the IMSB as a trade-off.

"I'm not convinced at all that's the way to go," Clow said.

He said it was early days and a legislation would need to change in order to expand the number of seats, if that path was chosen.

Rodney's councillor Greg Sayers also voted against introducing a Māori ward.

Sayers said it was a decision for the public and should be put to a referendum.

"Any councillor opposing a referendum is not respecting the democratic right of Auckland's citizens to have a say about what any Māori representation should be for Auckland," Sayers said.

 - Stuff

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