Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ), along with the Green Party and ex-New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd, are agitating to remove those sections of the Local Electoral Act 2001 that allow for electors to vote on whether or not a city, district or region can establish Māori wards.
The Local Government and Environment Committee, considering the bill at the time, advised parliament that the establishment of Māori wards should require public support, and that the entire district or region has a right to express a view. The poll provision was included in the legislation to ensure that Māori representation on councils can be determined by the whole community. However, now Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says the Government will consider legislating for Māori seats on all councils. See RNZ news item here.
Mahuta has also said that if there is a clear steer from mayors and councils that the law around Māori seats need to change, she will listen. See here.
This challenge has been picked up by LGNZ. On the 27th of March they upped the ante by sending an open letter to the three leaders of the governing coalition, seeking support to remove those sections (s. 19ZA to 19ZG) of the Act that allow for the poll option. This was followed by a media release, and social media posts. Click here to view the LGNZ media release.
LGNZ proudly states on its website that its paramount role is to protect and enhance local democracy - and yet it wants to deny citizens their democratic right to say whether they support race-based political representation, or not. It is no wonder that the public’s opinion of the performance of local government is poor, as indicated by the Colmar Brunton 2017 Local Government Survey, which shows that overall only 17% of those polled are satisfied with local government’s performance. Click here for a report on the survey.
In June last year, Marama Davidson's bid to change the law was voted down 71 to 48. NZ First MP Ron Mark’s speech to the House on 28th June during the debate is well worth a look. To view click here.
The politicians need to hear from the public. Please take the time to send messages to:
- Prime Minister email@example.com
- Deputy Prime Minister firstname.lastname@example.org
- Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta email@example.com
- All NZ First MPs
- Labour MPs
- National MPs
One of our members has prepared a form letter to send to MPs. You are welcome to use this, or adapt to suit. Click here to view.
Also, please send messages to the president of Local Government New Zealand, Dave Cull
And to the other members of the National Council of Local Government NZ.