Government plans a local government system that actively embodies the Treaty partnership.
On 23 April 2021 the Minister of Local Government established a review into the future for Local Government:
“The overall purpose of the Review is, as a result of the cumulative changes being progressed as part of the Government’s reform agenda, to identify how our system of local democracy and governance needs to evolve over the next 30 years, to improve the wellbeing of New Zealand communities and the environment, and actively embody the Treaty partnership”.
The Minister is seeking recommendations from the Review that look to achieve effective partnerships between mana whenua, and central and local government –
“a local government system that actively embodies the Treaty partnership, through the role and representation of iwi/Māori in local government, and seeks to uphold the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) and its principles through its functions and processes”.
The first step - changes to Māori ward and constituency processes
In the wake of the removal of the poll provision on Māori wards, Cabinet has agreed that there will be a second stage of legislative reforms to the Māori wards process. The Government is now preparing more legislative amendments for Parliament’s consideration, including the intention “to create more opportunities for Māori to stand for election”. The first step is to align the Māori wards process and the general wards process, claiming that by bringing these processes closer together, and sequencing them where necessary, more opportunities will be created for Māori to stand for election to local government.
To this end, Minister Mahuta has released a discussion paper, which includes differences between the two current processes. Minister Mahuta: “We want to know whether you think anything needs to be done about them – and if so, what”. You are invited to share your views which will be considered when the Government prepares another Māori wards amendment Bill for Parliament’s consideration in 2022.
The discussion document ‘Changes to Māori ward and constituency processes’ is available by clicking HERE. It contains a series of questions for you to consider. A feedback form is available HERE. Consultation closes 27 August 2021
For more information see Department of Internal Affairs Consultation on changes to Māori ward and Māori constituency processes
Local Electoral Legislation Bill 2022
The proposed Local Electoral Legislation Bill 2022 intends to consolidate two Bills currently on the 2021 Legislative Programme: the Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Bill (No. 2) and the Local Government (Auckland Legislation) Bill.
This Bill will incorporate changes to Auckland Council legislation, including the removing the 20-councillor limit on the Auckland Council governing body:
“The Auckland Council changes are intended to give Auckland Council the same flexibility to respond to future population and demographic changes as other councils and so it can maintain representation that is fair and effective. Auckland Council has identified the 20-councillor limit as a barrier to creating a Māori ward and asked for its repeal, because the addition of a Māori ward councillor position would be at the expense of a general ward councillor position and trigger comprehensive boundary changes”.
The Government intends to introduce this Bill to the House and referred to a select committee in March 2022 and passed by November 2022. See Cabinet paper Consultation on changes to Māori wards and Māori constituency establishment processes 9 July 2021
How should Tauranga's next councillors be elected?
Tauranga City Council is looking at what the representation arrangements will be for the next election in October 2022. It is currently asking its citizens for their opinion on how the city's future councillors are elected.
The public has been offered four initial options to consider. “They're not set in stone so it's really important people do take our short survey," said Tauranga City Council's Democracy Services manager, Coral Hair. It also asks them about ward boundaries, the number of councillors they want to elect, and if they want to establish community boards.
The survey runs until August 13, when the commissioners will develop a proposal and ask for public submissions from August 27.
You can take the survey at the council's website - www.tauranga.govt.nz/council/about-your-council/elections/representation-review