Despite constituents strongly opposing separate race-based representation, as shown in referenda held in 2018, the number of councils across New Zealand which have appointed unelected members with voting rights to council committees has grown exponentially over the last couple of years.
The following are examples (by no means the total number) of councils who have recently taken the obligation to consult with Māori to an undemocratic level:
Hamilton City Council recently confirmed their new committee structure, with māngai Māori sitting on all committees. They are:
- the finance and strategic risk committees;
- the strategic growth committee;
- the infrastructure operations environment committees; and
- two on the community and economic development committees.
- Additionally, all māngai Māori can sit on the hearings and engagement committee if the meetings involve matters relevant to another committee they are a member of.
New Plymouth District Council. An unelected member with voting rights appointed to the new Strategy and Operations Committee. This is in addition to ‘Te Huinga Taumatua’, a governance partnership committee established in 2017. The committee comprises five iwi leaders and five councillors, who generate items for the council to consider and make recommendations on council issues.
Northland Regional Council. While not granting voting rights to non-elected appointees on council committees, the Northland Regional Council's freshly-agreed governance structure for the next three years includes greatly increased Maori representation, “providing a more effective opportunity for Māori to participate in council decision-making processes”, according to the chair, Penny Smart.
There will be equal numbers of Māori members and councillors on the working parties, i.e.
- Climate Change
- Planning and Regulatory
- Biosecurity and Biodiversity
- Water and Land
This is in addition to Te Taitokerau Māori and Council Working Party (TTMAC), which this term will be made up of 21 Māori representatives nominated by tangata whenua from around Northland, and the nine regional councillors.
For more details please see Northland Regional Council - Council and committees
Palmerston North City Council recently voted to appoint iwi representatives with full voting rights onto several key committees.
In Otago, it was recently confirmed that iwi representatives with voting rights will remain on the Regional Council.
Tauranga Council has appointed iwi onto committees, (without voting rights). This is in addition to a ‘partnership’ arrangement - the Tangata Whenua / Tauranga City Council Committee “To forge an ongoing effective and meaningful partnership between the Tauranga City Council and Tangata Whenua”.
The Waikato District Council has approved Maori representation with voting rights on three council committees.
Waipā District Council. Iwi representatives with voting rights will sit on more decision-making committees - up from two to four. Waipā Mayor Jim Mylchreest: “With a representative on each of the four most influential committees, Iwi will be across much more of the decision-making process within Council.”
Mayor Mylchreest has been reported as saying that Māori seats on committees is not the answer to Māori representation issues, but it would be the start, adding that there are going to be changes, and it’s a journey rather than a simple solution.
Waatea News: Mangai Maori for Hamilton council committees
Waipā District Council: Iwi reps to sit on Council committees