Maori wards are not the only avenue for separate local government representation for Māori.
A push by iwi interests for a voice around Council tables has certainly come to the fore in recent years. The vast majority of councils have given in to these demands, appointing unelected iwi representatives, mostly with voting rights, to council committees. Some have even gone so far as to establish 50:50 power-sharing models, commonly committees dealing with resource management.
In a few cases arrangements have been established through legislation, but in other cases, they have been introduced by councillors working closely with local iwi, and without a mandate from the wider community.
When communities raise concerns about the impact this is having on our democracy, we are told that these arrangements are not undemocratic as committee decisions had to be ratified by the full council.
Not content with this policy, Francois Tumahai (Ngāti Waewae) is taking what he says is the next step - campaigning for a legal framework to allow these unelected iwi representatives to have full voting rights, not just on council committees, but also on the Governing Bodies.