Councils: Waipa, Hawke’s Bay, Horizons, Horowhenua, Hamilton
As mentioned in last month’s newsletter, the new Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Act 2021 extended the deadline for councils to consider Māori wards for the 2022 triennial local government elections to 21 May 2021. This has brought forward a flurry of proposals and votes.Read more
There are several mechanisms to encourage Māori to participate in local government that are specific to Māori citizens. These are set out in a range of Local Government related Acts, the Resource Management Act and Treaty settlement legislation.Read more
“Labour will ensure that major decisions about local democracy involve full participation of the local population from the outset.” So pledged the Labour Party during the 2020 election campaign. Just four months later they have broken this promise in spectacular fashion, passing under urgency the Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Act - thereby abolishing the right of local communities to petition for a referendum on Maori wards or constituencies.Read more
In a shock announcement, the Government reveals it intends to use the extraordinary powers reserved for use when the nation is under threat to get rid of legislation that enables referenda on Māori wards.Read more
Maori wards are not the only avenue for separate local government representation for Māori.Read more
The Local Electoral Act’s binding poll system is a form of direct democracy that enables local electors to choose for themselves by simple majority vote whether or not they support race-based council representation. However, to trigger a poll 5 percent of electors must support a petition to hold the referendum. Campaigns to do so have already started in several regions.
Please offer your support and encouragement to those who are standing up for the right to have a say on whether we support designated race-based seats at the council table.Read more
Every six years local bodies are obliged to review the ward system. We have seen a flurry of such activity over the past few months, with both New Plymouth and Tauranga acting to establish Māori wards, and others considering whether to follow suit.Read more
We end the year with the welcome news that the bill making it harder to remove the Māori seats from Parliament has been voted down at the second reading, with New Zealand First opposing the change. Only Labour and the Green Party supported the legislation. The bill cleared its first hurdle in Parliament last year with the unlikely support of New Zealand First, which opposes the Māori seats. The party wanted to use the bill as a vehicle to hold a two-part referendum on the seats, asking whether they should be entrenched or done away with altogether. But no referendum was added after the select committee stage.Read more
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:Read more
The Democracy Action working group is preparing a set of questions to ask candidates. Please take the opportunity to call radio shows with guest candidates, and attend public meetings, to ask a question or two.Read more