Waikato District Council has unanimously given support for Māori representation on its principle Council Committees after the October 2019 local government elections. Mayor Allan Sanson said that the Waikato District Council – Waikato Tainui Joint Management Agreement (JMA) committee had made this a priority, saying the move has been "a long time coming".
The Maaori representatives would have voting and speaking rights at Committee meetings, (i.e. a decision-making role), on the council's Strategy and Finance, Infrastructure and Policy and Regulatory committees.
This move follows a decision made in February to appoint an Iwi and Community Partnership Manager to build a stronger relationship with iwi. Council staff have since been engaging “with Maaori stakeholders” to discuss the appointment of Maori representatives to council’s committees, what form the positions could take, and how they could be given effect.
Giving voting rights to unelected members who sit alongside elected councillors creates a fundamental constitutional change, so we have the right to ask where was the consultation with the wider community?
WDC media release: Council appoints new Iwi and Community Partnership Manager