Hui to consider Maori participation in Manukau
29 June 2005
Hui to consider further Maori participation in Manukau
Four consultation hui are planned by Manukau City Council as part of its programme of consultation regarding Maori participation in Council decision-making, as required by the Local Government Act 2002.
There will be meetings in Manurewa (July 4), Mangere (July 6), Pakuranga (July 13) and Otara (July 14) and the Council is seeking the widest possible representation from the Maori community. All hui are from 6pm-8pm. Dr Ranginui Walker will chair two of the meetings.
The hui will discuss a number of options including the possibility of setting up a Maori standing committee, a Maori advisory committee, Maori wards or other alternatives. Following the completion of the hui, recommendations will go before the Council’s Treaty of Waitangi Working Party, Strategic Directions Committee and the full Council before final decisions are made.
The Council currently has a number of measures to facilitate Maori input into advisory and decision making processes, including a Mana Whenua forum, a Treaty of Waitangi Working Party and relationship agreements with Mana Whenua.
A total of 16 out of 86 councils in New Zealand already have Maori standing committees, including Waitakere City. The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has adopted Maori constituencies, with three seats set aside for Maori representation.
Section 4 of the Local Government Act 2002 requires the Crown to take appropriate account of the principles of the Treaty, and to maintain and improve opportunities and processes for Maori to contribute to local government decision-making.
Section 81 requires local authorities to provide opportunities for Maori to contribute to decision making processes, and look at ways to develop further capacity to do so.
If the Council decides to support the Maori ward option, this may see the creation of one city-wide Maori ward with two Maori councillors, or two wards with one Maori councillor each. A decision on this option would be required by 23 November 2005 and the public would then have the right to request a poll on this issue.
A Maori standing committee would allow policy input and advice to Council on issues of concern to Maori. The Council can establish standing or advisory committees at any time.
Manurewa councillor Colleen Brown, chair of the Strategic Directions Committee, says, ‘Like all other Councils, we have a statutory obligation to make an informed decision on this matter. In order to do so we need to not only consult Maori but to understand the wider implications of any of the options before us. This matter will be fully debated in all possible forums before a final decision is made.”