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Karen Smith asks: "Please explain Sir Barry"!

Karen Smith asks: "Please explain Sir Barry"!

Pakuranga resident and Community Board member, Karen Smith is outraged that she is unable to take part in the election for representatives the Manukau City Council's new Treaty of Waitangi Committee.

The Council last month agreed to the election process put forward by Mana Whenua (Maori with local tribal connections) at a hui with Taura Here (Maori from other areas).

"It was decided that only Maori on the Maori Electoral Roll living in Manukau could vote, nominate candidates, or be candidates".

"It was claimed at the hui and by Council officials that only Maori on the Maori Roll had the commitment to advocate for Maori issues and therefore they were the only ones entitled to take part in the elections. It's an outrage", says Karen Smith.

"Because I'm on the General Electoral Roll, Council has decided that my views on matters Maori are irrelevant".

In November the mayor, Sir Barry Curtis said:

"The Council has for many years worked on establishing and maintaining a strong relationship with local Mana Whenua because they have a legitimate perspective on many matters, including environmental issues. But this connection did not include the majority of Maori in Manukau, who are not Mana Whenua. Their voice needs to be heard.

"The standing committee is a sensible way of allowing input from and improving our relationship with the whole of the Maori community in a structured way.

"It was his casting vote at Council that excluded me and about fourteen thousand others because we are on the General Roll and not the Maori Roll. The mayor needs to explain his flip-flop", said Karen Smith.

Karen Smith has lodged a compliant with the Human Rights Commissioner, claiming that her rights have been trampled on.


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