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Iwi Leaders reconvene working party for better local govt

Media Release 19.06.2014

Iwi Leaders reconvene working party to deliver better local government for Maori and Northland – Te Kimihanga

Public consensus is evident that the Local Government Commission (LGC) did not get their first draft right with their one Northland Council, but the pressure is still on for the LGC to deliver better local government for Maori and Northland as a whole, says Rangitane Marsden, Te Kimihanga spokesman.

Te Kimihanga, reconvened last month and has representation and mandate from across Taitokerau; with Te Hiku, Mid North, Bay of Islands, Whangarei and Kaipara Iwi and hapu represented within the group.

We are working with the LGC and aim to define and deliver what ‘Better Local Government’ means for Maori and our Northland communities.

Local Government Commission CEO Donald Reizbous welcomed the inclusive approach to develop something together and agreed to participate personally in the working party.

As 46% of the Northland population, Iwi / Maori represent Northlands most significant ‘community of interest’ and a ‘demonstrable force;’ one that is currently underrepresented and dissatisfied by the current local government / council way of doing business.

“Te Kimihanga is an action word – it means to seek, search, find, create and build with a view to implement a better way of doing things; and for us that means a future local government structure based on Treaty principles of partnership, participation and protection,” says Mr Marsden.

With Treaty settlements Iwi bring a substantial asset base and economic development opportunities not seen in Northland before.

Collectively Iwi can make the largest single contribution to moving Northland forward, “We are about improving the social, economic and environmental outcomes for our communities, says Mr Marsden.

In Te Hiku for example where four of five tribes settled in 2012, we are wanting to move forward in partnership with the Crown and local government (as their representatives in that space), but the current structure and thinking does not enable that growth and something needs to change."

Better Local Government Reforms announced in 2011 were about removing bureaucracy, duplications, and inefficiencies and improving the fiscal and governance performance of local councils.

These are still very important objectives for our Northland community and we believe can only be delivered through some form of appropriate Northland restructure.

“Iwi work right across the government spectrum with strong Crown relationships (better in most cases than those with local government), and with both Regional and District Councils.

We also work directly with hapu and communities in our local rohe.

Iwi leadership are working together, regionally for Te Taitokerau and see the inefficiencies and lack of long term strategic planning within the local government space and we are working directly with the LGC on how to not only improve that situation for Maori but the Northland community at large."

There is a lot of wastage in terms of ratepayers dollars, and competing expenditure, with no clear direction for Northland.

We see local councils competing and duplicating processes, and now Iwi have regained their legitimate rights and lands through the Treaty process, we see them competing with our plans, strategies and mandate too.’ It is inefficient, wasteful and not progressive for an economy and social space that is in desperate need of improvement.

We know local government have tried to pick up their game throughout the reorganisation process, but it’s like a doctor trying to decide which of his own limbs to remove, after an accident – Iwi Maori are agreed that the status quo is not acceptable, and are working with the Commission to deliver something realistic that advances both Maori, non-­Māori, and Northland with it.

The Northland restructure is currently sitting with the LGC as they evaluate public submissions to their initial draft and wait on legislative changes to the Local Government Amendment Act 2002, currently passing through the House (almost at its third and final reading).

END

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