Specialist Maaori representation planned for WDC committees
Waikato District Council is planning to introduce external specialist Maaori representatives to its principle Council Committees after the October 2019 local government elections.
Chief Executive Gavin Ion said that Council and Iwi were keen to improve the opportunity for Maaori to contribute to Council’s decision-making. “We want to improve the participation of Maaori in Council decision-making process, plus we see this as contributing to Council’s vision of creating Liveable, Thriving and Connected Communities,” he said.
Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson said that the Waikato District Council - Waikato Tainui Joint Management Agreement (JMA) committee had made this a priority, saying that the committee “wants to enable Maaori to further contribute to, and participate in, Council’s decision-making.”
A proposal to introduce the external specialist Maaori representatives as part of Council’s next governance structure in October 2019 is to be tabled at a July Council meeting. If approved, the positions would be made for three years and would be publically advertised in October-November 2019. The positions are proposed to be in place for the first Committee meetings in 2020.
During 2019 Council staff has been engaging with Maaori stakeholders to discuss the appointment of Maaori representatives to Council’s Committees, what form the positions could take, and how they could be given effect.
The Council is required to provide opportunities for Maaori to contribute to local government decision-making. This is set out in legislation, such as the Local Government Act 2002 and Resource Management Act 1991.
The Council report will recommend that the Maaori representatives (known as Maangi Maaori – Voice of Maaori) will be included on Council’s principal committees, which currently comprise: Strategy and Finance; Infrastructure; and Policy and Regulatory. The Maaori representatives would also attend Council workshops that are relevant to their work.
The proposed Maaori representatives would have voting and speaking rights at Committee meetings (i.e. a decision-making role). The appointments would be made via a public recruitment process and independent panel, involving both Iwi and Council.
Council asks that anyone wishing to learn more about this proposal contacts firstname.lastname@example.org and include ‘Maaori Representation’ in the subject line or to contact Sam Toka, Council’s Pouhono Iwi ki te Haapori.