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Local govt treatment a key concern for Māori - Davis

10:25 am on 9 April 2018

Frustration over dealing with local government is emerging as a common theme for Māori, Minister for Crown/Māori Relations Kelvin Davis says.

Photo: RNZ

Mr Davis has embarked on a series of hui around the country seeking Māori views on how to improve their relationship with the Crown in the post-settlement era.

He said a hui in Whangarei on Sunday echoed concerns he had heard recently about the way Māori are treated by district and regional councils.

"This is the second hui we've had going out to the regions but we've also had focus groups in Wellington and that has been a recurring theme throughout all the meetings," he said.

Speakers at the hui at Whangarei's Terenga Paraoa marae said regional councils commonly disregarded Māori values and views.

An iwi environmental consultant Catherine Murupaenga-Ikin said communities were up in arms over planning decisions.

"People all over the country are saying 'they're making the wrong decisions' ... maybe [what is needed is] a revamp of the RMA, or throw it out, but we have to address the crisis in local government decision-making because we're dying out here in the trenches," she said.

Other speakers said institutional racism was rife in local and central government bureaucracy.

Mr Davis said those concerns were not ones that he alone could fix.

However, he said, Māori wanted those concerns addressed and that would mean other ministers would need to go out and develop relationships with Maoridom.

The Crown/Māori Relations hui are set to continue over the next six weeks.

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