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Greens welcome LGNZ support for Māori wards


25 July 2017

Greens welcome LGNZ support for Māori wards


The Green Party is welcoming Local Government New Zealand’s (LGNZ) recommendation that the process for establishing local wards be made equal, by removing the possibility of referenda being held on proposed Maori wards.

The Green Party has long campaigned for the change, and MP Marama Davidson had a member’s bill that would have ensured that the establishment of Māori and general wards follow the same legal process. It was voted down last month by National and New Zealand First.

In its 2017 Election Manifesto, LGNZ have said “the ability to demand a poll to overturn a council decision to create a Maori ward or constituency is anomalous and discriminatory and should be removed”.

“I commend LGNZ for taking a strong stand in support of Māori representation by calling for this discriminatory and racist provision to be removed from our law,” said Green Party Māori development spokesperson Marama Davidson.

“Many elected members in local government have spoken with me about their frustrations with the process for establishing Māori wards. They understand the acute need for Māori voices around council tables.

“Many of their councils have voted to establish a Māori ward, only to have that decision overturned by a poll.

“Mine was a simple bill – it would have ensured the same process for establishing both Māori and general wards. It shouldn’t have been controversial.

“The fight for better Māori representation in local government must go on. We are very grateful that LGNZ have now joined that fight.


“Andrew Judd has a petition before Parliament on this issue. I encourage people to make submissions by August 22 to ensure their voices are heard.

“To have the support from the national organisation of elected local government members adds huge momentum to this campaign and puts significant pressure on Government to do the right thing and change the law,” said Ms Davidson.


ends

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