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Rangatahi showing great leadership on Māori representation

Rangatahi in New Plymouth showing great leadership on Māori representation

The Māori Party candidate for Te Tai Hauāuru has heralded the courage of rangatahi in bringing Māori representation to the fore in Taranaki.

"I was over the moon to learn that last night New Plymouth District Council's youth working group applied their powers of persuasive thinking to the max, and encouraged councillors to vote in favour of establishing a Māori ward for the next election,” says Chris McKenzie.

"This was an amazing outcome which truly shows us the power of rangatahi in preparing our communities for the future.”

The full council has yet to pass the recommendation but if adopted it will mean New Plymouth would become the first district council in New Zealand to successfully establish a Māori ward.

The Māori Party salutes the youth working group and also Mayor Andrew Judd, deputy Mayor Dodunski and Councillors Brown, McFarlane and Tamati in voting in favour of the Māori wards.

"It's awesome news alright, because it shows us that enlightened communities such as those in Taranaki, realize the importance of listening to the leaders of tomorrow as we prepare for our future. I was in Waitara last night at the 'meet the candidates' hui - and I can tell you, the arguments for strong Māori representation were getting a pretty rigourous airing on that side of town as well.”

The Māori Party has consistently argued for stronger mechanisms to achieve Māori representation as the absolute minimum in terms of meeting Treaty obligations.

"In June 2010, our co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell presented the Local Electoral (Māori Representation) Amendment bill which would require all territorial authorities and regional councils to establish Māori wards and constituencies to provide for Māori representation.”

"Parliament wasn't ready for our bill then, but quite clearly local government is prepared to be more visionary.”

“Tāngata whenua have a right to strong political representation and participation and even if mainstream parties continue to try to close it down, we will always be proud to speak up for strong and independent Māori voices being part of every decision-making table - whether it be Cabinet, School Board of Trustees, or the New Plymouth District Council,” says Mr McKenzie.

ends

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