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Council votes to appoint Maori representative

28 November 2005

Waitakere Council votes to appoint Maori representative to City Development Committee in “trail blazing decision”

Waitakere City Council today adopted a “trail blazing decision” in voting to appoint a member of Te Taumata Runanga to the City Development Committee. Te Taumata Runanga itself will select its nominee to join the committee.

The Council also voted unanimously, to explore ways to give the Te Taumata Runanga greater capacity to become involved in the decision making of the Council.

The process of appointing a member of Te Taumata Runanga to the Committee, will be reviewed after 12 months. One possible outcome of the review is to also appoint Te Taumata representatives to the Financial and Operational Performance (FOP) Committee and the Planning and Regulatory (P&R) Committee.

Councillor Ross Dallow moved the motion as an amendment to an earlier motion that the Council should appoint two Te Taumata representatives to the Committee and subsequently to appoint two representatives to the FOP and P&R committees.

“All Councillors were in favour of finding ways to include Mäori more but I don’t believe the majority would have supported the original motion. I thought we were better to take a small step now and make progress than to try too much too soon and that proved to be the right decision,” says Councillor Dallow.

Councillor Dallow said the decision to appoint should be treated, initially, as a “trail blazing” action. It is a trial in which we will try to find ways forward on the issue of Maori input to Council decision making.

Mayor Bob Harvey said he was pleased that progress has been made.

“I agree with Councillor Clow, who seconded the motion, that this is a very bold step – but an appropriate one,” Mayor Harvey says.

“There has been a lot of talk today about the need for Te Taumata Runanga to grow and its voice for Maori to be influential. I guess many of us would have gone further, but this is a very important initiative and I have no doubt it will lead to an expanded position when it is reviewed in a year’s time,” Mayor Harvey says.

Te Warena Taua, chair of Te Taumata Runanga and kaumätua of Te Kawerau A Maki says that “having the tangata whenua more involved with the Council at this level, will reflect in a better partnership between the tangata whenua and their Treaty partner.”

Sensing the momentousness of today’s meeting, Mr Taua had discharged himself from hospital to attend. Councillor Pat Booth who is on sick leave, also attended.

Councillor Assid Corban called for a division and the motion was won nine votes to four.

The decision to appoint a Te Taumata representative followed a three-hour confidential workshop attended by both Councillors and Te Taumata Runanga members.

Under the Electoral Act, the Council must explore the possibility of establishing Maori Wards. The Council’s Finance and Operational Performance Committee, in October voted against Maori Wards but asked for the workshop to explore ways that Maori’s capacity to be involved in Council decision making could be explored.

ENDS


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