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Maori Ward Coming to New Plymouth District

Maori Ward Coming to New Plymouth District

Tue 23 Sep 2014

The establishment of a Maori Ward has been approved by New Plymouth District Council tonight (Tuesday).

Mayor Andrew Judd says the Maori Ward will enable a greater partnership between Maori and the Council at the highest level of governance in New Plymouth District.

“I’m very pleased that the Council has voted for greater inclusion in our local democracy,” says the Mayor.

“We are required by law to provide for Maori participation and effectiveness in the decision-making process, and having a guaranteed Maori seat at the Council table is a big step toward that goal.

“I hope people will embrace this opportunity for building greater understanding and better working relationships within our community.”

Only those registered on the Maori Electoral Roll will be able to vote in the Maori Ward.

Next year the Council will be undertaking its six-yearly representation review, which will include determining the number of elected members on the Council and whether Councillors will be elected by wards or at-large (with every registered elector in the district voting for every potential Councillor).

However the Maori Ward will remain in place for the next two elections even if the outcome of the representation review is to do away with the district’s three general wards.

If the three general wards do remain, it is possible that having one Councillor elected from the Maori Ward would require the general wards to be altered to ensure they each have a fair representation by population, as required under the Local Electoral Act.

The Council’s decision is open to be challenged through a demand for a poll by five per cent of the district’s registered voters (about 2,700 people). Such a demand would need to be made by 28 February next year.

Maori wards or constituencies are also in place at Environment Bay of Plenty (three seats) and Waikato Regional Council (two seats).


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