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Māori Wards Campaigner To Speak In Whangarei

Former New Plymouth Mayor and Māori wards law change campaigner Andrew Judd will speak at two public meetings in Whangarei later this month.

He has been invited to Northland by a local education group to raise awareness about several recent local council decisions to enact the wards.

The meetings are on Friday Nov 27, 6pm at St John's Co-operating Golden Church, 149 Kamo Rd, and on

Saturday Nov 28, at 10.30am at St Stephen's Anglican Church, 88 Church St, Onerahi.

Mr Judd has campaigned for six years to abolish what he calls the racist legal provisions that allow petitions to be raised to contest council decisions to enact Māori wards, which general ward rearrangements are not subject to.

He was Mayor when New Plymouth city council voted to enact a ward, a decision which was then overturned through a referendum kick started by a petition of ratepayers. The New Plymouth council has recently again voted to enact Māori wards.

He will be making the case to Northlanders to refuse to sign a petition to force a referendum that is being organised by former Northland Regional councillor John Bain along with local Hobson’s Pledge activists led by Dr Don Brash nationally. He said he hoped to bring some balance to the debate and welcomes questions from voters who are unsure of the issues.

He is urging Northlanders to see the benefits of having Māori ward councillors at the council table. Where Māori wards have been created there has been a reduction in litigation between hapu and councils which has been attributed to the improvement in communication.

He said the one-person one-vote principle still held under the new system that is also aimed to increase voter turnout among Māori who are under-represented in local government. He said the wards help tackle the barrier of the “tyranny of the majority” that results in this under-representation.

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