Manawatū District Council Defers Māori Ward Decision Until 2023
Manawatū District Council has voted today to defer the decision around the establishment of Māori Wards until 2023, with a representation review to be held in 2024. The Council decided by a majority of 6 – 4 to defer, with one abstaining due to a conflict of interest.
This allows for more wider community consultation and education regarding what a Māori Ward means for the residents of the District, which in turn we hope will lead to widespread community support for the establishment of Māori Wards.
Council had previously voted to establish a Māori Ward in 2017, however the decision was then overturned in a binding community referendum where the majority of electors voted against the establishment of a Māori Ward.
Council wishes to acknowledge the widespread support from the Iwi of the District through the Ngā Manu Tāiko Representative Group for the establishment of Māori Wards. We value the relationship with our Iwi and we understand that today’s decision was not the one that they had hoped for.
However we wish to work alongside Iwi and our community in the lead up to the Māori Ward decision in 2023, respecting that there are a wide range of views regarding Maori Wards. There is also likely to be unprecedented change for Council in the next two years with the Three Waters review, RMA review and the Local Government Review.
In the interim Council will continue to investigate ways that Māori views can be better represented at Council.