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Submissions Indicate Support For Maaori Wards

Community consultation has indicated support for enhanced Maaori representation, including Maori wards, at Hamilton City Council.

Council’s consultation on Maaori wards and other means of achieving Maaori representation has closed, with 994 people sharing their voice between 16 April and 10 May.

The consultation sought a range of views on how Council can extend its commitment to making sure Maaori are best represented in its decision-making process.

Staff analysis indicates that more than four out of five people who submitted (81%) favoured Council introducing Maaori wards to achieve better representation.

Submissions in support of Maaori wards gave three clear themes for their views:

  • direct input into decision making by Maaori and voting rights on Council
  • addressing obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • greater Maaori representation from the community.

Another 16% of submitters indicated they did not favour Maaori wards. The themes in their submissions were:

  • Maaori wards would be divisive in the city.
  • Maaori can currently stand for election in existing wards.
  • Maaori currently have an equal opportunity to have their say.

A decision on whether or not to introduce Maaori wards will be made at an Extraordinary Council meeting on 19 May.

While submitters could suggest other alternatives for Maaori representation, such as maintaining Council’s Maangai Maaori model, those options won’t be considered at next week’s meeting.

If Council does resolve to introduce Maaori wards, a wider review of its representation arrangements would take place later this year. However, a decision to introduce Maaori wards would be binding for the 2022 and 2025 local government elections.

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