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Katene praises Nelson City Council

Katene praises Nelson City Council in recognising significance of Iwi Participation

Te Tai Tonga MP Rahui Katene has praised the foresight and the responsible approach to the Treaty relationship demonstrated by Nelson City Council in its decision to create a Maori ward in time for the next local body election in 2013.

“To be honest, it made me really proud as a Nelson girl, that the Council is taking steps to honour the Treaty relationship and to improve Maori participation and engagement in local decision-making”.

“Their move to establish a Maori ward within Nelson city – and the plans of Environment Waikato to introduce Maori constituencies for the Waikato region for the 2013 election – stand out as two institutions in local government who are prepared to embark on structural change to enable greater power-sharing with Maori”.

“These are welcome signs that some local authorities are demonstrating leadership in seeking to find better ways to engage with mana whenua”.

“The Maori Party has a policy commitment to establish mana whenua statutory boards at local government, based on the successful establishment of the Maori Statutory Board for the Auckland City Council, a statutory board the Maori Party fought long and hard to get”

“But today, my congratulations go to Nelson for placing their confidence, trust and faith in sharing decision-making and influence with mana whenua, making Nelson City Council the first unitary Council in Aotearoa to have a Maori ward”.

“The challenge is out there now for every other Council to publicly notify its intention to create a Maori ward for their constituency in time for 2013”.

Background note

* The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has four Maori seats; and the Waikato Regional Council has voted to establish two.

Authorised by Rahui Katene, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

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