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No hidden agenda in public consultation

No hidden agenda in public consultation on Māori Community Development Act 1962

Māori Affairs Minister, Hon. Dr. Pita Sharples is reassuring people that there is no agenda to get rid of the New Zealand Maori Council, and is urging Māori to have their say on the Māori Community Development Act 1962 which is currently out for public consultation.

The Act established three mechanisms to support Māori community development; the New Zealand Māori Council supported by three levels of Māori Committees, Māori Wardens and Community Officers.

“The Act is out of date. For example, it currently empowers Māori Wardens to evict Māori patrons from public bars, which is not appropriate today,” said Dr Sharples.

“A 2010 inquiry into the Act by the cross-party Māori Affairs Select Committee recommended Government seek feedback and undertake a comprehensive public consultation, before making any changes to the Act.”

“This public consultation is a direct result of that recommendation. Primarily we are seeking to ensure that the Act aligns with the community development aspirations of Māori, and that statutory arrangements support our plans for the future. There is no pre-determined position on any of the issues that are currently up for discussion, which is why this consultation round is important.”

“In relation to the NZ Māori Council there are only two options currently up for consideration. One is to refocus the organisation, the second is ‘no change’ to the current role of the Māori Council. Neither of those options are about getting rid of them.”

“There have been some emotional presentations by participants at the consultation hui. I welcome that, and I hope that we see more passion and vigour throughout the process as it continues across the rest of the motu because that is an expression of the importance of these institutions to our communities.”

“I also hope people consider how to strengthen the Māori Wardens, and the future role of Community Officers.”

“Now is the time for Māori to have a say,” said Dr Sharples.

A series of public consultation hui on the Māori Community Development Act 1962 started this week in Te Tai Tokerau, with 19 hui scheduled across the country over the next 3 weeks. Those who would like to make a submission on these issues but who are unable to attend hui can email or freepost feedback to Te Puni Kōkiri before the Monday 30 September 2013 deadline.

ENDS

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