Māori Party welcomes greater iwi input into local councils
13 AUGUST, 2015
Māori Party welcomes greater iwi input into local regional councils
The Māori Party is pleased to see that iwi in the Taranaki and Hawkes Bay regions will have greater input in to their local regional councils.
“While Māori representation on local government authorities is still abysmally low, we are pleased to see that some iwi and councils are making a commitment to try different ways of ensuring tangata whenua views are heard,” says Māori Party Co-leader Marama Fox.
Parliament passed the first reading of the Ngāruahine Claims Settlement Bill and the third reading of the Hawkes Bay Regional Planning Committee Bill this week, both bills will legislate for greater iwi input in to regional councils.
The Ngāruahine Bill allows eight iwi of Taranaki to nominate iwi on to Taranaki Regional Council standing committees and the Hawkes Bay Bill establishes a standing committee made up of half council and half iwi representatives from the Hawkes Bay region.
“While the proposed models can only make recommendations to their respective councils, these models do at least guarantee greater iwi influence over decisions made about the local environment,” says Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell.
“It’s heartening to see iwi take up the opportunity during their Treaty of Waitangi settlement negotiations to ensure they do have a greater say in local government. It’s critical that iwi and Māori have influence both in local and central government if we are going to continue to move forward as Treaty partners.”
The two Bills follow the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Iwi Leaders Group related to Freshwater and Local Government New Zealand last week which recognises areas of mutual interest between the two groups. The common areas of interest include economic development, environment, infrastructure, employment, social issues, health, housing and energy and local democratic representation and decision-making.