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Fight for better Māori representation in local govt to go on

29 June 2017

Fight for better Māori representation in local govt to go on

The Green Party is disappointed that its Member’s Bill to enable better Māori representation in local government was voted down last night, but is vowing to continue its campaign to make it happen.

Marama Davidson’s Bill would have ensured that the establishment of Māori and general wards follow the same legal process. Currently, the establishment of Māori wards in local government can be put to a referendum, whereas general wards can’t be – they are decided by councils alone.

“I am really disappointed that National, NZ First and Act have voted against my Member’s Bill, which would have improved Māori representation in local government. But the fight to increase Māori representation must go on,” said Green Party Māori development spokesperson Marama Davidson.

“This was a simple bill – it would have just ensured the same process for establishing both Māori and general wards. It should not be a controversial issue.

“This discriminatory provision in our electoral law sets a double standard that has prevented Māori representation at local government level throughout the country. The United Nations has noted the ‘persistently low’ level of Māori representation in local government.

“I was inspired to draft this Bill by Andrew Judd’s leadership on the issue. We’re really proud to be working with Andrew on this, and thrilled that he endorsed my Bill,” said Ms Davidson.

“The Government’s decision to vote against this Bill means they have two different sets of policies for their Treaty partners and are willing to accept discrimination in our law,” said former New Plymouth Mayor, Andrew Judd.

“The ignorance of National MPs in the debate show they don’t even understand their own policies and commitments. They had a responsibility to support this Bill, both under the Treaty of Waitangi, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which they signed in 2009.

“I have a petition before Parliament on this issue, with submissions closing in December. I call on all New Zealanders to stand shoulder to shoulder with Marama and I by submitting in support of this change,” said Mr Judd.


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