League Applauds Minister’s Action For Māori Representation
The President of the Maori Women’s Welfare League, Prue Kapua, has congratulated the Minister of Local Government, Hon. Nanaia Mahuta, for addressing the misuse of referenda to stop the establishment of Māori wards.
“The fact that a petition supported by only 5% of voters in a city or region triggers a costly referendum that can overturn a Council’s decision to establish a Māori ward is a discriminatory tool that perpetuates underrepresentation of Māori in local government despite being a Te Tiriti partner”, Ms Kapua said.
The League has always advocated for greater Māori representation in local government and acknowledges that the Minister recognised the discriminatory barrier of a veto of Māori wards by a flawed referendum process during the last term but was unable to progress removal of the barrier in a coalition government where NZ First strongly opposed such removal. It is also significant that the Minister’s announcement coincides with the first hearing by the Waitangi Tribunal of the Mana Wahine claim which the League lodged in 1993.
“It is reassuring to see the Minister take these steps so quickly to ensure that Councils that have identified the need for Māori representation and Māori input into decision-making are not undermined by those ill-informed members of the community who are ignorant of what it means to be a Te Tiriti partner and use their power and privilege to disseminate disinformation”, Ms Kapua said.
“Better decision-making, particularly in areas like resource management that involve Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations, is the obvious benefit from improving Māori representation in local government”, she said.