Submissions Now Open For: Local Electoral (Māori Wards And MāoriConstituencies) Amendment Bill
The Chairperson of the Māori Affairs Committee has invited public submissions on the Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Bill without a closing date. A closing date for public submissions is to be considered at the committee’s next meeting. A further press release detailing the date will be sent out after it has been agreed.
This bill seeks to amend the Local Electoral Act 2001 (the Act) to improve Māori representation in local government.
It aims to do this by removing provisions in the Act that allow for the use of binding polls in the decision to establish Māori wards or constituencies. It would also remove the use of binding polls in decisions about whether a local district or region should be divided into multiple Māori wards or constituencies. These provisions do not apply to general wards and constituencies, and have been used by electors to overturn some decisions made by local authorities.
The bill also seeks to amend the part of the Act which gives local authorities the ability to require a referendum on a wide range of proposals, policies, services, objectives and issues. Consequently, any referendum on the establishment of Māori or general wards and constituencies could not be binding.
The bill aims to provide a transitional period to give local authorities the opportunity to make or revoke resolutions about these polls, their outcomes, and any decisions to hold them, in time for the 2022 local elections. This transitional period would end on Friday, 21 May 2021. After the commencement date in the bill, no such binding poll could be held, regardless of any actions taken before the commencement date.
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