Carterton District Council’s decision to grant voting rights to unelected marae members on its committees poses serious risks to ratepayers, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.
Union spokesman Jordan Williams says, “This change goes beyond mere consultation and puts unelected advisors in a position to directly impose costs on Carterton ratepayers.”
“Elected members have an incentive not to increase pressures on ratepayers, lest they get turfed out by voters. Unelected members don’t have this incentive. This moral hazard is compounded by the fact that most Māori land is exempt from rates, meaning marae members won’t bear the costs of the council initiatives they push through.”
“Aside from the risk to ratepayers, this move undermines local democracy. The makeup of council should be determined by voters every three years, not changed on an ad hoc basis between elections.”
“We would encourage members of the marae who want voting rights on council committees to actually run for council.”