Council reviewing Maaori representation
Council is looking into Maaori representation and as part of this sought advice from its Iwi committee, Te Manawhenua Forum, for options to improve engagement of Maaori in Council decision-making.
The options include appointing Iwi members to Council committees and/or creating a new ward to represent the Maaori community. While some Iwi representatives had reservations, Te Manawhenua Forum overall advised that they would like Council to introduce a Maaori Ward, but Council has decided this will not proceed for the next election.
"We think there other ways to ensure Maaori are well represented," said Mayor Jan Barnes. "We won’t have a Maaori Ward in time for the next election but may review this for the 2022 election. In the meantime we are working closely with Te Manawhenua Forum to involve Maaori more in decision-making. Council has signalled a desire to build on the relationship with Iwi and staff have been instructed to report back on options to involve Iwi in Council processes."
Among the considerations are the fact that a review of the Te Manawhenua Forum functions is currently underway and at the same time the Government is conducting Treaty of Waitangi settlement negotiations in and around the district. "We are also developing participation agreements with local Iwi so we can work better together," Mayor Jan said. "Once the outcome of these things are known we will be in a better position to consider a Maaori Ward."