The Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Bill (The Māori Wards Act), driven by Local Government Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta, places the creation of Māori wards on the same footing as any other ward. Ōtorohanga District Council met today to discuss the legislation change and whether or not they should consider establishing a Māori ward.
Matters such as the 30% Māori representation in Ōtorohanga District’s population (2018 census) and the fact that Māori are typically proportionally underrepresented on councils compared to population figures were discussed during the decision making process.
A majority vote saw the resolution ‘Council resolves to establish a Māori Ward in Ōtorohanga for the 2022 triennial Local Government Elections’ be adopted. This means the establishment of a Māori ward in the Ōtorohanga District will go ahead without the need for wider consultation.
“I am incredibly proud of our Councillors on today’s outcome” states Mayor Max Baxter “The addition of a Māori Ward can only enhance our decision making and add value. We have listened to iwi in our district, and working together is fundamental to the future of Ōtorohanga. Listening to the voice of Māori is a huge part of the equation.”
Following this decision, a representation review has now been triggered and the initial proposal for representation arrangements needs to be determined by 31 August 2021.
Any council that establishes Māori wards must complete a representation review to propose how many councillors it will have at the next election and the boundaries for any wards or constituencies. The Māori Wards Act does not make any changes to the representation review process. The number of Māori councillors is calculated in accordance with a formula in the legislation which factors into consideration the overall number of councillors and the Māori electoral population and the general electoral population of the district.