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Complete overreach by Govt on Maori Wards and Constituencies – LGNZ

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) is calling out the Coalition Government for complete overreach in today’s decision on Māori wards and constituencies.

“The Coalition Government is removing decision-making from councils by mandating polls be run on Māori wards and constituencies alone,” Sam Broughton said.

“This is a complete overreach by the government on local decision making.

“Empowering local government to make decisions about their own communities is what this Government campaigned on and is not being delivered today.

“The Coalition Government’s decision is also a complete distraction from the hard work to deliver infrastructure and the pressure on rates rises.

“We have long asked that Māori wards and constituencies be treated like all other wards and the decisions be made at the council level.

“Currently, councils can make decisions about the establishment of Māori wards and constituencies for themselves. No one is forced, it’s a choice by communities’ elected representatives. Councils make these decisions based on feedback from their communities and iwi representatives.

“Today’s announcement is a skewed version of democracy that isn’t used to determine any other wards or constituencies, just Māori ones. We say the Government needs to either apply them to all wards or none at all.

“We now have the highest representation of Māori elected members in local government ever. The Government’s decision risks the mana of our Māori elected members and their rightful, elected place on councils.

“Claims that Māori wards and constituencies give Māori more votes than anyone else are wrong and politicians should think carefully before inflaming these important conversations with misinformation,” Sam Broughton said.

LGNZ supported the changes to Māori wards in 2021 to make them consistent with other wards.

 

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