Whakatāne District Council elected members have this evening voted in favour of a resolution that would enable the establishment of Māori wards. The elected members heard submissions from the public before deliberating and voting six to five in favour of supporting the introduction of one or more Maori wards.
Whakatāne District Mayor Tony Bonne says this result is testament to the importance of fostering strong and meaningful relationships with Māori across the District and ensuring that Te Ao Māori is recognised and supported at the Council table.
“I have had the opportunity and privilege in my role as Mayor to engage with Māori on a number of partnerships, and I see this as a continuation of the work we have been doing to foster growth and positive relationships within our rohe so we can move forward together.”
Council initiated the discussion around Māori wards at its 29 June meeting where it was required to determine the electoral process for the next triennial elections. It resolved to pursue further investigations which involved seeking feedback from iwi, and more broadly from the public via social media and traditional channels and reported back to Council.
By 23 November, Council will give public notice of the right of electors to demand a poll on the matter. The Local Electoral Act 2001 allows a poll of five percent of the electors enrolled at the previous triennial election to demand a binding poll to be held on a proposal whether or not to introduce Māori wards for the next two triennial elections.