National | Manawatū District Council

Decision reversed, Manawatū to establish Māori wards

Te Kōtui Reo has had its pleas heard by Manawatū District Council, as the council changed its mind and decided to introduce Māori wards for the 2022 local body elections.

The council voted 8-3 to bring the representation of Māori in local government up.

Last week Te Kōtui Reo and others protested in a hīkoi up to the front doors of the council, with the support of MPs Teanau Tuiono and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

Mayor Helen Worboys, deputy mayor Michael Ford and councillor Heather Gee-Taylor changed their vote from May 6 when they were among the majority recommending deferring a decision until 2023.

All councils have until May 21 to introduce a Māori ward in time for the 2022 local government election.

Any council that votes in favour of Māori wards triggers a representation review, which would otherwise wait until 2023.

That review would allow councils to expand or decrease the amount of general seats on council, as well as introduce or abolish existing wards. The number of Māori ward seats would be determined by the proportion of residents on the Māori roll.

Masterton too

This afternoon Masterton District Council also signed up to Māori wards.