Submissions called for on Auckland Council Māori seats

Auckland Council is asking Aucklanders for their feedback on introducing Māori seats on the governing body of council.

It is the first time the council has begun such discussions since the last National government amalgamated eight Auckland local bodies and created the Independent Māori Statutory Board in 2010.

The council is governed by two bodies: the 21 local boards with 149 members, and the governing body which includes 20 councillors and the mayor, with any Māori seats given full voting rights. Additionally, there are independent boards such as the Independent Māori Statutory Board.

Auckland councillor Alf Filipaina says it's been a long time coming.

"For us, it started as far back as 2015 around the governing body discussions, so that's how long it's taken for us to get to this stage and this is just going out for consultation, it's taken a while"

Filipaina says it's going to be a long road ahead to change current attitudes on Auckland Council.

"It was the first thing I got asked when I got elected, we don't need Māori seats because you're part Māori. Therefore you don't need a Māori voice."

There are two options available to establish Māori seats on Auckland Council, by way of voting, or by recommendation. But Manurewa Marae chief executive Takutai Kemp says there is only one right way of doing it, by being elected.

"I do believe in an elective process but I also believe it could be an and-and. But I think what we need now is we don't want the same old, same old, we want something different. We want the right people representing us"

Having stood in local body elections in Manurewa-Papakura, Kemp says besides Māori seats on the council, there should be Māori seats on all local boards.

"I do think that that's another opportunity for localised representation for Māori, I do think that that's another way to actually solidify our Māori pathway into local body decision making and for Manurewa marae that's where it counts for us"

Public feedback opens from August 21 until September 24.