Indigenous | Auckland Council

Both Independent Māori Statutory Board and Māori seats on Auckland Council?

What becomes of the broken hearted? Or what will become of the Independent Māori Statutory Board?

Auckland Council's Independent Māori Statutory Board has been instrumental in the council decision to call for submissions into Māori seats on the council. But does having Māori seats threaten the existence of the statutory board?

Chairman David Taipari says confusion reigns supreme over the board's function and he says that's something that is causing friction.

"It's a model to monitor council. So whether there are seats or not, the role of the board is there to ensure the council is giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

"Confusion creates opportunity and I think the council, at the moment, would prefer confusion for the opportunity of creating more reasons not to have seats than why to have them."

Auckland Council is asking Aucklanders for their feedback on introducing Māori seats on the governing body of the council, with public feedback open from August 21 until September 24.

It wants to hear from mana whenua iwi, Māori living in Tāmaki Makaurau and the wider community.

The Independent Māori Statutory Board is one of the main drivers for Māori seats on the council.

Councillor Kerrin Leoni says both can and should exist.

"It's about time that we really live up to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, tino rangatiratanga and that we have Māori representation that's specifically a voice for Māori."

One of the key areas to be decided is which model is best to establish Māori seats on council, either through an elective process which gives the council one Māori seat, or the recommendation from a royal commission inquiry of a mixed model, where two seats would be voted on plus an extra seat specifically for mana whenua.

Leoni is quite clear that she supports an election process.

"It's really important that they are chosen by Māori to be in those roles because I'm also aware that there have been concerns in Tāmaki Makaurau around appointments that have occurred."