National | Auckland Council

Minister for Auckland advocates dedicated Māori seats on council

Minister for Auckland Carmel Sepuloni wants Māori seats on Auckland Council. Photo / Mark Mitchell / NZME

Carmel Sepuloni, the recently appointed Minister for Auckland, is pushing for the establishment of dedicated Māori seats on the region's council.

Aucklanders have from August 21 until September 24 to weigh-in on if Māori seats should be introduced.

The seats were initially omitted during the formation of the super city in 2010 in favor of a Māori statutory board that monitors council activities.

A statutory limit on the number of seats means any changes to the current arrangement would necessitate amending legislation.

"There has always been an underrepresentation of Māori in terms of elected representatives, so this provides an opportunity for their voices to be present at the table." Sepuloni said in an interview with Radio Waatea.

"Ultimately, the decision lies with the Auckland Council, but I have previously expressed my support for this initiative," stated Sepuloni in an interview with Radio Waatea.

In a separate interview with last week, David Taipari, the chair of the statutory board, suggested that both Māori seats and the statutory board could coexist as they serve distinct purposes.

The board is a means to monitor the council's compliance with Te Tiriti o Waitangi, regardless of whether dedicated Māori seats are implemented, Taipari said.

"Confusion creates opportunity, and I believe that the council, at present, would rather embrace confusion to create more reasons against having seats than to consider the reasons for having them," he added.

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