National’s local government spokesman, Christopher Luxon, said his party welcomed the review of local government recently announced by Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta.
National supported the Future of Local Government review, he said.
But he cautioned that the Ardern government had shown time and again it has an appetite for amalgamation.
He referenced charter schools, polytechnics and DHBs.
“This review cannot become a byword for centralisation or an opportunity for power to be taken away from ratepayers. It’s crucial that outcomes are led by communities, not by central government.”
But Luxon didn’t make much fuss (not that we could find, at least) when the Wellington City Council voted to give voting rights to iwi representatives appointed to sit on an array of council committees at the same time as it was considering proposals (since given the go-ahead) to introduce a Maori ward.
Several councillors denounced the mayor when he suggested a delay to allow the people of the city to have their say.
Similarly, Luxon might raise questions about the special arrangements councils have made to enable Maori to be heard around the country.
Typically, iwi get to appoint representatives to sit on council committees.
The Manawatu District Council is an example.
The council’s website draws attention to
NGA MANU TAIKO MANAWATU DISTRICT COUNCIL
Chairperson: Councillor Alison Short
Deputy Chairperson: Appointed as and when required at meeting when chair is absent
- Five appointed representatives of the Manawatu District Council being Her Worship the Mayor Helen Worboys, Councillors Stuart Campbell, Hilary Humphrey, Phil Marsh and Alison Short
- Twelve Marae representatives, being one appointed representative by Tangata Whenua from the following Marae …
The marae are then listed.
The council says the Manawatū District is home to several marae.
In recognition of the important part marae play within the community and in response to a request for this type of presentative group from a tangata whenua Representative Group, Ngā Manu Tāiko (previously known as Marae Consultative Standing Committee) was established in 1998.
Its main purpose is to liaise between council and local tangata whenua.
Ngā Manu Tāiko represents the interests of tangata whenua – the people of the land, as well as those with mana whenua status throughout various locations within the Manawatū District and seeks to be inclusive of all Māori in our community.
A continuing focus for Ngā Manu Tāiko Manawatū District Council is to ensure:
- that all Māori of the district are represented
- that all Māori are able to contribute to Council decision making
Ngā Manu Tāiko meets bi-monthly, with items of business reflecting MDC’s current activities and issues identified by committee members.
The committee meetings provide a forum for regular communication and is one avenue for tāngata whenua to have input into the MDC’s decision-making processes.
But it looks like Maori leaders in the district are pulling out of the arrangement to express their disapproval of the district council’s vote against introducing a Māori ward in time for the 2022 election.
Reporting on a march of 500 or so people this week to protest against that decision, Stuff reported:
The hīkoi was held the day after 12 marae cut formal ties with the council, disappointed and disheartened after it deferred a decision on whether to introduce a Māori ward in the district.
Though marae gave unanimous support for the ward, which would allow Māori interests to be represented on council, members voted 6-4 to wait until a scheduled 2023 representation review before making a decision.
But what – we wonder – is the future of special arrangements such as iwi appointments to council committees as councils around the country take advantage of the government’s removal of constitutional obstacles and rush to establish Maori wards?