A champion of the growing practice of appointing iwi representatives to sit with elected representatives on local authority decision-making bodies didn’t have a great deal to say, when questions were emailed to her.
The thrust and parry were triggered by governance changes on the Hastings District Council, which last month voted to appoint Māori representatives with speaking and voting rights to its four standing committees.
The council press statement which announced the decision noted 25 per cent of the local population is Māori and five of the council’s 14 elected members (33 per cent of the total) have identified as being of Maori descent.
The council voted in favour of appointing more Maori to join the elected ones “to be more inclusive and hear the voice of our iwi partners”.
Associate Professor Maria Bargh, Victoria University of Wellington Te Kawa a Māui Head of School, welcomed this bypassing of the electoral system and the granting of speaking and voting rights to iwi appointees.
Her reasonscan be found in an article on the VUW website headed Academics commend Hastings District Council for inclusive, effective decision-making, .