Maori Wards

 

On Tuesday the Labour Government introduced the Local Electoral (Maori Wards and Maori Constituencies) Amendment Bill under urgency. The purpose of this Bill is to remove all mechanisms for binding polls to be used in determining whether Maori wards (for councils) and Maori constituencies (for regional councils) should be established.

We believe the decision about Maori wards and constituencies is for local people in local communities to make about their local government – not central government. We have very diverse and different communities all across New Zealand – some may want Maori wards and others may not – but our point is that that is fundamentally a decision for them to make not central government to make.

The Bill was proposed on Tuesday, is open for two days of consultation with the public (closing at 5pm Thursday), and then is taken back to the House to become law next week. It means there is no meaningful engagement with the public or local government stakeholders on a really important change to electoral law. This is a shameful, unfair and undemocratic process being jammed and rammed through by an arrogant government with the largest majority ever. There is nothing open, transparent or democratic about this.

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