Concern for Iwi over proposed Wellington Super City arrangement

By Ripeka Timutimu

Former Carterton Mayor Ron Mark says his iwi of Ngāti Kahungunu will be shafted in the proposed Wellington Super City.

The Local Government Commission has made recommendations to amalgamate the nine councils of the Wellington region, but Mark says Iwi will be left worse off.

Though his time is taken up with the daily grind of Parliament, Ron Mark's heart still lies in the Wairarapa.

“There is a Treaty settlement in process. In fact there are two over there, Rangitāne and Kahungunu, and it is in those treaty settlements where the final decisions about how Māori see themselves playing a governance role in their rohe will be settled, in there, nowhere else,” says Ron Mark.

According to recommendations by the Local Government Commission, the Wairarapa Council would be scrapped, and instead two representatives would take seats on the new Greater Wellington Council.

Mark says Iwi will lose any power they have in that framework.

According to Ron Mark, “The Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki Nui ā Rua Trust asked for a Wairarapa unitary authority that gives them, as tangata whenua, who have mana whenua, every say over how the natural resources in the Wairarapa are managed.”

Working in the heart of one of the poorest suburbs in Wellington, Liz Kelly is appalled at the $184 million price tag for the Super City proposal.

Liz Kelly says, “Particularly here in Porirua we’ve got a huge issue with lack of housing, and we need more employment, local employment, and those are the issues that I think that we should be spending money on.”

The cost could rise if a referendum was triggered to decide the issue, but Mark says even then, the minority will not be heard.

“Carterton with a population of eight and a half thousand is subject to the whims of the Wellington area which is 400,000. How the hell do we beat that?” says Mark.

The draft decision is now open to public feedback, which closes on March 2.