Hamilton City Council under fire for ‘racist’ decision

By Taroi Black

Kaumatua and long-time activist Taitimu Maipi has labelled Hamilton City Council as racist after he stormed out of the council chambers yesterday when the council voted against adopting the Māori wards at the next local body elections in 2022.

However, the council denies Maipi's claim, saying it is not racist.

“Hamilton City Council respectfully rejects Mr Maipi’s assertion that the council is racist.”

Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate said after the Māori ward vote failed at 8-4 she presented a second opportunity to ensure that Māori have a voice at local government level.

Maipi says that meant the meeting was staged, which the council denies.

Southgate's alternative involves a major rethink of Maori involvement with the council. The strategy, created by the Māori statutory board, has not yet been considered by the council.

“The motion was after adopting He Poumanawa Ora we look at Māori seats strengthening the māngai and all the means of creating meaningful Māori participation throughout the work of council,” Southgate said.

Following the meeting Maipi called out members of the Maangai Māori who advise council at the committee level to step down after yesterday’s outcome.

The five appointees are selected by Waikato-Tainui and Te Rūnanga O Kirikiriroa – urban Māori authority.