Hamilton councillor believes resolution against Māori wards can be changed

By Te Ao - Māori News

A Hamilton councillor says the resolution to block an option for Māori wards yesterday can be changed - if the council is willing.

Hamilton East councillor Maxine van Oosten who moved the motion says she believed she had the support of councillors heading into the vote and was disappointed by the result.

She says, "There's more that we can do. We still have seven weeks to change the decision.

"And that's possible. It is possible. This doesn't have to be the end of the decision for Hamilton."

Waikato-Tainui

Te Arataura chair Linda Te Aho says the local government decision is short-sighted and driven by political expediency.

"The inclusion of Māori in all levels of decision-making is an opportunity for councils to be bold, to act honourably and in accordance with the provisions of Te Tiriti o Waitangi."

Hamilton mayor

Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate acknowledged the council had much more to do in improving meaningful participation for Māori across the city.

"I don’t believe that would have achieved the right outcome, either for Māori or for the city. I am concerned a rushed process would divide our city, not enrich it."

"Today’s decision commits the council to continue a robust conversation, which I believe will culminate in Māori wards in the near future. In the meantime, we can do a lot more across all areas of the council to increase and improve Māori participation and we will be a better city for it."

The Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Act requires councils to decide by May 21, 2021, if they want Māori wards should be established for the 2022 local government elections.