Hawke's Bay Regional Council will ask ratepayers to vote on Maori wards in 2022

By Kereama Wright

The Hawke's Bay Regional Council has chosen not to adopt Māori wards for now. Instead, at the 2022 local body election, it will ask ratepayers if they want Māori wards.

Despite recommendations from local iwi Ngāti Kahungunu and the council's Māori own committee, councillors voted to hold off from adopting Māori wards. 

A majority of the councillors (5-3), voted to hold the poll at the October 8, 2020 election.

Councillor Hinewai Ormsby said that the community must be engaged with the matter to ensure the best for all sections of the community.

"To alleviate the concerns of tangata whenua and of the community, we have a robust communication and engagement plan," she says.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council chief executive James Palmer says that although the councillors spoke strongly of Māori representation at the council table, there are still concerns on this poll being decided without a thorough consultation with the community.