Former New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd says further law changes are needed to ensure Māori wards are created.
The self-described "reformed racist" is infuriated by Hamilton City Council's decision to block the option of creating Māori wards and says a lot more work is needed to truly honour the Treaty of Waitangi.
The resolution to provide the creation of Māori wards in the Hamilton region was lost 8-4 yesterday. The council, instead, chose to spend a three-year conversation to consider it further.
Judd says, "C'mon Mayor! More time? What, another 200 years? What are you going to consult on? Again, this really infuriates me, as a Pākehā I feel let down by my fellow Pākehā who are in positions of leadership like the mayor and councils aren't upholding ōur obligations as Tiriti partners to include Māori at the top table with an elected seat and a vote."
He says the recent law changes removing the ability for residents to petition against Māori wards don't go far enough and is calling for a new law that will create Māori wards for every council.
"Let's be honest, Te Tiriti shouldn't be at the whim of Pākehā whether Māori can have a true voice at the table," says Judd.
"We need Crown, the government, on our behalf, to step up, legislate permanency for Māori. This question for Māori representation should never ever be put to Pākehā majority councils. Should never be asked every six years.
"What kind of relationship do you have, to look at each other and say, 'Well, should we still be partners and do what we agreed to from our tupuna?' It's a disgusting way to carry on. It's colonisation 101"
Judd says Hamilton Council has highlighted that they are not prepared to change. "They are governing for 1840."
"If we can't agree to have one seat - an elected seat at the table New Zealand, we as Pākehā have a long way to go."
Hamilton City Council chambers during vote for the option to create Māori wards.
Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate says while some good work had been done, she acknowledged the council had much more to do in improving meaningful participation for Māori across the city.
"I could not, in all conscience, introduce Māori wards without having consulted with the wider community," she says.
"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."
The mayor believes the newly released He Manawa Pou Ora framework gives opportunity for more Māori involvement in the council's decisions.
The framework is said to be underpinned by the Treaty of Waitangi and sets a platform to journey toward creating a more socially, economically and environmentally diverse city.
The introduction of the Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Act requires councils to decide by May 21, 2021, if Māori wards should be established for the 2022 local government elections.