Māori Standing Committee concerned Wairoa iwi have no say in local survey

A telephone-based survey seeking views on the proposed amalgamation of Hawke’s Bay authorities has generated concern from the Māori Standing Committee of the Wairoa District Council.

The Committee believes the independent survey breaches the Treaty of Waitangi by denying Wairoa iwi the ability to participate and the concerns raised have been forwarded to the Local Government Commission (LGC).

At its latest meeting, the Māori Standing Committee, a sub-committee of the Wairoa District Council, passed the following resolution;

“It is the considered view of the Māori Standing Committee that the independent telephone survey currently underway regarding the reorganisation of Hawke’s Bay territorial authorities has denied Wairoa tangata whenua the ability to fairly participate in the process.  The Māori Standing Committee considers this to be in breach of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.”

“With a Māori population of 59.4%, and latest Statistics New Zealand census data noting that 29% of Māori households within the Wairoa district have no access to a fixed telephone line, these factors when taken together in the opinion of the Māori Standing Committee has denied tangata whenua within the Wairoa district the ability to fairly participate in this process," says their Chair Graeme Symes.

The Māori Standing Committee invites the Chair of the LGC to respond to their concerns and for the telephone survey to be repeated in a way that respects the principles of partnership, protection and participation as embodied in Treaty of Waitangi.

Symes explains, “We note our deep concerns regarding the methodology of the independent telephone survey currently underway and ask that our mokopuna and those generations that will follow us do not inherit a legacy of grievance because of the decisions made today.”