Tau Henare criticises Taxpayers' Union petition opposing Māori wards

By Tumamao Harawira

Former politician Tau Henare says a petition against the implementation of Māori wards in local government is a waste of time.

Tau Henare of the Independent Māori Statutory Board on Auckland Council is dismissive of the petition set up by New Zealand's Taxpayer's Union.

Henare said, “They are not gonna win. It's just a big publicity stunt by a lot of right of centre people.”

This comes after Local Government minister Nanaia Mahuta announced this week the Government will introduce legislation to put measures in place so councils can establish both Māori and General wards through the same process.

In response the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union started a petition opposing reforms to the Local Government Act which will see more Māori wards on councils around the country. The petition seeks 11,000 signatures with 5000 already who have already show their support.

“Stronger accountability tools for local government will be needed if the government succeeds in entrenching Māori wards,' said Jordan Williams of the Taxpayers’ Union.”

According to Williams, this law will threaten the rights of New Zealanders.

 “We just think that the way Nanaia is doing this, particularly in removing or disenfranchising the New Zealanders that would get to have their say on the issue, is wrong. 

Williams however, believes Māori already have fair representation.

“The proportion of Māori on our local councils already matches the proportion in our communities. What this is really about from Labour perspective, is around changing the rules, so they can get more Labour aligned councilors on local council.”