The two Māori seats on Waikato Regional Council will be retained following a vote by councillors.
Out of the ten councillors, seven voted to re-confirm the seats. Councillor Stu Husband opposed the seats believing Māori no longer needed tokenism and Councillor Jane Hennebry said she personally did not like “race-based seats”.
Earlier, councillors Hennebry, Husband and Rimminton had voted for a motion calling for electors to be polled on the issue at a cost of up to $450,000 with the outcome of the poll applicable at the 2019 election. All other councillors present voted against holding a poll.
According to Chairman Alan Livingston, “They are both very effective in particular at helping ensure Māori perspectives are taken into account, something which helps the council fulfil its legal obligations under various legislation, such as the RMA and Treaty settlements.”
The Māori constituencies represented have been instrumental in creating Resource Management action plans regarding the geothermal resources, air, land and wet-lands.
Deputy Chair Tipa Mahuta is currently the Ngā Hau e Whā representative and Katarina Hodge is the Ngā Tai ki Uta representative.