New Plymouth Council backing Local Electoral Act changes

From Morning Report, 8:54 am on 27 January 2021

The New Plymouth District Council has signaled its support of expected changes to the Local Electoral Act, which would scrap the provision allowing for citizen-initiated referenda, after Councillors voted to to establish a Maori ward.

In July, the council voted to establish a Maori ward for the 2022 election. A petition for a citizens-initiated referendum on the issue was started immediately afterwards.

A similar referendum overturned the establishment of a Maori ward in the city in 2015, when 83 percent of those who took part voted it down.

Councillors agreed to prepare a submission to government which backs getting rid of the citizens-initiated referenda, but the decision was not unanimous.

Taranaki-Whanganui reporter Robin Martin has more.