23 Mar 2012

Auckland Council failing to meet obligations to Maori - audit

7:15 am on 23 March 2012

An audit is calling for urgent changes to the way Auckland Council fulfils its Treaty of Waitangi obligations.

The 56-page report being released on Friday was commissioned by the council's Independent Maori Statutory Board.

It identifies 10 areas where the council is lagging behind in its obligations to Maori, including a lack of policy on the use of Maori place names, the management of taonga and the contribution of Maori in decision-making.

The report says consultation with Maori is inconsistent and is often undertaken on a reactive basis due to a lack of understanding of how, when and with whom to engage.

Board chair David Taipari says there are 150,000 Maori in the region and they need to be recognised and understood.

One councillor, former North Shore mayor George Wood, is dismissing the report as bureaucratic nonsense.

Mr Wood says his council had a good relationship with Maori. "To now have this organisation come along and start running the ruler over us, it's really creating an adversary system between the Auckland Council and the Independent Maori Statutory Board and I don't think that's good for the future," he said.