29 Apr 2013

Call for Pacific seats in Parliament and councils

7:18 am on 29 April 2013

Some Pacific leaders want electoral changes to provide designated seats for Pacific people in Parliament and on some city councils.

The call has come at three consultations with the government-appointed Constitutional Advisory Panel.

Panel member Bernice Mene says better representation especially in local government has been a common thread in all three consultations.

Consultation convenor Rev Uesifili Unasa says large Pacific populations in Auckland and Wellington are under-represented in central and local government.

He says poor statistics in education, health and housing show Pacific people need a greater influence over laws and policies that affect them.

Auckland councillor and former National Party MP Anae Arthur Anae disagrees, saying Pacific people are well-represented on Auckland Council and in Parliament.

The constitutional advisory panel expects to meet again with the Pacific groups in Auckland before submissions close in July.