13 Jul 2013

Auckland's ethnic groups want more say on key issues

7:23 pm on 13 July 2013

Auckland's Asian and other ethnic communities are calling for their leaders to have voting rights on key council committees.

A meeting of ethnic leaders representing more than 400-thousand residents on Saturday told the mayor, Len Brown, they want a more direct say in decisions that affect them.

The chairperson of council's Ethnic People's Advisory Panel, Camille Nakhid, says their views haven't been taken into account in important policies such as Auckland's 30-year plan.

She says the solution is to appoint representatives as voting members of council's decision-making committees.

Ms Nakhid says it's hard for ethnic representatives to get elected to the council, because ethnic populations are too dispersed across different wards.

However, Mr Brown has rebuffed the call. But while Mr Brown says ethnic community leaders won't sit on committees in council's next term, the Ethnic Advisory Panel will be given a more direct link to political decisions by councillors.

Mr Brown says he also wants both the Ethnic and the Pacific advisory panels to work more directly with council's chief executive and senior management.

According to the Panel, the ethnic people are those "whose culture and traditions distinguish them from the majority of people in New Zealand, ie those who are not of Māori, New Zealand

European/Pakeha or Pacific Island heritage".