26 Jan 2011

Council to decide extent of Maori involvement

7:58 pm on 26 January 2011

Prime Minister John Key says it will be up to the Auckland Council to determine the extent of Maori involvement on its committees.

Under the law setting up the new council, the Maori Statutory Board can appoint two people to council committees that deal with the management of natural and physical resources.

The board, which advises the local body, wants the two members to have full voting rights to all council committees.

However, Mr Key said it was not the Government's intention that Maori would be represented on every committee.

He said discussions are under way between the Auckland Council and the Maori Statutory Board and hopes a solution will be found that is acceptable to everybody.

The chairman of the Independent Maori Statutory Board says it is working with the council to establish the extent of the board's involvement in committees.

David Taipari says legal advice suggests the board should be involved in all but one of the committees.

The board expects genuine participation and that includes being able to vote, he says.